A decision that is “not taken lightly”…


23 February 1968 – Martins Bank issues a communication to its staff and shareholders that is notable for its frankness and honesty. The Bank simply cannot expand quickly enough to continue competing in a quickly changing World.

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“The decision, which this bank finally took earlier this year, to seek bids for its shares, was not taken lightly or without deep prior consideration. From the point of view not least of the Board and the senior management the decision was in some ways a sad one. It was not necessitated by any short-term considerations but arose solely from the Board’s appreciation that in the long-term the national interest and the interests of customers, staff and share-holders alike would be best served were the Bank to become part of a larger financial unit. In such circumstances the Board felt it only right to set in motion the machinery which it did with a view to achieving the most satisfactory possible merger at a time when the Bank's position and resources still made it attractive to other of the larger British banks. Before taking steps to achieve this object the Bank consulted the Governor of the Bank of England who concurred with the procedure which we proposed to adopt.

Broadly, the considerations which influenced us arose out of the increasing need for greater scale in financial units. Larger funds, a wider geographical spread, nationally and internationally, and the undertaking of a greater range of specialist activities are increasingly important in modem banking. While Martins has a valuable contribution to make to a larger financial unit, it is probably not large enough, standing by itself, to compete effectively in the long run nor could it achieve the necessary size by direct expansion within its own available resources”…

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Image and Text © Barclays Ref 0482-0436

From this point on, things will move quickly – a proposed merger of Barclays, Lloyds and Martins Banks, whilst thoroughly researched and feasible, is turned down by the Monopolies Commission, who prefer a merger on a smaller scale. Eight months after announcing its decision to seek a buyer, Martins reaches the first important date in its irrevocable marriage to Barclays, 1 November 1968. This leaves just thirteen months in which both Banks will have to compare Branches and services, so that the best of each can be retained for the combined business. There is also the task of informing the customers of both Banks not only about the merger itself, but also of the perceived benefits…

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

1968 Eagle & grasshopper image only  3.4810.jpg


1968 Eagle & grasshopper title only  3.4810.jpgAn eagle, out for a walk, came to a pleasant stream. Beside it stood a grasshopper, plump and chirpy. ‘Glorious day,’ said the grasshopper, vaulting behind a stone. ‘Indeed,’ replied the eagle. ‘Delightful part of the world, this,’ said the grasshopper. ‘Must confess I don’t know it all that well,’ replied the eagle. ‘Not half as well as you do. Dashed clever, you grasshoppers. Ear close to the ground, I suppose?’ ‘Oh, very,’ said the grasshopper, look­ing out warily. ‘Perhaps we ought to get together—some sort of amalgama­tion. Why, with my local knowledge and your fine feathers . . .’  ‘That’s a thought,’ said the eagle. Taking a step forward. ‘But not any sort of amalgamation, said the grasshopper, I’ve noticed worms becoming amalgamated with starlings every morning at breakfast time.’ ‘Fiddlesticks,’ said the eagle, ‘do you take me for a fool? What could I gain by gobbling you up ?’ ‘Well’—the grasshopper sounded piqued—'I dare say I’m very tasty.’ ‘Piffle! ‘Said the eagle. ‘Look, if I ate you, you’d be gone, wouldn’t you ‘ ‘That’s very true.’ - ‘But if we amalgamated, you could tell me all about this enchanting stream you know so well.’ The grasshopper was half-way out of hiding now. ‘And I could give you lifts to all sorts of places—I travel a lot, you know,’ continued the eagle. ‘Would you take me soaring?’ ‘Frequently.’ ‘And introduce me to some of your large friends?’ ‘That would be my pleasure.’ They both stood thinking for a long time. ‘And I could teach you to jump!’ said the grasshopper with sudden cheerfulness. ‘A thing I’ve never really mastered,’ said the eagle. ‘And I have a trick way of rubbing my legs together. Listen . . .’ ‘I doubt if I’ll ever manage that,’ said the eagle, ‘but I’d love to try.’  And off they went together, ironing out the formalities. And so it was that Barclays and Martins decided to join forces.


Moral: Marriage is to politics what the lever is to engineering.

The state is not founded upon single individuals

But upon couples and groups.


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Text and Images © Barclays 1968

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Special Note from the Editor

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Martins Branch (Statement logo) xEagle & grasshopper 3.4810.jpgWhilst singing the praises of Martins Bank and looking back with fondness upon its life, times, and achievements, it is not our place either to over-praise or to judge history harshly.  The advertisement here (left) is published at the end of 1968, and is designed to show customers of both Martins and Barclays, that there is much to be gained from, and nothing to fear from “a merger”, or indeed “an amalgamation”. Whilst compiling this part of the online archive, it has been impossible for me to ignore the feelings of a large number of Martins staff who, even in 2009 when we launched, were still feeling betrayed over the 1969 merger.


To many, a fundamental promise – that the name of Martins Bank will live on – is broken even before the act of Parliament that brings about the new Bank. The token gesture “Martins Branch” which appears on some Barclays stationery until the early 1980s is also not enough to calm the genuine anger and hurt. As an observer who never worked for Martins, and given that time is usually such a great healer, I am genuinely shocked and saddened by the comments we regularly receive on this matter, and I completely understand and sympathise with those who thought one thing, but witnessed another.


With a brand as successful as Barclays, there is never any real doubt that the name of Martins will have to disappear, and the campaign to wipe Martins from the memory is, in its own way, as sophisticated as any seen today when major companies are brought together. Thanks however to the “Martins Branch” logo, the changes do at least take until 1982 to fully complete, and the legacy of Martins’ own “Branch Accounting” computer program remains with Barclays until at least 2005. The articles in this section look at the various parts of the process of subtle change that go into what Barclays refers to as “The end of the beginning”, but which many, from the outset, see as the exact opposite…

Jonathan, May 2013

1967/8 – A Merger is announced…

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12 Dec 1969 Lpool Overseas CrossingAfter one too many late nights, it is time for the activities of that teenage upstart, Martins Bank to be reigned in by a somewhat nervous Bank of England. The cost of servicing the accounts of a number of the UK’s largest companies, whilst still bent on a lavish expansion southwards is finally going to put paid to the dreams of the Liver Bird and the Grasshopper, a divorce takes place (the removal of the Liver Bird and any further mention of Liverpool) and a shotgun marriage is proposed that is eagerly entered into by Barclays. The prize? Well, it goes without saying. Barclays will gain huge representation in the North of England, with hundreds of branches, many of them new or refurbished, and for the bank that is in the main an amalgamation of a large number of Southern banks, this opportunity is too good to miss. The cake comes with extra icing in the form of a network of branches on the Isle of Man, and in the Channel Islands, and the recently acquired Unicorn Securities, which on its own will help Barclays pay the bills for decades to come. The liver bird has laid a golden egg, and Barclays is first in line with a plate of bread soldiers and a spoon. Dip in! The beginning of the end starts innocently enough with MERGER NEWS, a publication in which Martins naïvely seeks to reassure its staff on the aspects of what is, to all intents and purposes, a full blown takeover of their employer. Looking now at some of the articles printed in “Merger News”, it is sad to note the optimism and naïvity with which questions such as “what will happen to the Martins name”, are asked. This is one of the last publications to be produced by Martins Bank’s own Information Department.

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An MB Publication.jpg

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High Court endorses.jpgMartins’ petition to the High Court to allow changes in the structure of its capital by means of the Scheme of Arrangement was approved in the Chancery Court on Monday, October 28. As a result Martins will now be able to cancel its existing shares, at the same time creating a similar amount of capital out of the reserves arising from the cancellation. The new capital will then be issued to Barclays Bank. Martins will close the register for its old shares on October 31. On November 1, the operative date for the merger by the Scheme of Arrangement, Martins’ solicitors in London will file the Court Order at the Companies Registry. On the same day Martins’ Board will meet to approve the creation of the new capital from the bank’s reserves, and the allotting of those shares to Barclays. Because of the legal requirements calling for no less than seven share­holders to appear in the registers, the new shares will be split and placed in the name of Barclays Bank and other nominated holders. Simultaneously, a meeting of Bar­clays’ Board will create the Ordinary Stock and Loan Stock that will be allotted to former Martins share­holders.

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Exciting Prospect for Overseas

Talks between the two banks about amalgamation of their overseas busi­ness have proceeded extremely well, says Mr. A. R. W. Wetherell, Chief Overseas Manager of Martins. Dis­cussions have been carried on in a cordial and co-operative atmosphere. Although it is too early to state precisely the changes that will come about, the prospects for working together in fields wider than Martins has known before are ‘intriguing and exciting’, Mr. Wetherell said.


Co-ordinating team formed


The two banks have formed a Co­ordinating Team, whose job will be to work out a time-scale for the co­ordination of the businesses. The team will work within policy lines set down by the General Managements of the banks.


Martins’ representative in the team is Mr. A. K. Bromley (Assistant General Manager). His colleagues from Barclays will be Mr. R. J. H. Gillman (Secretary) who will be the team’s chairman, and Mr. K. A. Ebbs and Mr. J. G. Quinton (Assistant General Managers)

Martins name to goWhat will happen to the name of Martins Bank under the merger ? To this question, much discussed just now, there is so far no definite answer. Many Martins people—staff and cus­tomers—take the firm view that so much goodwill attaches to the name that it should continue to appear out­side our branches even though, behind the scenes, there were administrative integration with Barclays. Others hold the equally strong opinion that for the merger to be really effective the name of Martins should vanish completely, and Barclays’ titling should appear above our doors. In a recent BBC interview our Chair­man, Sir Cuthbert Clegg, said that though Martins eventually would become a completely integrated bank with Barclays its identity would not disappear immediately. He felt sure that Martins’ name would never be lost sight of, because of the bank’s great history.

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Scheme of arrangement gets sharholder approval.jpg

Only one dissenting hand was raised against the merger of Martins and Barclays Banks at the extraordinary general meeting of Martins’ share­holders held at Head Office on October 10. A special meeting of shareholders, as required by the High Court, had earlier approved the merging of the two banks by the Scheme of Arrange­ment. The extraordinary meeting was needed to give effect to this Scheme. Presiding over both meetings, the Chairman, Sir Cuthbert B. Clegg, said that proxy votes already received gave substantial support for the merger.




protest over fixed stock.jpgSir Cuthbert was asked to explain why Martins’ shareholders were to get Loan Stock in Barclays Bank in part replacement of their Martins ordinary shares. The questioner was protesting at having some of his ordinary shares changed to fixed-interest stock. Sir Cuthbert explained that the take­over situation had inflated the price of Martins shares: a market price of about 21 shillings would have been more realistic. It must be appreciated that Barclays had to be fair to both their own and Martins’ shareholders. The proportion of Barclays ordinary shares our shareholders were to get was properly related to Martins’ assets and the earning capacity of the capital. With the Scheme of Arrangement approved by an overwhelming major­ity of Martins’ shareholders the bank had then to seek the High Court’s approval to the Scheme. This would give effect to the merger by early November.

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1968 John Thompson Chairman of Barclays.jpgimage21The main executive body within Bar­clays Bank comprises five members of the ‘Chair’ (the Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen and two Vice-Chairmen) and the six General Managers. They meet daily in the Chairman’s Committee and act to­gether as a team. Each of the six General Managers is nominally responsible for specific aspects of the business but all are interchangeable so that they can act for one another during absences. In this way decisions are not delayed pending the return of the appropriate General Manager. In addition there are 13 Assistant General Managers, each with a special sphere of responsibility (lending, automation, premises, staff, etc.). A number of heads of departments have Assistant General Manager status: these include the Chief Accountant, Chief Inspector, Investment Mana­ger, Secretary, Staff Managers and Principal of the Staff Training Centre. Mr. John Thomson has been Chair­man of Barclays Bank since 1962. He was educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, and joined Barclays’ 81 Fleet Street office in 1929. After five years at the Peter­borough Local Head Office he was appointed a Local Director at Oxford in 1935. His appointment as a director of Barclays Bank came in 1947, Vice-Chairman in 1956 and Deputy Chair­man in 1958.


1968 Mr D Wilde Senior General Manager of Barclays.jpgMr. Thomson is married and lives in Oxford. He is closely connected with many charitable organisations and other activities in the county where he has been Lord-Lieutenant since 1963. He has also many close ties with Oxford University. He was a member of the Royal Com­mission on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations. Mr. Derek Wilde is the bank’s senior General Manager. He joined Barclays in 1929 at Sheffield, where he was educated at King Edward VII’s school, and spent a year on the Local Head Office staff before moving in 1938 to London and the banks’ City Trustee Department.


He continued in the ’rustee department after war service, first at Birmingham and then at Bournemouth, returning in 1954 to the City Trustee Office as Manager. Two years later he became Deputy Manager of all Barclays’ Trustee Departments. He left the Trustee side in 1957 to be Deputy Chief Accountant from which post he became an Assistant General Manager in 1960 and a General Manager the following year. He has been senior General Manager since 1966. Mr. Wilde is married and lives at Penshurst, Kent

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Anyone for Tennis.jpgBarclays’ men and women have a wide range of sporting activities available to them. In London everyone from the newest junior to the senior manager can take advantage of the excellently equipped Sports Club through which the Bank takes a pro­minent part in all amateur sports. Individual members of Barclays’ staff have won their places in international and Olympic events.Separate sections cover football, rug­by, hockey, cricket, netball, golf, athletics, rifle-shooting, fencing, bad­minton, lawn and table tennis, chess, bridge, swimming, motoring and judo. In addition to large sports grounds at Norbury in south London and at Haling to the west, a fine boathouse was recently opened on the Thames at Putney for rowing and sailing enthusiasts. In provincial centres, too, there is provision for sport, assisted and encouraged by the management. All the bank’s local districts compete each year in fourteen sports. A high­light of the year is Sports Day, held at Baling in June, which takes in the inter-district athletic team champion­ship, the tennis finals, and a concert and dancing. Already the possibility has been raised of Martins’ staff taking part in a Barclays sporting event.

… music, drama

For those whose talents are singing, acting or playing a musical instru­ment there are Barclays Bank’s Dramatic, Musical and Operatic Societies, all of which stage regular productions in London. This Novem­ber the talents of these three bodies will combine to present a Festival Entertainment to celebrate the open­ing of the bank’s sumptuous new Great Hall in the 54 Lombard Street Head Office. The occasion will also be taken to hold the sixth Triennial Art Exhibition and a photographic show. Another body which Barclays Bank staff are welcome to join is the Bar­clays D.C.O. Horticultural Society which presents regular exhibitions at Goodenough House in the City of London.

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Effects of merger.jpgHow has the bank’s business been affected by the uncertainty since, earlier this year, Martins announced its wish to merge with another bank? According to the Districts, hardly at all. One District General Manager spoke of business in his District ‘growing like mad’.


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Building projects shelved


The bank’s building programme is one sphere greatly affected by the merger situation. Work already well advanced is going ahead but several projects have been shelved. No action is being taken over sites acquired for new premises until a policy for the new group is decided. Even at one branch virtually com­pleted the merger has raised a complication—whether or not to drill holes in an expensive piece of granite to take the name ‘Martins Bank’. The solution has been to fix the letters in a less permanent way.


Adapting branch systems


Among the staff there are many who feel they will be at a disadvantage until both banks are operating com­mon systems. Already a committee has been set up ‘to consider branch book-keeping systems and other pro­cedures’ and much information about their systems has been exchanged by the two banks. The widespread attitude of the staff to the merger is: ‘If there is to be change, the sooner it comes the better’…


Customers’ fear


Foremost in customers’ minds has been the fear that the engulfing of Martins by the huge Barclays’ organi­sation will mean an end to the personal service they value so much. Managers have been quick to reassure their customers that the same individual service, backed by a local District Office, will remain. In fact, the wider facilities of the merged bank will mean an enhanced service.Concern or sorrow at the disap­pearance of a small, independent bank has been expressed by many cus­tomers. At the same time they accept that a merger was inevitable and that their feelings are based mainly on sentiment. While formal talks between the banks have continued at General Manage­ment and department-head levels, some managers and District officials have met their Barclays counterparts informally. Local directors of Bar­clays Bank have called at several of our branches to make themselves known.

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A Huge TaskThe merger has meant a gigantic task for Secretary’s Department at Head Office—the department which among other things has responsibility for the register of the bank’s shareholders. When the form of the proposed Scheme of Arrangement had been agreed, copies had to be dispatched to all Martins’ 43,000 shareholders. With these were notices of the meetings on October 10, and proxy forms by which, if they wished, shareholders could authorise the Chairman and two Deputy Chairmen to vote on their behalf at these meetings. No fewer than 35,645 proxy forms were received back. Each of these had to be examined, checked against the register of shareholders, marked and recorded. This work was started on September 19 and continued to ever-increasing pressure for a fortnight. Evenings and weekends the work went on, with the department’s staff being supplemented by volunteers from other departments and branches. When the work was completed on time, Mr. J. E. Deyes, Secretary of the bank, was full of praise. ‘Everyone worked very hard indeed,’ he said. ‘For two weeks they dedicated them­selves to it. They did a terrific job.’ And the forms ? They had to go to the bank’s auditors to be checked all over again.


Trust Business the giant mini-merger.jpgWithin the general merger arrange­ments there is the ‘mini-merger’— nevertheless of gigantic proportions —of the trust business of the two banks. In fact, our Trust Company business, combined with similar activities in various departments of Barclays Bank, will form one of the largest investment operations in this country, comparable in size with some of the very large American organisa­tions. Discussions will continue in the coming months regarding the shape and structure of the trust side. Mr. D. G. Hanson, Director and General Manager of Martins Bank Trust Company, believes the outcome will be new and developing opportunities for the staff of both Barclays and Martins.

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1968 - An editorial Change?

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MBM Winter 67

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In Winter 1967 the staff magazine logo is, as it has been for much of the sixties, simple, clean and still indicative of the independence of the bank. The next edition of the magazine will bring complete change, along with a more subliminal conversion of the staff themselves.

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MBM Spring 68In Spring 1968 the magazine’s new logo is produced with the addition of the grasshopper, but NOT the liver bird, which has sadly been dropped from all Martins’ publications and leaflets. The subtle use of a BARCLAYS typeface heralds the intricate merger of the two banks’ cultures – whether you use a Barclaycash Machine, or do a little Martinplanning for your holiday, the logos are strikingly similar:



Martinplanning (2)

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1968 - Two sides to the story…


MBE CircHaving all but given away the full meaning of the word “merger” as it applies to Martins and Barclays, the process of takeover gets underway. The extremely helpful bank now carries an extra slogan in its leaflets and guides – “a member of the Barclays group”, and references to the merger begin to appear in Martins Bank Magazine from Autumn 1968 onwards. The magazine itself will survive until Autumn 1969, with a ‘farewell’ edition printed in place of the Winter one.  The magazine carries two articles for the benefit of staff, which attempt to show that there are to be “no secrets”, and that everyone will therefore be walking into the process with their eyes wide open… “Lifting the Veil” applauds the transparency of the issue to all staff of copies of Merger News. “Something to Add” likens any sentimentality surrounding the merger, to a mother crying on the eve of her daughter’s wedding. Sophisticated propaganda, or condescending waffle? At least our Staff are free to make up their own minds.

Lifting the veil


Bank people are secretive. They need to be: secrecy is part of a bank's’stock-in-trade. Yet how easy it is for this banking virtue to creep so unfortunately and so unnecessarily into the sphere of staff communications. Never was it more important, now that the Bank is to merge its interests with those of Barclays, that there should be frank and open exchanges of information at all levels within this Bank. Never was it more vital that the proverbial grapevine should not be allowed by needless rumour and counter-rumour to assume the proportions of an oak tree.

For these reasons we welcome wholeheartedly the Bank's’decision to introduce and circulate to every member of the staff the news-sheet, Merger News. By appearing at frequent intervals Merger News will go some way towards lifting the veil of needless secrecy and keeping the staff— and their families—informed. The complete removal of that veil remains a task calling for conscious effort by every one of us.


Something to add


Committees are sitting, pilot schemes are afoot, systems are under investigation. All reflect the loss, after 137 years, of the independence of Martins Bank. As a mother weeps at her daughter's’wedding it would be easy to shed tears at the events of recent months—until we remember not to confuse sentiment with sentimentality. After all, Martins is itself an amalgam of a dozen or more smaller banks and what we think of as the personality of Martins Bank is nothing more than a fusion of the character of each of those acquired banks.

But can we speak of a bank having character or personality? Is it not the generations of bank people, from clerks to general managers, who, through a singleness of purpose, have impressed a collective personality on their bank? And if, through their staffs, those constituent banks of Martins have added something to the combined bank, is this not the time to think what we, the staff of Martins, are capable of contributing to the Barclays Group?

Any means of getting to know our colleagues in Barclays is welcome and Barclays Bulletin, the quarterly newspaper of the Barclays Group which is now being sent to every member of our staff, is one such medium. As, however, it will be a little while before integration affects the majority of our staff Martins Bank Magazine will continue to appear throughout 1969.

Winter 1968 – Barclays Bulletin…

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News of Barclays’ newest wholly owned subsidiary is communicated to the staff of both Banks shortly after the key date of 1 November 1968 – this is when Martins Shares become officially those of Barclays. “Barclays Bulletin” provides a detailed look at what should be happening next…

Merger Plans

MARTINS Bank is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank and new Barclays' ’hares and Loan Stock have been allotted to the former shareholders of Martins under the terms of the Scheme of Arrangement for the merger of the two companies. Martins will continue to trade in its own name for the time being as a member of the Barclays Group, but in order to obtain full benefit from the merger it is planned that the two banks should become one by 1970.




This will be achieved by means of a private Act of Parliament, which it is hoped will receive Assent about the middle of next year, and become effective on or before January 1, 1970. Meanwhile several measures are being taken to help pave the way to complete integration. They include:


The appointment of two Directors from each bank to serve also on the Board of the other. Mr. W. G. Bryan and Mr. A. L. Grant will serve on the Board of Martins, and Sir Cuthbert Clegg and Mr. J. H. Keswick join the Board of Barclays.

A Co-ordinating Team has been formed consisting of three Barclays representatives, Mr. R. J. H. Gillman (Secretary) and Mr. K. A. Ebbs and Mr. J. G. Quinton (Assistant General Mana­gers), and Mr. A. K. Bromley (Assistant General Manager of Martins).

Working parties have been set up to harmonise the systems, procedures and stationery of the two banks, and alterations will be introduced gradually.

Some Head Office Depart­ments are to be brought together almost immediately.

It is planned to conduct the executor, trustee, income tax, new issue, registration and unit trust work of the combined banks through Martins Bank Trust Company Ltd., which will be renamed.

Control of some Martins branches will shortly be transferred to Barclays. A pilot scheme will begin this month in some Barclays Districts where only a few Martins branches are situated. It is hoped that the experience gained will enable the scheme to be extended throughout the rest of the country during 1969.

Eventually the pre­sent Barclays Local Head Offices, with one addition, will control all the branches of the combined bank.

A new Local Head Office will be established in Preston, con­trolling all branches in Cumberland (with the exception of Martins, Alston), Westmorland and Lanca­shire north of a line drawn south of Lytham, Leyland, Chorley, Darwen, Accrington and Burnley, and Martins, Bentham.

The Welsh branches at pre­sent under Liverpool Local Head Office will be transferred to the control of Shrewsbury L.H.O. The situation in London is still being considered and there may be minor boundary changes elsewhere, but the policy is that Martins branches will come under the Local Head Office in whose District they are situated.


Chairman's Message


Mr. John Thomson, Chairman of Barclays Bank Limited, stresses that the objective is the creation of a single, integrated organisation with equal opportunities for all. Mr. Thomson writes: “The merger of Martins with Barclays is an event of great signifi­cance in our histories and I extend a warm welcome to Martins Bank and every member of its staff on behalf of the Barclays Group. At the same time I would like to try and answer some of the questions which must be uppermost in your minds. This has been the ‘year of the merger’ for British industry, and our own merger is part of the general drive for increased efficiency through the creation of larger, more economic units. At the same time we are, in order to reap the full benefits of the merger, taking a fresh look at our organisa­tional structure.

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“Some training in different systems and routines will be necessary, but I am confident that this will not present a serious problem and that we can move smoothly towards integrated systems common to all staff. 'Obviously some of you will be wondering whether you will have to move as a result of the merger. So far as branch staff are concerned, there will be little or no change in the existing standards of mobility. In other cases moves will be kept to a minimum, and adequate notice will be given to those concerned. Finally, a word about promotion prospects. No member of the staff of either bank need feel that his or her abilities will be neglected. The two Staff Departments are now working in close liaison in order to ensure that the staff of both banks are henceforth treated as one for the purpose of promotion. There will therefore be equal opportunities for all, with a unified structure for recruitment and training. A merger inevitably means change -but there can be no progress without it. Fortunately both Barclays and Martins have similar traditions, struc­tures and philosophies and I am confident that with patience, under­standing and co-operation, the ad­justments can be achieved smoothly and painlessly”.

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June 1969 - On the books at last…

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Accounts 1969.jpg

In Barclays’ half year accounts for 1969, its subsidiaries, including Martins are listed under assets. Martins is worth a cool £56.5million, more than fifteen times the value of The British Linen Bank, and more than twice that of Barclays’ successful Dominion and Colonial arm. Acquiring Martins strengthens Barclays’ position in England and Wales, control of the British Linen Bank gives Barclays a good foothold in Scotland. Barclays also has ties with The Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland (formerly Williams and Glyn’s Bank) which will last well into the 1980s.

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Barclays Accounts 1969 (3)

1969 – Spread Eagle - End of the beginning?


Just as Martins Bank Magazine itself caters for the staff of LEWIS’S BANK, following Martins’ acquisition of their branches, Barclays’ ‘Spread Eagle’ magazine must now begin to welcome colleagues from Martins. The difference of course, is that Lewis’s Bank, whilst under the ownership of Martins always kept its name and style of operations. It is no exaggeration to state that Martins Bank Magazine has been cherished by uge numbers of the Staff of martins Bank. Born out of the Wartime Lifeline Newsletters, nothing shows better the true family spitir of the Bank. Spread Eagle is a similar publication to Martins Bank Magazine, in that it too makes the most of everyday stories about the staff of the Bank, and keeps everyone informed as the world of banking changes. Sport, amateur dramatics, fashion, the usual stuff… The Staff of Martins are introduced to Spread Eagle in a feature in the final full edition of their own Magazine in the Autumn of 1969. By this time, much of Martins has been absorbed into Barclays, all that remains is for the 700+ Branches and Subbranches of the Bank to be officially handed over on the Appointed Date, 15 December 1969. As the merger itself progresses, Barclays prints what is meant to be a reassuring customer leaflet, the slightly patronising text proclaiming that the situation is in fact simply nothing worse than “the end of the beginning”. What is abundantly obvious from the leaflet, as shown below, is that against the wishes of Martins’ Staff and customers, the name of the new bank will be Barclays and ONLY Barclays, and this is therefore, the beginning of the end…


1969 Spread Eagle July MBM-Au69P39

Barclays / Martins merger

Martins Bank joined up with Barclays last November. Since then we've been getting on with the business of integrating. A special Act of Parliament has been passed to simplify many of the details involved You'll start noticing the differences around Christmas. Martins will begin to call itself Barclays. Martins customers will become customers of Barclays. Barclays name will start replacing Martins on branches and cheque books. These are the unmistakable signs that the two great banks with their traditions of progressive thinking and personal service, are getting together to strengthen even further Barclays’ position as one of the world's leading banking groups with over 5000 branches in 50 countries. Yet December marks only the end of the beginning, the technicalities of the merger. With these out of the way. the enlarged Barclays can begin to make full use of the benefits of amalgamation. Bigger resources and wider facilities will allow us to provide a service to meet every foreseeable future need - whether it's for a multi-million-pound public company or a small private business, a surtax paying executive or a school leaver in his first Job There’s a Barclays branch near you - though it may still be called Martins. But whatever the name over the door, you’ll find the same service (and welcome) inside. Why not call in and see for yourself exactly what we’re so enthusiastic about?


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June 1969 - Game, set, and match.


Amongst the treasures inherited by Barclays, is the sub branch on the Centre Court at the All-England Tennis Club, Wimbledon, SW19. Martins advertises this special service in the official Wimbledon souvenir programme each year. The following examples show the change from 1961 to 1969 when the merger becomes part of the message…

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Wimbledon 1     Wimbledon 2

December 1969 - It’s a sign of the times…

BGA Ref 33-875 Martins TakeoverThe signs they are a changing, in what becomes a familiar ritual up and down the land, as the Eagle takes over from the Grasshopper – “Barclays Bank Limited, formerly Martins Bank Limited” signs are displayed in over seven hundred locations to announce the demise of Martins. Our picture shows the sign being hung outside our London Chief Overseas Branch, at 80 Gracechurch Street.


Martins’ glory days are fantastic. From making the outrageously bold statement of building a palatial head office completely away from London in the 1930s, to opening dozens of modern new branches finished to exacting standards and built from the most expensive materials in the 1960s, Martins has made a big splash in the ocean of banking, and all this in the days when banks, in return for responsible lending and financial management, are rewarded with the trust and loyalty of their customers.


1949 Generic Ad includes Reading Branch AddressA reputation for friendly, high quality service has attracted wealthy and/or loyal customers to the Bank from the ranks of young AND old, thanks to Martins’ constant quest to be modern whilst still managing to retain some traditional values. It comes as no surprise then, that this collection of banks, built up over 400 years is a highly desirable target for takeover or merger, and Barclays’ overtures to Martins lead to the full marriage of the two banks at the end of 1969. The changeover will need to be handled as sensitively as possible, for Martins Bank is loved both by its customers and staff, many of whom are vehemently opposed to their bank jumping into bed with a rival.


This has been a time when Martins has opened many new branches, and shown that it is in touch – not only with the youth of the day, but also with individual areas of the country and their banking needs. Its regional structure, based on local decision making and Managers who know their towns, villages and people inside out, are what we are crying out for in the twenty-first century.

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It’s not ALL doom and gloom…

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Despite the views of many that the merger is nothing more than a takeover, Martins does actually have some influence over the future of the combined business. In total Barclays will acquire just shy of 700 Branches and sub Branches. The business of Martins Bank Trust Company Limited is also a highly desirable prize, and it remains the view of many who worked for the Company, that it was Martins who effectively took over Barclays’ interests in the same field. Looking at the overall network of Branches and Departments, and in the North of England in particular, Barclays will gain dozens of Branches that are newer, larger or better placed than existing Barclays offices. A number of Barclays outlets will actually close in favour of their Martins counterpart being used. These are identified in a Merger Report issued on 15 December 1969 – the date by which the two Banks’ businesses must by law be brought fully together. We list here the details from that report, of the Barclays Branches that had to fall on their sword, either by closing altogether or by being downgraded to sub-Branch status…

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Bristol Broadmead







Kirkby Stephen

Leicester Charles Street

London Fenchurch Street Station



Ramsey Isle of Man





Wallasey New Brighton

West Kirby

Widnes Victoria Road



Newcastle upon Tyne Jesmond Road




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A good innings for Old trafford?

1922 Old Trafford Branch Exterior as L & Y Bank PA


2006 Exterior (1) flickr.com_photos_hugovk_85060358.jpg


2006 Exterior (1) flickr.com_photos_hugovk_85060358.jpg


1.     Proud and beautifully appointed: The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Branch at old Trafford, seen here in 1922, with six years still to go before it merges with Martins.


2.     In the 1960s we can only guess which famous sporting types might have been popping in to cash a cheque before taking part in a cricket or football match.


3.     Finally, in 2006 the same branch is seen empty and frozen in time. A reminder of better times, when famous sporting types popped in to Old Trafford to cash a cheque.


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1970 to 1982 - Memorabilia…



1963 Matchbook (2) PA

Martins green is replaced by Barclays blue in what is almost the last giveaway to feature the Martins grasshopper. The Barclaytrust matchbook is given away to customers of Barclays Bank Trust Company, which can now boast the expertise, products and profitability of Martins Bank’s Trustee and Income Tax offices and Martins Unicorn, the jewel in the crown of our Bank’s services to investors. This piece of treasure will pay the bills at Barclays for decades to come, and undergo several revamps and name changes before becoming the Barclays Wealth we know today…




1969 Statement HeaderThe symbol of the grasshopper, dating back to the time of Thomas Gresham in 1563 will appear on the Barclays cheques and statements of Martins customers as a kind of ‘heritage reminder’, and will remain on some Barclays stationery until 1982. The Liver Bird, will not however be seen again, even though she still symbolises the Bank that dared to be different. The images on these playing cards could well be the final assertion of the dominence of the Spread Eagle over the Grasshopper, as another of Trust Company’s giveaways is a small velvety box containing two packs. No longer afforded the protection of the majestic and mysterious Liver Bird, our Grasshopper must now roll over and accept defeat.

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All good things must come to an end…

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The doorway at King’s Lynn is slightly recessed. Consequently

the doors have remained

sheltered from the elements.

The doors might be shut forever, but the once mighty prescence of Martins is still felt all over England and Wales. At 103a High street KING’S LYNN, (2008 left) the Martins building was a chic fashion outlet. Ironically, having closed its branch there, Barclays went on to swallow up The Woolwich and acquired premises only four doors down at No 107!


At Barclays the Headrow, Leeds (2007),and Heaton Chapel (2000) below, the unmistakable coat of arms reminds everyone that this too is the home of the bank that went to extremes to be helpful…


2009 Martins Coat of Arms outside building www.yorkshiredailyphoto.com 2000 Heaton Chapel Exterior Coat of Arms

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Pictures © : www.yorkshiredailyphoto.com and Michael Alderson

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Farewell to Martins Bank Magazine…

The final edition of Martins Bank Magazine is the Winter 1969 commemorative issue, which looks back at hightlights of the twenty four years – and therefore 96 issues – of the magazine’s existence. The fawewell issue begins with this letter from Martins’ Chief General Manager…

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MBM Farewell Letter

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The song has ended, but the melody lingers on…

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Martins Operatic Society - Post Merger Productions.jpg

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The important of Martins Bank’s Operatic and Dramatic Society, and its various regional offshoots, is recognised by Barclays, and under the auspices of Barclays Bank Society of the Arts, “Martins Operatic Society” ( minus the word “BANK”) continues to stage lavish and sophisticated productions beyond the merger, until its own eventual demise in 1980. You can read muchmore about this in our SONG AND DANCE feature.

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Goodbye everybody…


1969 Final Meeting of the General Board  09DEC69


The last ever meeting of Martins Board, 9 December 1969…


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