Before the creation of the modern day Martins Bank in 1928, the Bank of Liverpool and Martins has the district Head Office structure with which we are familiar, but it is arranged a little differently from the model that runs up to the 1969 Merger with Barclays. Manchester District is of course quite tiny in the years before the amalgamation with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank adds dozens of Manchester City and area offices, and it is run from the former Head Office of the Palatine Bank. There is also no district in Leeds – instead a collection of Yorkshire Branches are controlled by a Halifax District. On this page, we take a brief look at the structure of these two Districts, both of which face major reorganisation and relocation, and one of which faces a change of name …
Manchester - The District run from a Palace…
In 1919, the merger of the Palatine Bank’s Branches into the Bank of Liverpool and Martins gives the Bank its original Manchester District, with 22 Brown Street, the former Palatine Bank Head Office in charge as Manchester District Office for about nine years. Following the creation of Martins Bank Limited in 1928, the district grows several times over with the addition of well over one hundred Branches of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank. The location of that Bank’s former Head Office in Spring Gardens makes for a better placed District Office, and 22 Brown Street has to lose its status as the hub of Manchester District.
Brown Street does however remain a key Branch – it is home for a while to Manchester Foreign Branch, and right up to the 1969 Merger with Barclays, its Staff Dining Room caters for large numbers of staff in the City. Barclays soon realises the sheer cost of running this palatial building, and its days as a Bank come to an end in 1971. The Branches listings of the original 1919 Manchester District, as published in that year’s Annual Report and Accounts, provide a handy way of knowing exactly which ones came to the Bank of Liverpool and Martins as original offices of the Palatine Bank:
Extract from the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Annual Report and Accounts for 1919 © Barclays
Halifax – a district found, but lost again…
The establishment of a Halifax District in 1920 would seem to be an entirely sensible move, after all the Bank of Liverpool and Martins has just absorbed the Halifax Commercial Bank, including its former Head Office at 2 Silver Street, Halifax. At this time, the Bank has a much smaller connection with the city of Leeds. Like Manchester’s majestic Brown Street office, (but on a slightly smaller scale), Silver Street Halifax really does look the part, and easily takes on the role of the new District’s Chief Office. As the 1920s progress however, the new owners – The Bank of Liverpool and Martins – begin to have stronger ties with Leeds. Despite the misgivings of staff and management in Halifax, who had long cherished the idea of having their own District, it makes sense to create a new Leeds District. This will of course come at a price – the Bank cannot justify running two District offices so close together in control of a relatively small number of branches, and power is transferred to Leeds in 1927 when a hitherto rival Halifax Bank – the Equitable – is absorbed along with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, creating the modern day Martins Bank. 2 Silver Street remains open as a Branch of the new Bank until the Second World War, when having been mothballed in 1940, it is closed permanently from 1946. Our Thanks to Steve Gee for this image of 2 Silver Street Branch in all its glory in 1930. The Branches listing of the original 1920 Halifax District, as published in that year’s Annual Report and Accounts, shows us the offices of the Halifax Commercial Bank that were subsumed by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins:
Extract from the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Annual Report and Accounts for 1920 © Barclays