The Bank of Liverpool and Martins signs the contract for
new premises at 44 Coney Street York, in August 1924, and their first full
Branch in that most historic city is opened in January 1927 as part of the
Bank’s short-lived Halifax District.
From the amalgamation of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank with the
Bank of Liverpool and Martins in 1928 comes a Sub Branch at York Cattle
Market. Coney Street is outgrown by
its own business, and in 1958 the Branch is relocated to Davy Hall. Martins Bank’s final connection with York
is the University Sub Branch, which opens in 1965 in a mobile caravan, before
switching to purpose built premises.
Coney Street Branch can be seen in the background of the Staff group
picture below, from which we have taken a close up (above), and in our “then
and now” feature, we have added a contemporary view – for which we are most
grateful Edward Waterson – to show how little has changed in more than NINETY years!
1 January 1927 until 1958
Image © YORK PRESS – under Fair use policy, every effort has been made
to contact the copyright holder.
from the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Annual Report 1927 © Barclays
beautiful autumn day, 27th September
to be exact, we set out upon our travels once more, calling at
selected Branches in connection with this, the second instalment of our new '
Branches' feature. And so we went first of
all to York, there to renew our acquaintance with Mr. J. A. McGregor whom we
last saw at the annual meetingof Martins Bank Golfing Society. He is quite a
notability in local golf circles, though we had to drag the information out
of him. He acted as one of the umpires at the Ryder Cup Competition this year
and is a County Golfer who has played for Yorkshire. In the past he has taken
part in the British Golf Championship at Hoylake and when we say that his
handicap is scratch readers will understand Mr. Conacher's satisfaction, not
to say jubilation, on the only occasion on which he has so far proved the
victor when they have played together! We have been in a good many Branches
of the Bank but we can say quite sincerely that none has given us the pure
aesthetic delight which our Branch in Coney Street gave us.
The office may be tiny and the working space somewhat inadequate
but the beautiful half-timbered exterior, the ancient windows and the
time-worn beams of the interior, with which such modern repairs and
alterations as have become necessary have been so tastefully blended combine
to give the visitor (and there are many, including not a few American sightseers)
a feeling of complete satisfaction. It must have been a source of great joy
to the City Fathers when, in the course of preparing the building for use by
the Bank, the exterior plaster was stripped from the half-timbering which was
thus exposed to take its rightful place among the treasured antiquities of
the ancient city.
There is a strong local flavour about the staff. Mr. McGregor
himself is a York man, educated at Archbishop Halgate's Grammar School. He
entered the Bank at York in 1927 and after various periods of service at
Hull, Manningham, Sunbridge Road and in Branch Department, Head Office,
returned to his native city as Manager in 1946. From 1941 to 1945 he served
with H M Forces from which he was invalided out. He has a young staff, three of whom have only been at the Branch a
short time and he has the distinction of being the only married man. We paid
a surprise visit to his home, hoping to see his wife, but we were unlucky,
though the visit was rewarded by the next best thing—a few minutes spent with his youngest daughter, a very charming
little lady aged four.
F. S. Pitts was educated at
Bradford Grammar School and entered the service at the Equitable Branch,
Bradford, in 1939, going to Tyrrel Street the following year. From 1941-1946
he was away with H.M. Forces, returning to Bradford on demobilisation. He was
transferred to York only a couple of weeks before our visit. E. S. Tapper came North from
the London district when his people moved North. After education at the Modern School,
Streatham, he entered the Bank at 68, Lombard Street in 1937, served in H.M.
Forces from 1940 to 1946 and then had a spell in Leeds. 1947 saw him at
London Foreign Branch, 1948 at Edgware Road and earlier this year he was at
Bradford, going to York in June. Mr. Trott entered the Bank in 1943 at
Scarborough, after education at Scarborough Boys' High School. From 1944
until 1948 he served with H.M. Forces, being appointed to York last year.
Unique among our staff is
surely 68-years-old F. Bryan, who works at our Cattle Market Branch, which is sub to York
office, on Thursdays. He was engaged
part-time in 1943, after retiring from the railway, because of his special knowledge of this
class of business and of the personalities engaged therein.
We are assured that when the time comes for him to leave us his
place will be most
difficult to fill. The
only girl on the staff is Miss E. M. Snowball who has been with us since
1941. Although we
rejoice with her in her time of happiness we are sorry to say that the plans
of a certain fortunate
young gentleman are likely to number her days with us.
YORK MICKLEGATE – Part of the “Roman Towns” Advertisement
Campaign, drawn by Geoffrey Wedgwood © Martins Bank 1949
They must have breathed a
sigh of relief when we left the Branch for a quick tour of some of the sights of York, for
there is no room for passengers in this office, but they were very nice
about the setback to the
day's work which such a visit involves. The quick look at the Minster, the Shambles, the
Archbishop's Palace, the wonderful museum, the castle and walls, and the Micklegate,
used as the illustration for “Eboracum”, in our current “Roman Towns” series of
advertisements, rounded off a very happy day in this beautiful old city.
It is a shame that the only picture that shows the whole Branch building
at Coney Street during Martins Bank’s time there is this faded scan from
Martins Bank Magazine. In 2014 friend of the archive Edward Waterson took
great care to capture for us a shot of the building as it is today from the
same angle. Today 44 Coney Street might be a mobile phone shop, but at least
it carries on the tradition of “communication” that was established their by
Coney Street in 1949…
Image © Martins Bank
… and in 2014
Image © Martins Bank
Archive Collections - Edward Waterson