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Martins Bank 1928+

Martins Bank continues to expand in London until the merger with Barclays, adding branches in parts of the City where business is expected to draw in the well heeled, high net worth customers, who will pay for banking services, and use the Bank�s executor and trustee services. Martins opens in this splendid building, Victoria House Westminster, in 1951, and it is visited the following year by Martins Bank Magazine who waste no time in comparing and contrasting the look of the new branch with that of Nantwich, which opens around the same time. You can read more about this somewhat curious comparison further down this page.

In Service: 1951 under 4 May 1970


1951 London Victoria House Westminster exterior 1 RT BGA Ref 30-3160.jpg

Image � Barclays Ref 0030-3160

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When Barclays and Martins merge at the end of 1969, the Branch is closed and the business transferred to Barclays� Westminster Branch at 78 Victoria Street. For our features, we go first to 1955 and the starring role of Westminster branch in that April�s edition of �Business� magazine. Then we go back a little further to 1952 and the visit of Martins Bank Magazine to Westminster Branch�

One of the most modern banks in Britain!

Don�t take OUR word for it, Victoria House Westminster Branch is officially one of the most modern banks in Britain, in the tough business world of 1955.


Image � Business Magazine April 1955

Business Magazine runs this colour front page showing the Branch, which at the time is still less than four years old�

To the left of the picture, serving behind the counter grille is Mr Jack Jaques. His son Michael has kindly provided us with this image from his personal archive. Michael got in touch with us from Canada, having visited the Online Archive and seeing his father�s staff picture and career details in our pages. He was able to supply us with several images of branches, training courses and sporting activity from Jack Jaques� time with the Bank. If you can help with images and/or memories of any of our Branches, please do get in touch with us at the usual address �

m[email protected]


A business executive discussing his personal banking arrangements with an officer of Martins Bank, Victoria Street, Westminster Branch � one of the most modern banks in Britain. Although business executives today receive the same high standard of personal service from their bankers as pre-war, their incomes are relatively lower. An article on page 75 of this issue discusses �Executive Salaries��.}

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An interesting architectural contrast to Nantwich?

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1952 02WHEN first it was sug�gested that we should visit Westminster branch the grounds for the idea were that the branch would make an interesting archi�tectural contrast to Nantwich, which we featured in a pre�vious issue. And when we arrived at the branch on April 3rd it was quite obvious that Mr. H. A. Lewe, the Manager, who is immensely proud of his branch, thought that it was because of the architecture that we were making the visit. Well, of course, one has to have a reason for singling a particular branch out for a visit, and this excuse was as good as any, but we would like to make it clear, here and now, that it is people we are interested in primarily, bricks and mortar only incidentally.

Our visit to Westminster on April 3rd was a bit of an occasion for it is the first Metropolitan branch to be featured in this series of articles, though the number of Head Office officials who have visited it is both large and representative.

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Architecturally, it is, of course, both interesting and unusual. The premises at one time housed the National Provincial Bank, and latterly an antique shop and a tobacconist's shop occupied them. The first tricky problem en�countered was that of dealing with a pillar almost in the middle of the space needed for the Manager's room. As this pillar was doing a vital job it could not be moved amd so instead of the manager being supplied with a desk in the form of a piece of furniture a desk was built round the pillar and the latter was painted a cream colour. We wondered whether the neat sym�bolism of a pillar of strength arising from the manager's desk had occurred to the architects or whether they had merely been preoccupied with disguising what they could not alter. The antique shop, which is now the counter, customers' space and manager's room, has blue walls and concealed ceiling lighting; the tobacconist's shop, with sunshiny yel�low walls, is now a light and airy mach�ine room, near to and yet attractively secluded from the counter.

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Image � Barclays Ref 0030-3160

The Westminster Staff � Left to Right: Mr H A Lewe, Mr A F Hill, Mr K A Clark,Miss A L Haswell, Miss M A Foster and Mr L E V Hall.

Kindly supplied by P A Raymond, this image is taken from

the original staff group photograph.

1951 London Victoria House Westminster interior 10 BGA Ref 30-3160.jpg

In the ordinary way the Bank does not favour counter grilles, but as space did not permit of the regulation 3 feet 6 inches depth for the counter it was considered advisable to fit a grille. The coloured corkoid squares form a bright and cheerful patterned floor covering on the customers' space. The strongroom and basement accommodation must be about the best which it is possible to provide and cleanliness and efficiency are everywhere apparent.

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As to the exterior, Westminster is one of the few London branches to display the new Hanging Sign and not the Grasshopper, so cherished by the older branches. In a somewhat dark and dirty street our branch, the fascia and cornice of which are painted a light grey-green and the stucco a dark green, strikes a cheerful and arresting note of welcome.

1951 London Victoria House Westminster interior 7 BGA Ref 30-3160.jpg

Image � Barclays Ref 0030-3160

Image � Barclays Ref 0030-3160

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1951 to 1959 Mr H A Lewe Manager MBM-Su66P57.jpg

1952 Miss A L Foster MBM-Su52P34.jpg

1952 Mr KA Clark MBM-Wi67P05.jpg

1952 Miss M A Foster MBM-Su52P34.jpg

1952 Mr L E V Hall MBM-Su52P34.jpg

1952 to 1952 Mr AF Hill joined the bank here MBM-Su67P06.jpg

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Mr H A Lewe


1951 to 1959

Miss A L Haswell

On the Staff


Mr K A Clark

On the Staff


Miss M A Foster

On the Staff


Mr L E V Hall

On the Staff


Mr A F Hill

Joined the Bank Here

1952 to 1952







1952 to 1953 Mr P R Thorogood joined the bank here MBM-Wi68P06.jpg

1953 to 1959 Mr H A Packett  MBM-Au62P26.jpg

1955 to 1961 Mr R C Baker joined the bank here MBM-Su66P04.jpg

1960 to 1961 Mr A H M Brain joined the bank here MBM-Su65P06.jpg






Mr P R Thorogood

Joined the Bank Here

1952 to 1953

Mr H A Packett

On the Staff

1953 to 1959

Mr K S Laythorn

Joined the Bank Here


Mr R C Baker

Joined the Bank Here

1955 to 1961

Mr F D Smith

On the Staff


Mr A H M Brain

Joined the Bank Here

1960 to 1961

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1964 to 1965 Mr N H Harvey Pro Manager MBM-Wi65P03.jpg

1965 to 1967 Mr D R Farrow pro Manager MBM-Wi65P06.jpg

1967 Mr JO Edwards pro Manager MBM-Au67P03.jpg

1968 Mr AW George pro Manager MBM-Su68P23.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo






Mr N H Harvey

Pro Manager

1964 to 1965

Mr D R Farrow

Pro Manager

1965 to 1967

Mr J O Edwards

Pro Manager


Mr A W George

Pro Manager




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Index Number and District:






11-90-80 London Westminster

Full Branch

Victoria House 117 Victoria Street Westminster London SW1

461 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 828 3661 & 0056

Nightsafe installed

Mr K E Tester Manager

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Westminster is included in Martins� London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given �significant digits� to identify them at the London Computer Centre by account numbers issued. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 69.


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London Waterloo Place


4 May 1970

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and business transferred to Barclays Westminster 78 Victoria Street

London Whitehall