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Martins Bank 1928+

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Yorvik – 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. 

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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.

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1959 02 MBM.jpg

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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 recovered intact.

In Service: 1958 until 14 March 1975


1959 York Davygate Interior 1 BGA Ref 30-3330

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Image © Barclays Ref 0030/3330

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1959 York Davygate Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-3330

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-3330


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The 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 foundation:  

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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 surface.


A Platter, 6 ins diameter, South Gaulish ware, stamped SILVINI.  Silvinus was a potter of La Graufesenque, working in the Flavian period.

1958 Excavation in Cellar at Davy Hall York MBM-Su59P12.jpg

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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.

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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.

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1958 Plans for excavation and works at Davy Hall York (2) MBM-Su59P12.jpg

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Here are some of the original excavation plans from the Davy Hall site in 1958


Images: Martins Bank Archive

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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 CHILDREN.


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 copy! 

2015 Davygate Exterior CU - Mike Ingham MBA

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 –

<,1958 to 1960 Mr J R Barrett MBM-Au66P06.jpg

1958 to 1967 Mr A C Cantrell MBM-Wi67P05.jpg

1958 to 1969 Mr B Sills Manager MBM-Sp69P57.jpg

1965 Miss HM Sanderson Cashier MBM-Sp65P40.jpg

1969 Mr D M Douglas Manager MBM-Sp69P08.jpg

BW Logo

Mr J R Barrett

On the Staff

1958 to 1960

Mr A C Cantrell

On the Staff

1958 to 1967

Mr B Sills


1958 to 1969

Miss H M Sanderson



Mr D M Douglas


1969 onwards






Index Number and District:






11-77-90 York 

Full Branch

15 Davygate York Yorkshire

615 Leeds

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

York 23729

No Nightsafe

Mr D M Douglas Manager

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York Coney Street


15 December 1969

14 March 1975

Branch moves to 15 Davy Gate from 44 Coney Street

Barclays Bank Limited 20-99-51 York Davy Gate


York University