Carlisle and Cumberland Bank

Sep 1.jpg

That Martins Bank has a presence in Penrith, and sub-Branches in so many idyllic nearby towns and villages is down once more to the many banking amalgamations that went to create the Martins Bank we know today. 

Sep 1.jpg

At one time, both The Carlisle and Cumberland Bank and The Bank of Liverpool had their own branches in Penrith. Martins Branch itself is breathtaking, and would fit the bill as any number of major buildings – museum, library, council headquarters, even stately home.  We have a number of images of this fantastic building which feature in the article below, describing Martins Bank Magazine’s visit to Penrith in the Autumn of 1960.

Big on the outside, yet cramped on the inside?

Sep 1.jpg

1960 03 MBM.jpg

In Service: 1894 until 17 April 2024


All Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0033-0446

Sep 1.jpg


Looking back over the accounts we have written of our visits to branches of the Bank, mostly the new ones, we find that on more than one occasion we have commented on the problem which faces the Manager of a new branch in trying to establish a business in a place where our competitors have been firmly established and deeply entrenched for many years. He has a staff of four: they have staffs of anything from twenty to a hundred. It was, therefore, very pleasant for a change to visit a place in which our bank is pre-eminent and our visit to Penrith on July 20th was as interesting as it was exhilarating. The Bank of Liverpool established a branch in Penrith and so did the Carlisle and Cumberland Banking Company. When the amalgamation took place the two branches merged their business and moved into the present office which was opened in 1913. It is quite a fine office but the business has grown enormously and the accommodation is now inadequate. Even so, some ingenuity has been brought to bear on the problem. The old high desks have been abolished and the counter set back another foot so that an extra till has been squeezed in. Six cashiers stand, shoulder to shoulder, and on most days the attendance of customers can be likened to an assault.

Sep 1.jpg

A machine room has been established upstairs and, somehow or other, a little office has been carved out for the Assistant Manager, Mr. S. L. Blamire. Upstairs, the use of space is equally ingenious, and kitchen, rest room and cloakroom facilities have been created. The place is a triumph of improvisation and a great credit to the Premises Manager, whose biggest headache is not the building of new branches but the modernisation of the old ones. There is quite a lot of old panelling in the branch at Penrith and some fine carving on the front of the counter. One or two of the inside doors are ecclesiastical in appearance, while over the old stone fireplace the Latin motto, carved in stone, "Quid tuum offtcium res hodiernae" still causes speculation as to its exact meaning. "Let your duty be your daily concern" is the meaning attached to it by the Reference Librarian of the Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool. With a large staff it is almost impossible to fix a date when everyone will be present.

Sep 1.jpg

1960 Penrith Staff MBM-Au60P26.jpg

Penrith Branch (left to right):

K A Chapelhow Miss E M Morland

J M Tinniswood J M Thorburn

Mrs A M Barnes J E Rawling Mrs B L Bellas

G W Green (Messenger) G T Blair

E F Henderson Miss V J Walker

Mr J H Ritchie (Manager) J D H Beck

Miss M I Lancaster

Mr S L Blamire (Assistant Manager)

A Lowis Miss O M Hobley Mrs J Wilson

The following members of the staff were absent

when the photograph was taken:

K Tomlinson Miss H Geer

Miss S M Bainbridge Miss M G Morgan

and Miss R M Thompson

Sep 1.jpg

Holidays and sickness create this problem and we did not have the pleasure of meeting Miss H. Geer, who so ably responded to the toast of "The Ladies" at the Northern District Annual Dinner two years ago, Miss M. G. Morgan, who joined the staff in 1957, Miss R. M. Thompson, one of the trainees, and Mr. K. Tomlinson, who entered the Bank in 1952. There is a great family flavour and tradition about Penrith branch. Both the Manager, Mr. J. H. Ritchie, and the Accountant, Mr. G. T. Blair, have sons in the Bank, Mr. Ritchie's son being at Appleby and Mr. Blair's on the Liverpool District Relief Staff. Miss O. M. Hobley has a brother at Carlisle and both Mr. J. D. H. Beck's father and uncle were in the Bank. In the case of the Assistant Manager, Mr. S. L. Blamire, both his father and grandfather were in the Bank; his grandfather being Agent at Staveley and retiring at the age of 74. Miss V. J. Walker, who joined the staff in 1957, is carrying on the tradition by getting herself engaged to be married to Mr. J. Graham, of Keswick branch, a distinguished sportsman and wearer of the football cap of two counties.

Sep 1.jpg

Mr. Ritchie we have known for a number of years and his friendly personality has earned him high regard everywhere. He is an able banker, too, and has devoted himself tirelessly to his work for the Bank, and has become one of the best known personalities in the town as we can confirm from the short walk we took with him through its streets. A serious problem of delegation exists here because so many customers prefer to deal with him personally, and a glance at his interview book reveals a somewhat monotonous and frightening pattern, the interviews daily always being in double figures, even on a Saturday morning. On one day we counted 26 and never less than 11. He is President of the Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Centre of the Institute of Bankers, Treasurer of the local Rotary Club and actively connected with all kinds of organisations.

Sep 1.jpg


1969 Penrith banking hall, large wooden writing desk BGaA Refr 30-2241.jpg

1960 Penrith Exterior  BGA Ref 30-2251-9.jpg

Images © Barclays Ref 0033-0446

Sep 1.jpgSep 1.jpg

Mr. Ritchie entered the Bank in 1917 and served at Ulverston, Lancaster, Botchergate, Kendal, on H.O. Inspection Staff and at Penrith before his first appointment as Pro Manager at Penrith in 1934.  He was appointed Manager at Wigton in 1945 and at Penrith in 1950. Mr. S. L. Blamire, the Assistant Manager, entered the Bank in 1937 and has served at Carnforth, Windermere, on H.O. Relief Staff and in Branch Department, H.O., before being appointed Clerk-in-Charge at Broughton-in-Furness in 1951. His present appointment dates from 1956. He served as a Captain in the Border Regiment during the last war, in India and Burma, being mentioned in despatches and also wounded in Burma. Mr. G. T. Blair, who was appointed Accountant in 1947, entered the Bank in 1924, and has previously served at Botchergate and Carlisle. He was in the Royal Navy during the last war, serving on Russian convoys to Murmansk. Mr. E. F. Henderson, the First Cashier, entered the Bank in 1918 and has previously served at Alston, Dalton, Carlisle and Keighley. He was in the Royal Marines in the last war, serving in North Africa and Italy.

Sep 1.jpg

The senior lady is Miss Hobley, Mr. Ritchie's secretary, another of these precious jewels to be found up and down the service, whose worth to the Bank is beyond price. She has been at Penrith for 32 years and it is interesting to note that her service at Penrith, added to that of Mr. Blair, 27 years, and that of Mr. Henderson, 31 years, totals 90 years, surely a record. Mr. J. D. H. Beck is in charge of the sub branches at Glenridding and the Penrith Auction Mart. He entered the Bank in 1956 and his job seems to cause some slight envy amongst those who have to try to stem the daily avalanche at the main office. Mr. A. Lowis, who joined the staff in 1955, plays amateur soccer for Westmorland and Mr. K. A. Chapelhow, who only joined last year, has for his father the Chairman of the local Urban District Council. On the day of our visit he was basking in some reflected glory, for his father was at Buckingham Palace attending a Royal garden party. Mr. J. E. Rawling, a banker since 1923 and at Penrith since 1947, is, outside the Bank, greatly interested in church affairs.

Sep 1.jpg


c1969 Penrith notcie board, night safe BGA Ref 33-446

1969 Penrith side view, white alarm BGA Ref 33-446

Sep 1.jpg

Mr. J. M. Tinniswood, who has been at Penrith for twenty years, was a Major with the King's Own Scottish Borderers during the last war, serving in North West Europe and being awarded the Military Cross. We were interested to hear about Miss S. M. Bainbridge who has been at Penrith since 1957. She is a very fast shorthand typist and when she came into the Bank she could do 200 words a minute. Several of the other girls we had met at the last Northern Dinner. There was Mrs. J. Wilson, who entered the Bank in 1956; Mrs. B. L, Bellas, 1953, and Mrs. A. M. Barnes, also 1953. Miss M. I. Lancaster and Miss E. M. Morland are trainees, stationed at Penrith, also Mr. J. M. Thorburn. We were very interested in some figures culled from the records of the Mobile Branch Department. Mr. Ritchie can claim to hold the record for the number of visitors attending one of our mobile branches at an agricultural show; 471 in 1959 at the Penrith Agricultural Show.

Sep 1.jpg

In 1951 the attendance was 127, in 1956—221, 1957—341 and in 1958—369. Behind these figures lies a story in which Mrs. Ritchie also has a part, of organisation and hard work which always ensures a very successful visit. In fact, throughout the years she has taken an active part in furthering the Bank's interests, and, the attendance of our Mobile Branch at this event has now come to be regarded as an essential part of the Show. We who visit the Northern District have often commented that our managers up there seem more relaxed, more able to enjoy life, than their colleagues in the big cities.  We reaffirm this observation but in the case of Penrith we would observe that this state of mind has nothing to do with the work which is as hard at Penrith as anywhere we have been. We have a theory about this but we would digress to go into it here. Suffice it to say that we need a constant supply of Dick Ritchies in order to keep this Bank on top.

Sep 1.jpg

A long history…

Penrith Branch goes back a long way, as illustrated by these two cheques from Stephen Walker’s collection: The first is from February 1886, when Penrith was a Branch of the Carlisle and Cumberland Bank.  The more familiar Martins Bank design on the right is from the 1930s…

Sep 1.jpg

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections - Stephen Walker

1915 to 1916 Mr E M Nelson joined the bank here MBM-Wi59P51.jpg

1916 to 1932 Mr G W Iveson MBM-Sp60P47.jpg

1922 to 1930 approx  Mr T E Sarginson joined the bank here MBM-Sp65P53.jpg

1923 to 1941 Mr H B-P Williamson MBM-Au59P57.jpg






Mr A Martin

Joined the Bank Here


Mr J Bainbridge

On the Staff

1911 to 1928

Mr E M Nelson

Joined the Bank Here

1915 to 1916

Mr G W Iveson

On the Staff

1916 to 1932

Mr T E Sarginson

Joined the Bank Here

1922 to 1930

Mr H B-P Williamson

On the Staff

1923 to 1941






1927 to 1938 Mr D Kennard MBM-Sp61P51.jpg

1936 to 1938 Mr JE Russell MBM-Wi64P07.jpg

1945 to 1948 Mr J M Read Accountant MBM-Sp48P09.jpg

1947 to 1947 Mr J M Varty MBM-Au65P05.jpg






Mr D Kennard

On the Staff

1927 to 1938

Mr J G Holliday


1928 to 1946

Mr J E Russell

On the Staff

1936 to 1938

Mr J M Read


1945 to 1948

Mr J M Varty

On the Staff

1947 to 1947

Mr G R Dolman

Joined the Bank Here

1950 to 1950






1950 to 1963 Mr J H Ritchie Manager MBM-Au63P55.jpg

1963 to 1966 Mr A W Denton Assistant Manager MBM-Sp66P04.jpg

1965 Miss SM Bainbridge Cashier MBM-Sp65P37.jpg

1966 Mr DG Brogden Assistant Manager MBM-Sp66P07.jpg

1967 Mr GW Green Messenger MBM-Wi67P46.jpg

BW Logo






Mr J H Ritchie


1950 to 1963

Mr A W Denton

Assistant Manager

1963 to 1966

Miss S M Bainbridge



Mr D G Brogden

Assistant Manager


Mr G W Green















Sep 1.jpg




Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-80-60 Penrith

Full Branch 

Market Square Penrith Cumberland

219 Northern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Penrith 2235/6

Nightsafe Installed

Mr S L Blamire Manager


Sep 1.jpg





23 March 1911


18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

17 April 2024

Opened by Carlisle and Cumberland Bank (address unknown)

Bank of Liverpool

Moved to Market Square

Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-66-98 Penrith

Closed permanently from 12 noon

Penrith Auction Mart