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Martins Bank 1928+

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Having acquired a number of Kentish branches through its amalgamation with Martins Private Bank, the Bank of Liverpool and Martins opens further branches in the area in the mid 1920s.  The Bank is soon however more concerned with financing  a number of expensive major projects. These include the re-building of 68 Lombard Street, and the construction at Water Street, Liverpool, of a palatial new Head Office building.  A number of smaller branches fall casualty to these plans and even those that have only just been opened are not spared the axe in what becomes the first period of consolidation in the history of the modern day Martins Bank.  

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A sub-Branch is opened at Bickley near Bromley in 1923, but the Bank closes it in 1928, and Bickley is replaced by a new sub-branch office at Otford, near Sevenoaks.   Until 1931, it is a sub-Branch under the control of Swanley. The parent branch then changes to Sevenoaks.  In the end however, Otford fares little better than Bickley, being open only until 1936.

The opening hours for Otford cover a six day banking week – which along with having its own telephone line is often a sign of a brisk trade at a small Branch – but this is still not enough to save Otford.   If you can help with memories or images of any of the 990+ buildings that are used by Martins Bank as Branches, please do get in touch with us at the usual address [email protected].

Someone who did just that is Ed Thompson, who has provided us with this wonderful picture of Otford sub Branch circa 1930, with a member of staff seen standing by the entrance. As our staff database is still incomplete for the period prior to January 1946, we would really love to know who this person is.  Ed was also able to provide us with more of the history of this little building, in the shape of this deed of conveyance, from April 1928…

Conveyed in fee simple…

{“Executed by parties of the first and second parts and duly attested: By Conveyance dated 16 April 1928 between S H Wellbond and Martins Bank, a small portion of the land situate near the Railway Station at Otford and continuing on the north and south sides respectively thirty feet or thereabouts and on the east and west sides respectively twenty-two feet or thereabouts, was conveyed to Martins Bank in fee simple…”}

So, a small plot of land, suitable at around nine by seven metres is sufficient for Martins Bank to be able to construct a small building from which a banking service can be offered by way of a Sub Branch first of all to nearby Swanley, and later as Sub to Sevenaoks.

In Service: 30 June 1928 until 16 July 1936


Image  Martins Bank Archive Collections - © Ed Thompson Collection





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Extracts from Martins Bank Limited Annual Report and Accounts © Barclays

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Image © BT 1934

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Image  Martins Bank Archive Collections - © Ed Thompson Collection

Bank Burgled at Otford

Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser

Friday 16 September 1933

Image © Trinity Mirror Image created courtesy of


with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive


It doesn’t matter how tiny a sub Branch is, it can still be fair game for bank robbers - from the professionals, all the way down to those who don’t exactly do their homework before planning their attack!  Our thanks go to our friends at the British Newspaper Archive, for the following story, which is taken from the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, and concerns the night of Sunday 11 September 1933, when Martins Bank Otford was among a number of local buildings to be targeted by some rather inept thieves.  We are sorry that some of the wording in the original article is now too faded to be easily read, and we have reproduced the full text below: -

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{By breeching a window in an adjoining office belonging to messrs. Henry Parker and Co., and forcing a connecting doorway, thieves entered the branch office of Martins Bank at Otford in the early hours of Sunday morning. No money at all is kept at the bank, and the thieves, disappointed at their fruitless efforts to take anything of value, contented themselves with doing considerable damage. The telephone wires were cut, the upholstery of the chairs was ripped and the woodwork in the office was scratched and chipped. The “Sevenoaks Chronicle” understands other premises in Otford were entered including the Village Hall but no articles of value were removed}.

It is really useful to have not only such a rare period image of Otford Sub Branch, but to also have a photo from 2017, when the future of the building was put in doubt, by the then owners’ search for larger premises. Thanks once more to Ed Thompson.

Image  Martins Bank Archive Collections - © Ed Thompson Collection

Image  Martins Bank Archive Collections - © Ed Thompson Collection





Index Number and District:






11-732 Otford

Sub to 11-784 Swanley – 1928-1930

Sub to 11-732 Sevenoaks – 1931-1936

Sevenoaks Road Otford Kent

430 London

Mon to Fri 1100-1530

Saturday 0930-1130

Otford 65

Counter Service Only

Mr N F Harris Manager (Sevenoaks)


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30 June 1928


16 July 1936

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Parent Branch changed from Swanley to Sevenoaks




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