At the end of the 1940s, Martins Bank’s Editorial and Advertising Department commissions a large number of themed drawings that can be used to accompany advertisements for the bank.  Key to the campaigns is  the idea that the Bank is somehow connected either with the subject of the drawings, or with the traditions they represent.  After a decade largely lost to the ravages of the Second World War, the campaigns are designed to remind us of what our men and women have been fighting for. The artists tasked with producing the drawings are Geoffrey Wedgwood and Graham Smith, and in this section we feature the two sets of artwork that they have produced in response to Martins’ advertising brief.

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1949 Geoffrey Wedgwood – Roman Towns

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The Bank has commissioned Geoffrey Wedgwood to design images that are in some way indicative of twelve British towns, all of which have a branch of Martins in them, and displaying the Roman name of each particular town or city. The twelve towns chosen for the campaign are Bath, Buxton, Cambridge, Chester, York, Exeter, Carlisle, Lancaster, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester and Worcester.  Each design features one aspect of the town that is represented. These include castles, Hadrians Wall, and the famous baths in the town of Bath. The advertisements are published at the rate of one each month in major newspapers and periodicals, and a different town is featured each month.  Each ad incorporates a short paragraph of historical information about the town - and its particular significance in Roman times - along with details of the local branch, therefore showing Martins’ links with the area. The results are so successful that the Bank continues to use these images in its advertising well into the 1950s.  These advertisement have been remastered using copies of the original artworks.


No 1 York


No 2 Buxton


No 3 Newcastle-upon-Tyne


No 4 Bath





No 5 Carlisle

No 6 Lancaster

No 7 Manchester

No 8 Chester




No 9 Leicester

No 10 Cambridge

No 11 Worcester

No 12 Exeter

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1949 Graham Smith – Famous “banks”…

In the first of two shorter sets of drawings, the artist Graham Smith gives us his take on the subject of famous banks – they might not be quite what you expected.  Once again, the Bank has branches in each of the locations mentioned. Now for the first time since they were published, you can see the advertisements as they were meant to be seen.

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1949 Banks of the River Mersey MBM-Wi49P15.jpg

1949 Banks of the River Thames MBM-Wi49P15.jpg

1949 Banks of the River Tyne MBM-Wi49P16.jpg

1949 Banks of the River Avon MBM-Wi49P16.jpg

1949 Banks of the River Tees MBM-Wi49P17.jpg

1949 Southampton Water MBM-Wi49P17.jpg

The River Mersey

The River Thames

The River Tyne

The River Avon

The River Tees

Southampton Water






1949 Graham Smith – Remastered 2018 © Martins Bank Archive Collections

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1949 Graham Smith – The Great Traditions

In his second set of drawings, Graham Smith turns his hand to some of the more fundamental traditions and vocations of our land.  Each picture represents both the past and the present, and the continuity of the tradition being expressed by the drawing. The advertising hook here, is that the Bank is both caring and careful, and will always be an institution that can be trusted…

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1949 The King's Highway MBM-Au49P15.jpg

1949 The Mercantile Marine MBM-Au49P14.jpg

1949 The Royal Mails MBM-Au49P13.jpg

1949 The Nursing Vocation MBM-Au49P15.jpg

1949 The Ceremony of the Keys MBM-Au49P13.jpg

The King’s Highway


The Mercantile Marine


The Royal Mails


The Nursing Vocation


The Laying of Foundation Stones

The Ceremony of the Keys


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Images: Martins Bank Archive Collections © 1949 Graham Smith – Remastered 2018

…and the Competition?

Remarkably, despite Martins leading the way with innovative designs and ideas for advertising, some of the other banks’ advertising looks, at the end of the 1940s, very much like it did at the end of the 1930s

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1940s Williams Deacons Ad from Liverpool Guide.jpg

1940s Lewis's Bank Ad from Liverpool Guide MBA.jpg


This ad for Lewis’s Bank is published a few years before the

bank is acquired by Martins.  See also LEWIS’S BANK

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