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Sittingbourne is one of the fifteen “Grasshopper” branches that Martin’s Private Bank operates at the time of its amalgamation with the Bank of Liverpool in 1918. These are situated mainly on the London-Kentish Border.  Originally opened by Messrs Vallance and Payne in the 1880s, Sittingbourne is a lovely old building with treasures within that include tudor murals – more of which in our feature -  the 1967 visit to the Branch by Martins Bank Magazine…

Old and New at Sittingbourne…



our Sittingbourne branch began life in October 1889 when the banking firm of Vallance & Payne, established in 1800, was dissolved and Henry Payne persuaded Martin & Company to open a branch with himself as manager.

*              In Service: 1880 until December 1979

*        But see also history at foot of this page


1954 Sittingbourne Exterior MBM-Sp54P18

Branch Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections

1967 Sittingbourne Exterior  MBM-Au67P15.jpgIt thus became the fifth office of the Bank to open and by the end of the year was the leading branch outside London. One year later Martin's moved across the street into the centre portion of Sittingbourne's 'oldest house for the entertainment of man and beast', the Lion Hotel, whose history goes back nearly 600 years. There is a record to show that Henry V was entertained at the inn on his return from Agincourt in 1415, his whole reckon­ing amounting to 9s. 9d. as wine was then only a penny a pint.  Many other famous travellers stayed at the inn, for Sittingbourne stands in direct line between London and Dover and was thus one of the overnight stages on journeys to the Continent besides being on the route of the Canterbury pilgrims.

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Part of the original murals are still to be seen on the wall of the kitchen of the bank flat which, before con­version, was the first floor banqueting hall of the inn. The style of the painting is late Tudor or early Jacobean, and our photograph shows some of the laths over the wooden battens put on by a builder to protect the murals when they were first covered by plaster walls.  A recently retired member of the staff, Mr J. L. Cook, has the distinction of having served under every manager that the branch has had so far, beginning his career in 1920, two years before the retirement of Henry Payne. He can recall that his first duty in the morning was to buy a bottle of whisky which Mr Payne proceeded to consume during the day.


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The recent death of Miss Payne, daughter to Henry, has now broken the last link between the old firm of Vallance & Payne and Martins. Some interesting old accounts of 1890 show that salaries paid for the year were £360 8s. 8d., while Henry Payne received £214 15s.1d.—a quarter of the profits. The old specimen signature books are still preserved, number four being kept in the manager's room, and customers who have banked with us for fifty years are congratulated on their anniversary. One such, when replying, referred to his father having helped to persuade Martin's to open the branch at Sittingbourne.

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1967 Sittingbourne Section of old mural  MBM-Au67P15.jpg

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

A section of the late Tudor murals that can still be seen on the walls of the kitchen in the bank flat at Sittingbourne branch.

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The High Street is a mixture of ancient and modern buildings and our branch is one of the most outstanding with its white-painted early Victorian frontage. Inside, the banking hall retains the dignity of its historic past and in the manager's room, with its elegant blue desk and chairs, is a wooden cabinet which was part of the original fittings.

A warm welcome awaits the visitor and nobody could feel themselves a stranger there. Mr Goodband is a perfect host, keen golfer and deckchair gardener.  He claims to be the last of the clerks engaged by the Bank of Liverpool & Martins before it became Martins Bank in 1928. Pro Manager is Mr Cooper, an expatriate from Brighton who finds living in Sittingbourne rather more peaceful. We met Miss Turvey, charming and friendly, who is the manager's indispensable aide. She has been at Sittingbourne since she started in the Bank and con­sequently knows all the regional connections, being herself chairman and secretary of various local groups. She has on occasion been able to warn her boss of police speed traps—a super-efficient secretary indeed. At the counter Mr Carter presides majestically over the first till, inspiring confidence in the most timid of old ladies; Richard Hyde charms the younger ones, while Ann Giles and Averill Wood cope with everybody most efficiently. The workers at the rear of the office are machinists Hazel Grant and Christine McLaughlin, beavering away at the application of current account charges at the time of our visit, with Ronald Smith dealing with the rest of the routine duties.

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1967 Sittingbourne Interior  MBM-Au67P15.jpg

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

We accompanied Mr Goodband on a trip to the sub branch at Milton Regis, once a separate community but now incorporated with Sittingbourne as one town. Martins is the only bank in this thriving new develop­ment area where in four years over twenty new factories have been established at Trinity Trading Estate, others being planned for the future. Unlike its aged parent our branch is modern and exciting, squares of fluorescent lighting in the ceiling and walls of corrugated afrormosia wood creating an unusual and attractive decor. The two tills are manned by John Port, an enthusiastic and expert Scottish dancer, and Ronald Young, an equally enthu­siastic footballer and swimmer. On our way back to Sittingbourne High Street we saw the new police station, assembly hall, revenue offices and town hall, all completed only a year ago.

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On the wall by the entrance to the town hall the coat of arms depicts branches of cherry trees—cherries, apples and pears being the main products of the region, though the chief industry at Sittingbourne is paper. Inside the town hall we bowed the knee before the portrait of Henry Payne, j.p., c.c., who was Chairman of Sittingbourne U.D.C. from 1903 to 1910. There have been close connections between the Bank and the Town Council since its forma­tion in 1895 and we were shown plans for the new development area, including a pedestrian shopping centre with adjacent multi-story car park from which a connecting passage will run through to the High Street past Martins Bank. The consequent possibilities of extending business will not be overlooked by our enterprising manager or his staff.


1906 to 1932 Mr A Springate joined the service here and became Manager in 1929 MBM-Au47P39.jpg

1922 Mr J Pope joined the bank here MBM-Wi64P52.jpg

1927 to 1939 Mr J R Branscombe Manager MBM-Wi51P37.jpg

1930 to 1936 Mr J H Owen joined the bank hereMBM-Sp65P06.jpg

1932 to 1936 Mr S E Lawrence Pro Manager MBM-Su57P47.jpg

1939 to 1957 Mr C S Boden Manager MBM-Au57P56.jpg






Mr A Springate

Joined the Bank Here

1906 to 1932

Mr A Pope

Joined the Bank Here


Mr J R Branscombe


1927 to 1939

Mr J H Owen

Joined the Bank Here

1930 to 1936

Mr S E Lawrence

Pro Manager

1932 to 1936

Mr C S Boden


1939 to 1957

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1940 to 1941 Mr AL Smith MBM-Su67P05.jpg

1941 to 1945 approx Mr J F Tegg MBM-Wi63P55.jpg

1944 to 1946 Mr R Catchpole joined the bank here MBM-Su68P13.jpg

1957 to 1963 Mr W H Gurney Manager MBM-Sp63P52.jpg

1963 to 1966 Mr P G Butler Pro Manager MBM-Sp66P07.jpg

1966 Mr DH Cooper pro Manager MBM-Sp66P07.jpg






Mr A L Smith

On the Staff

1940 to 1941

Mr J F Tegg

On the Staff

1941 to 1945 approx

Mr R Catchpole

Joined the Bank Here

1944 to 1946

Mr W H Gurney


1957 to 1963

Mr P G Butler

Pro Manager

1963 to 1966

Mr D H Cooper

Pro Manager


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1967 Anne Giles MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Averill Wood MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Eva Turvey MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Hazel Grant MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Mr C H Goodband Manager MBM-Au56P13.jpg

1967 Mr H E B Carter MBM-Au67P15.jpg






Anne Giles

On the Staff


Averill Wood

On the Staff


Eva Turvey

On the Staff


Hazel Grant

On the Staff


Mr C H Goodband



Mr H E B Carter

On the Staff


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1967 Mr John Port MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Mr Richard Hyde MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Mr Ronald Smith MBM-Au67P15.jpg

1967 Mr Ronald Young MBM-Au67P15.jpg






Mr John Port

On the Staff


Mr Richard Hyde

On the Staff


Mr Ronald Smith

On the Staff


Mr Ronald Young

On the Staff





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Index Number and District:






11-87-70 Sittingbourne

Full Branch

60 High Street Sittingbourne Kent

409 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Sittingbourne 3949 / 3854

Nightsafe Installed

C H Goodband Manager




1880 - 1889

October 1889

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

December 1979

Opened by Messrs Vallance and Payne

acquired by Martin and Company

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-78-29 Sittingbourne 60 High St