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Halifax Commercial Bank

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Pontefract Branch is opened in 1901 by the Halifax Commercial Bank, and becomes part of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins in 1920.  It another of those Branch buildings that really stands out from the crowd and makes a bold statement. As the image shows, the Bank’s name is also displayed on the adjoining building.  In the Autumn of 1951 Martins Bank Magazine pays Pontefract Branch a visit.  At this time, the production of a certain liquorice based confectionery is the major industry in the town, but we do also learn that Pontrefact has other attractions too, amongst them an even newer type of liquorice based confectionery!

In Service: 1901 until 17 April 1970



External Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0033-0456

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1951 03 MBM.jpgEveryone knows about Pontefract cakes, though many of the younger generation, even in Pontefract itself, do not nowadays see these liquorice medallions stamped with the arms of the old town.  Liquorice all-sorts, a more modern development of the original sweet, come from Pontefract too, and it is interesting to note that until the last two years the liquorice roots from which the famous confection is made were grown in Pontefract, on a piece of land which is now laid out as a public garden. 

Pontefract CU

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Today the roots are imported from the Near East, Greece in particular, and, so far as we could ascertain, the plant was never grown in commercial quantities except around Pontefract.   But Pontefract has other claims to fame. There is the ruin of the castle, reduced by Cromwell, in which Richard II was murdered.  There is also the partly-ruined Parish Church, also destroyed by Cromwell. A portion of it has been restored and, surrounded by the remaining pleasing and picturesque ruins, is regularly used for services.  As a matter of fact, the deeds covering the land on which our new Pontefract branch has been built convey to the bank the right to a pew in the Parish Church. We tactfully refrained from enquiring as to whether the right was being exercised and enjoyed!

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1951 Pontefract Staff True Black and White Original of image in MBM-Au51P47.jpg

1960 s Pontefract  ext 3 BGA Ref 33-456


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Pontefract is also the only place we have come across where the name Patience has ever been given to a boy, and it came about in this wise: A certain gentleman of title named Sir Thomas Warde was presented by his wife with six sons in fairly rapid succession. He therefore, quite naturally, felt some concern about the ability of the family income to cope with the situation and resolved that if another son arrived he would be christened Patience. The seventh child was another boy who ultimately became Sir Patience Warde. The town, of about 20,000 inhabitants, is the centre of a coal mining area which stretches towards Leeds and is the market town for the farming country to the south. We and our predecessors have maintained a branch there for over half a century, but new and very fine premises have recently been built, into which we moved earlier this year. Mr and Mrs Kergon met us at the station and we lunched together before visiting the branch. We picked early closing day for our visit as this is the quietest day at the branch and, as a consequence, the most convenient for our visit. Mr. Kergon entered the service of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in 1910. His first appointment was as Manager at King Cross in 1935. He became Manager at Pontefract in 1942.


1923 to 1932 Mr C Robinson MBM-Sp61P53.jpg

1929 Mr W Oldroyd joined the bank here MBM-Su62P30.jpg

1938 to 1939 Mr J M Holdsworth MBM-Wi63P06.jpg

1942 to 1959 Mr J B Kergon Manager MBM-Wi59P49.jpg

1951 Mr A K Sykes MBM-Au66P48.jpg






Mr C Robinson

On the Staff

1923 to 1932

Mr W Oldroyd

On the Staff


Mr J Houldsworth

On the Staff

1938 to 1939

Mr J B kergon


1942 to 1959

Miss M Beavis

On the Staff


Mr A K Sykes

On the staff


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1951 Mr GC Walsh MBM-Su65P05.jpg

1951 Mr T B Daniels MBM-Au51P47.jpg






Mr G C Walsh

On the Staff


Mr T B Daniels

On the Staff









Index Number and District:






11-83-60 Pontefract

Full Branch

Valley Road Pontefract Yorkshire

610 Leeds

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Pontefract 2833

Nightsafe Installed

Mr R J Peace Manager

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11-25-50 Knottingley

Plymouth Westwell Street




15 December 1969

17 April 1970

Halifax Commercial Bank

Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-68-56 Pontefract