– so good they named it once.
The article below is printed in
Martins bank Magazine in the Summer of 1959, and relates to the excavation of
Davy Hall York, the site of the Bank’s new Branch which replaces CONEY STREET in 1958/9.
Once more the Bank is proud to “disturb the
dust of history” as the Magazine puts it, and a number of items from York’s
Viking past are unearthed. The article does however contain such a long and
detailed write up of the archaeological dig itself, that for the purposes of
this page, we have had to “prune” original information a little. This has,
unfortunately, left us with very little detail about the branch itself. Our Staff Gallery for York is spread over
the page for the Coney Street up to its closure in 1958 and our Davygate
Branch page from that point on.
WE DISTURB THE IMPERIAL EAGLE
Not for the first
time in the course of our expansion have we disturbed the dust of history.
Once it was to reveal a portion of the murals on a wall which had formed part
of the banqueting hall in which Henry V had dined on his way back from
Agincourt. That was at Sittingbourne. Then at Lombard Street itself, when
rebuilding our premises in 1930, we dug down to Roman London and the oil
bottle in our museum at Lombard Street is an interesting relic which was
1958 until 14 March 1975
Image © Barclays Ref
Image © Barclays Ref 0030-3330
same thing happened at Ipswich, and we published in this Magazine an article
with photographs of the finds there. Now it has happened, not very surprisingly, at York and the
excavations for our new premises at Davygate have proved, in a way, more than
ordinarily interesting. In July, 1958, work on the adaptation of Davy Hall, Davygate, revealed
foundations below a concrete cellar floor constructed in 1924. Due to the
co-operation of the architect, Mr. N. Pyman, F.R.I.B.A., of Messrs. Kitson,
Parish, Ledgard & Pyman, the contractors, Messrs. Wm. Birch & Sons,
Ltd., of York, and their foreman, Mr. A. Foster, it was made possible for the
York archaeological experts to investigate this site, from July 21st-26th,
1958, and Mr. D. Dymond and Mr. J. Pallister helped with the investigation. Besides a number
of sherds, three practically complete pots were found in the ditch below the
A Large two-handled flagon 17½ins. high with undercut rim.
Reddish legionary ware.
A Carinated bowl with reeded rim, 4 ins.
high, 10 ins. diameter. Pinkish legionary ware, somewhat smoked on the outer
A Platter, 6 ins diameter, South Gaulish
ware, stamped SILVINI. Silvinus was a
potter of La Graufesenque, working in the Flavian period.
The excavations have been extremely useful in giving us some
details of the buildings inside the Fortress at York. Complete plans of Roman
fortresses are well known from sites like Vindonissa and Caerleon which are
not covered by later buildings and almost all our knowledge of the interior
of Roman York is built up from analogy from more open sites like these.
It is only on rare occasions that hypothesis can be checked by
actual observation, and it is on a site such as this that our factual
knowledge of Roman York is based.
Here are some of the
original excavation plans from the Davy Hall site in 1958
Martins Bank Archive
Never known to make rash promises, Martins Bank produces
perhaps its most iconic advertisement in 1966, in which a small girl is seen taking
a very large elephant into a Branch of the Bank. The advert had not been out for long,
before a national newspaper got in on the act and arranged with the owner of
Flamingo Park Zoo in York to put the Bank to the test. York Davygate Branch
was chosen, and true to form, the staff did not turn a hair! You can read the
full story in our Advertising Feature ANIMALS AND
Our thanks once again to Mike Ingham for another of his
contemporary photographs of one of Martins Bank’s former Branches. 15 Davygate doesn’t look half bad in its
Twenty-First Century guise as a fashion outlet, and the restorations which
took place so meticulously in 1958 seems to have stood the test of time extremely well. We are of course
sorry that we still have not located a period image of this Martins Branch
with which to facilitate our usual “then and now” comparison, so we would
therefore be more than delighted if anyone can find one and let us have a
If you can help with information memories and/or images of any
of the near 980 buildings used by Martins Bank, please do get in touch with
us at the usual address – firstname.lastname@example.org.