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Martin's Private Bank

Opened in 1886 by Sir Richard Biddulph Martin, Chislehurst Water Tower branch is both very old, AND somewhat unusual. Despite its name, banking transactions do not actually take place inside a water tower – that would be silly! In 1922, the Bank of Liverpool and Martins opens a second branch in the town, this time in Chislehurst High Street, and both Branches continue in service until 1966, when the Water Tower Branch is Closed.  The earlier history of our Bank’s relationship with Chislehurst is told below by one of the Branch’s longest serving Managers, Mr H Monk in a 1948 article for Martins Bank Magazine…


In service: 1886 until 1966

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030-0645


1934 to 1936 Mr H Monk Manager MBM-Au52P52.jpg

1948 03The name of Martin has for many years been associated with Chislehurst.  In 1784 Mr. Richard Stone, a partner in the Bank and father-in-law of Mr. James Martin, purchased an estate at Chislehurst and from this date members of the family owned property here. Mr. James Martin resided in Chislehurst for 53 years and upon his death in 1878 Sir Richard Biddulph Martin came to the house, Camden Close, where he resided for many years. The original banking premises were built in 1860. They are half-timbered and at one time were used as a hotel.

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There is a legend that when the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie fled from France, the Empress occupied the room on the extreme left of the Bank house. Eventually, Sir Richard Biddulph Martin decided to purchase the property for banking purposes, and on 1st January 1886 the branch was opened. The title of Water Tower branch comes from the fact that immediately adjacent to the branch on the road, there is a very old archway. This was originally designed to hold a water tank to give pressure to the lower part of the district, and it is still inhabited, having cottages in each of the supporting pillars. As time went on, business developed and great changes took place in the neighbourhood, the centre of business moving towards Chislehurst West. In 1936, new premises were opened there, the original ones being retained as a sub-branch.






Mr J W T Cotter

Joined the Bank Here

1924 to 1930

Mr A L Lucock

On the Staff

1925 approx

Mr G A Jeffrey

On the Staff


Mr H Monk


1934 to 1936*

* In 1936, Mr Monk becomes the Manager of BOTH

Chislehurst branches, when the High Street Branch

is opened and takes over as the Main Branch


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Index Number and District:






11-79-20 Chislehurst Water Tower                       

Sub to 11-79-20 Chislehurst

Camden Close Chislehurst Kent

404 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Chislehurst 615

No Nightsafe Installed

Mr H Monk Manager 1934 to 1952


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Chilton (County Durham)


18 December 1918

3 January 1928



Opened by Martin’s Private Bank

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Downgraded to Sub Branch


Chislehurst West 57 high Street