From 1955 until the late 1980s, Finance for Farmers and Growers is a hit publication and a great legacy for Martins Bank, as it continues to be published well beyond the merger with Barclays. Each new edition is eagerly anticipated, and the key to its success is that the advertising message is subtly and almost humbly underplayed.

In fact, NO advertising is allowed within the pages of this publication, save for a small amount of generic advertising copy for the Bank itself, within or near to the inside front and back covers. 


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Issue No 1 -1955

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

The real meat of this booklet is its attention to detail - reviewing just about everything a Farmer or Grower will need to think about that will help them succeed financially.  Working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Advertising and Economic Information Department of Martins Bank is able to supply up to date details of agricultural finance available in the United Kingdom.

The effects of the latest changes in taxation and allowances are also provided, and clearly set out to help the farming community find the best and most tax efficient ways of funding their operation. 

As each edition of the booklet builds upon the last, the back copies have become a useful historical record of how agriculture in Britain is run and regulated, and with more than thirty years’ worth of Finance for Farmers and Growers to look back on, we can also trace developments innovations and changes in farming and growing methods over the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

How it all begins…


At first the booklet is called simply - Finance for Farmers - twenty pages long, and directing its readers to external sources of information that will actually, in time, become part of the booklet itself.  We can see here that from a few headings and no contents page in 1955, the guide has built year on year to a large contents menu by 1969 (by which time the booklet has also grown four times to almost eighty pages).


In 1955, rationing, which has been in place since the end of the Secon d World War, has only just been abolished, and this is a new beginning for most farmers, whose focus will now predominantly be on the supply of crops and meat for the home market, rather than having to meet the Government’s post-war commitment to feed the starving peoples of Europe. The first edition of Finance for Famers has a very long foreword, which sets the scene for the publication and its aims, and includes examples of the Bank’s advertising to farmers…

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AgricultureMaybe you are a farmer's son or daughter or an agricultural worker saving up to start on your own. Perhaps you are a smallholder, a pig breeder or a small farmer ready and able to work more acres, or a large farmer looking for more stock, a merchant, a seedsman, a machinery stockist needing finance for a growing business, or you are just “In Agriculture”. The purpose of this booklet is to put in simple terms the ways and means open to farmers to meet their financial problems in the best interest of themselves and of their great industry in general. In doing so we would emphasise that changes are constantly occurring and even in one season certain particulars may become out-of-date. The most we can do is to ensure that the information contained herein is correct at the time of going to press. Whatever your financial problem may be, we invite you to call on the manager of any one of our 600 branches. You will find him helpful and understanding.


surprising though it is, we still hear of people who keep their savings in their houses, despite the risk of loss through fire or theft. At one time it used to be the practice to stress the use of a bank for reasons of safety but with the spread of the banking habit the use of a banking account has come to be regarded as an ideal and indispensable method of dealing with business affairs by providing an orderly and systematic method of recording financial transactions.  For a farmer a banking account is essential. Into it can be paid direct, for example, the monthly sums from concerns such as the Milk Marketing Board and, of course, all cheques received from sales. From it the farmer pays his various accounts and arrangements can be made by the signing of standing instructions whereby the bank will attend to the payment of regular outgoings such as insur­ance premiums, The bank statement, which can be obtained on demand, thus forms a record of income and expenditure.

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The receipts you collect may be needed by your accountant or Income Tax adviser, but so far as you are concerned the record of the pay­ments will appear on your bank statement as evidence of payment. In addition to the account described above, which is a current or “running” account, you may like to have a certain sum readily available for emergencies which will, nevertheless, show you some interest in the same way as an investment. To do this you open a deposit account and the rate of interest and any procedure regarding withdrawal will be arranged with you at the time of deposit. A banking account is also of benefit in creating an incentive to save and special provision is made for small savings by the issue of Home Safes, which are particularly suitable as a means of developing the habit of thrift in the younger generation.


There are other useful services also available to account holders. Every branch of the' Bank has a safe or strong-room as a matter of course and customers may, if they wish, deposit their own valuables therein free of charge. We like customers to have a deed box but we can accept valuables in other properly sealed containers. Sometimes a farmer may have a transaction involving business with another country or maybe he wants to take a holiday on the Continent. The Bank can obtain foreign currency, issue Travellers' Cheques and through its Overseas branches attend to all the pro­cedure connected with foreign trade and travel. Arrangements can also be made for your cheques to be cashed anywhere in these islands where there is a bank.


Another very important service which the Bank renders is to act as Executor or Trustee. The Will or Trust Deed is drawn up by the customer's solicitor after the Bank has been told of the provisions, to make sure that they are such as can be undertaken by the Bank; no fees are payable to the Bank until after the death of the testator. The advantages over naming a friend or other private person as Executor or Trustee are that the Bank goes on year in and year out and skill, secrecy and continuity of management are ensured at very moderate cost to the estate. We have left until the last the mention of the important services a bank can render its customers by way of overdraft. In a business such as farming where so much depends upon the weather and where seasonal outgoings drain the ready cash, the time generally comes when the farmer needs financial help to tide him over these periods or to enable him to expand his operations.


MB Ad FinGrowIn view of the importance of farming to the national economy the Bank will always give full and sympathetic consideration to requests from farmers for over­drafts and will often lend without security where the circumstances warrant it. It does happen, however, that sometimes propositions are put to the Bank in which we just cannot help. For example, banks do not like their money to be locked up indefinitely and when money is lent a prime factor governing the decision will always be the method and time of repayment. 


You may have a perfectly sound proposition for the improvement of your farm, for extending your holding, increasing your stock, modernising your plant or buildings, or for some other purpose, yet after examining all the relevant factors we may feel unable to help owing to the long term prospect of the required loan. In such cases, however, it may be that some other means of obtaining the finance will appeal to you and we give in the following pages brief particulars of financial assistance available to farmers and certain other facts relating to farming finance.


Full information about financial assistance available to farmers is contained in the National Farmers' Union Guide to Prices and Services, which is supplied by the Economics Department of the Union, and in official leaflets and publications available from County Agricultural Executive Committees or from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, or from other sources indicated in the following pages which will form a useful introduction…

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A legacy of information…

Finance for Farmers and Growers becomes a mainstay of British Banking for more than thirty years…

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Getting the message across

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The Good Earth – “a bold peasantry their country’s pride…” It does sound rather like something from a Soviet era manifesto, but no, this is how Martins Bank views farming in the late 1940s - through rose-tinted, and rather bucholic spectacles!  From this time onwards however, both Martins and Barclays recognise the importance of finance for farmers and growers, and the value to the banking sector and the economy of well run farms and smallholdings.  In the 1990s Barclays will go on to create dedicated Agricultural Banking Centres where specialist staff with a knowledge of farming and growing put on their wellies and visit the customer!  We have compiled the following display of advertisements which covers more than twenty years in order to show just how the message changes with the times – from the somewhat staid, bucholic and pompous, to the more practical, hands-on approach…



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Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections and Barclays Group Archives, and with special thanks to the late Beryl Creer

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Getting the message out

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Whilst Martins Bank did not have Branches in ALL parts of the United Kingdom, it did go to extremes to be represented by its fleet of Mobile Branch caravans at Agricultural and other shows and events throughout the land. For much of the 1950s a set advertisement style was used, featuring an image of a Mobile Branch, some standard wording, and a sentence or two to personalise the advertisement for the area in which a show or event was taking place.  We have dozens of examples in the archive, and here we have attempted to display a good cross-section of advertising styles AND show/event location…

1954 – Lancaster Agricultural Show

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

1950 – Lincolnshire Agricultural Show

Image © Northcliffe Media Limited Image created courtesy of

THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD Image reproduced with kind

permission of The British Newspaper Archive


1961 – Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show

1959 – Bath and West and Southern Counties Show

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections

1956 – Royal Counties Agricultural Show

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The advertisement here for the Great Yorkshire Show is from 1932. The Bank attends this particular event every year, and by the early 1960s it is felt that a permanent sub-Branch should be built at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Opened in 1962, the GYS SUB-BRANCH is staffed by arrangement with Harrogate Branch, and operated by the Bank’s centralised SHOW AND EXHIBITION BRANCHES DEPARTMENT.

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Image © Northcliffe Media Limited Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD Images reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive