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British Mutual Bank

sp2At the beginning of 1951, Martins Bank amalgamates with the British Mutual Bank, and inherits just three outlets – London St James’s Street, The Cross-Channel Banking Service on the Townsend Dover to Calais Ferry, and a Branch at 2 St Bride Street London, known as Ludgate Circus Branch.  Under the British Mutual Bank, the Branch has been open since 1857.  On his tour of the country to bring us modern day images of Martins Bank’s  branches, Dave Baldwin has snapped Ludgate Circus for us – a branch for which there are unfortunately no period images in Barclays’ collection of Martins photographs.  Sep 1.jpg

In Service: 1857 until 10 March 1978

(but see also history at foot of page)

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections – with thanks to Grace’s Guide

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2014 January Ludgate Circus Exterior 1CU Dave Baldwin - MBA.jpgToday the branch is home to a world class restaurant, which befits these lovely premises, and their origins as a branch of the British Mutual Bank, then Martins Bank and later a Branch of Barclays.  No 2 St Bride Street is particularly difficult to photograph, and Dave has taken this image in extremely high quality from a distance. We have then zoomed in to obtain the best view we can.   So to our features for Ludgate Circus Branch – The Spring 1951 issue of Martins Bank Magazine carries a detailed article in which it welcomes the staff of the British Mutual into the fold.  There is also a retirement feature for Mr Lowe, Manager of Ludgate Circus from 1957 to 1968.  We are also most grateful to Don Evans for supplying us with a photograph, believed to have been taken inside the Branch, at Mr Lowe’s retirement party…

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Our New Colleagues…

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1951 01 MBM.jpgIT is not often that we hear of a bank amalgamation these days, and the last fusion in Martins Bank took place as long ago as 1928, when the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd. amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd. It was, therefore, with more than ordinary interest that we learned of the negotiations which have resulted in the acquisition of the British Mutual Bank Ltd. The history of this bank is interesting. In 1857 the British Mutual Investment Loan and Discount Company Limited was incorporated, its objects being to receive or borrow money and to grant loans but not to transact any business peculiar to a bank or an Assurance Office. The Company was acquired in 1869 by a new company called British Mutual Investment Com­pany Limited, whose objects were to transact the business of a Loan, Discount and Banking Company. The first directors of this Company were the Rev. James Gillman, Edgar Home, Henry Harben, J. Wilkinson, M. Hopgood, E. Chatfield and R. Strange. The directors at the date of the amalgamation were: The Rt. Hon. Lord Broughshane, k.b.e., d.l. (Chairman), Sir Nigel Davidson, c.b.e. (Deputy Chairman), Thomas J. Bond, f.c.a., E. J. W. Borrajo, m.b.e., a.i.a., H. S. Lane, m.c., His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The General Manager was Mr. Cecil R. C. Marlow.

The Ludgate Circus Staff is pictured here

at the time of Martins Bank’s

amalgamation with the

British Mutual Bank in 1951.

(Mr James is seated

front row, centre)

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The name of the company was changed both in 1875 and 1877, and in 1882 it became the British Mutual Banking Company Limited, the title being shortened to British Mutual Bank Limited in 1945. Since the Company first transacted banking business the Prudential Assurance Company Limited have been represented on the Board of the Bank, although their shareholding has for many years been only a small percentage of the Issued Capital. 

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2014 January Ludgate Circus Exterior Door Dave Baldwin - MBA.JPGIn 1950 the Bank opened its first branch in St. James's Street and also opened the first cross-channel bank on the Dover-Calais service.  The Bank has built up a reputation for the skilled personal service it gives to its customers, and the amalgamation with Martins Bank will enable this policy to be continued. We feel sure that the amalgamation is pleasing to the shareholders, the customers and the staff of British Mutual Bank and should prove a valuable acquisition to Martins Bank Limited. We visited the two London branches on February 12th and 13th to make the acquaintance of our new colleagues and we received a most cordial and friendly welcome from them all. We went to St. James's Street first and the following morning we visited Ludgate Circus office, where we were struck by the cordial and happy spirit prevailing. Mr. James and his senior colleagues, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Price and Mr. Geary, welcomed us and as in the case of the smaller branch we were impressed by the attractive interior and the spaciousness of the office. We regret that we did not have time to greet everyone personally as our visit, made on the way to Maidstone, was limited by train times, but we hope to call there again on some future occasion. In the meantime, on behalf of all our colleagues we would like to express our good wishes to the members of the British Mutual Bank who have now become one with us, and we shall look forward to meeting them at our various social functions from time to time.

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A Fleet Street Farewell…

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1968 01 MBM.jpgmanager at Ludgate Circus for the past eleven years, Hubert Lowe's 43 years' service began at Middlesbrough and con­tinued in London District after his years with H.M. Forces. He was appointed Mana­ger at Holloway Road in 1950 and at Moorgate in 1954. At his own request no formal ceremony was held but he invited some seventy colleagues to the Presscale Club in Fleet Street on December 28.  Unfortunately Mrs Lowe was unable to attend owing to ill health but the good wishes of all were expressed by sending her some flowering bulbs. Mr A. L. Watling (Pro Manager), the only member of the branch who had served continuously with Mr Lowe at Ludgate Circus, presented a set of matching travelling cases, a cheque and a bound book of signatures.

1968 A H Lowe Retirement Gathering - Donald Evans.jpg

Image © 1968 Martins Bank Archive Collections: Don Evans

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1957 to 1968 Mr A H Lowe Manager MBM-Sp68P47.jpgSep 1.jpg

Bearing in mind the request for informality his speech was witty and brief, drawing particular attention to the happy relationship which had always existed between Mr Lowe and his staff and customers, evidenced by the names of over two hundred and fifty subscribers. After a suitable and equally witty response by Mr Lowe a convivial evening was enjoyed by all his guests, including Mr S. W. P. Barter, Mr K. O. Wells and Mr Raymond Usher, one of his first colleagues at Middlesbrough. Prior to his retirement Mr Lowe was entertained to lunch by his District General Manager. During the autumn of 1967 Mr and Mrs Lowe moved to Shepperton and we wish them many years of happy retirement in their new surroundings.


1910 to 1952 Mr N L T Price MBM-Au54P51.jpg

1952 to 1956 Mr F L Flanaghan Manager MBM-Wi68P54.jpg

1957 to 1968 Mr A H Lowe Manager MBM-Sp68P47.jpg






Mr N L T Price

On the Staff

1910 to 1952

Mr C W Walker

On the Staff

1923 to 1964

Mr E Parkinson

Joined the Bank Here

1950 to 1956

Mr N Hunter

Sub Manager

1951 to 1958

Mr F L Flanaghan


1952 to 1957

Mr A H Lowe


1957 to 1968

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1964 Mr AV Hayes-Allen MBM-Su64P03.jpg

1964 to 1966 Mr R Maynard pro Manager MBM-Au64P05.jpg

1966 Mr DS Gibbens pro Manager MBM-Su66P05.jpg

1968 Mr AW Sheldrick Manager MBM-Sp68P06.jpg






Mr D D Staunton

Assistant Manager

1962 to 1962

Mr W A C Halliwell

Assistant Manager

1962 to 1964

Mr A V Hayes-Allen

On the Staff


Mr R Maynard

Pro Manager

1964 to 1966

Mr D S Gibbens

Pro Manager

1966 to 1968

Mr A W Sheldrick


1968 Onwards






1968 Mr DH White  pro Manager MBM-Wi68P08.jpg

1968 Mr WT Callow pro Manager MBM-Su68P12.jpg






Mr D H White

Pro Manager


Mr W T Callow

Pro Manager







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Index Number and District:






11-71-50 London Ludgate Circus

Full Branch

2 St Bride Street  London EC4

463 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 353 5501 &5306

Nightsafe Installed

A W Sheldrick Manager


London Lowndes Street SW1

1857 to 1950


9 January 1951

15 December 1969

10 March 1978

An Office of the British Mutual Bank

Opened as a branch by the British Mutual Bank

Merged with Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-53-19 Ludgate Circus


London Marylebone Road NW1