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The various dinners and dances that are held for the Staff of Martins Bank over the years, are too numerous for all of them to be featured here. We have therefore chosen to look at some of the first few Liverpool Dinners and Dances – as these were instrumental in establishing the popularity of these social occasions throughout the Bank - and then we will display menus, tickets and group photos from a selection of events held in other districts.   We are still looking for menu cards and/or tickets for dinners and dances held in the Northern, Craven and South Western Districts.  If you have one of these items and can scan it or lend it to us for scanning, please do get in touch with Martins Bank Archive at the usual address –

Best bib and tucker…

The Staff of Martins Bank works extremely hard, all year round.  Going to extremes to be helpful is a skill from which they occasionally need to unwind, and unwind they do – in style – at one or more of the many annual District Dinners and Dances held within the various districts of the Bank.  In 1947, Martins Bank establishes a Dinner and Dance Committee, composed of a cross section of Head Office Staff, to plan the first of what will become extremely popular and very well attended annual events.  The first dance in the Liverpool District is held in 1947.  Billed as “the first post-war function of a social nature for the staff” was held at the fabulous Tower Ballroom, New Brighton. Astonishingly it was attended by more than one thousand members of the staff…

1947 First Liverpool District Dance - Beryl Creer MBA1947 02.jpgThe first post-war function of a social nature for the staff of the Liverpool district took the form of a dance which was held at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, on March 11th. The number of people who attended was 1,016, and branches as far afield as Colwyn Bay, Wrexham, Chester, Southport and Ormskirk sent strong contingents. We were very pleased to have representatives from Manchester with us also. Among those present were the Chairman of the Bank, Major A. Harold Bibby, who was accompanied by his daughter, and two of the directors and their wives, Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Naylor and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar R. Bowring.

The Chief General Manager was accompanied by Mrs. McKendrick and their son and daughter, Dr. Charles McKendrick and Miss Gwenneth McKendrick. Also present were Mr. M. Conacher, Joint General Manager and Mrs. Conacher; Mr. G. O. Papworth, Assistant Manager, and Mrs. Papworth; Mr. T. A. Johnson, Liverpool District General Manager, and Mrs Johnson; Mr. H. G. Herbert, Staff Manager, and Mrs. Herbert; Mr. Frank Gray, Secretary of the Bank, and Mrs. Gray ; Mr. W. S. Roberts, manager, Trustee Department, and Mrs. Roberts; Mr. R. H. Price, Assistant Staff Manager ; Mr. R. W. G. Kilshaw, Superintendent of Branches and Mrs Kilshaw; Mr. W. H. Home, Premises manager, and Mrs. Home ; Mr. W. D. Armstrong, Liverpool City Office, and Mrs. Armstrong.

Left to Right: Dr. Charles McKendrick, Mr. J. Carter, Miss Bibby, General Manager, Miss Gwenneth McKendrick, Mrs. McKendrick, Mr. J. Hodges, Mrs. T. H. Naylor and Major A. H. Bibby, Chairman of the Bank.

Mrs. McKendrick making a presentation to the winners of a spot prize,

Mr. J. McLean (Chester Branch) and Mrs. McLean

Mr. A. J. Frost, manager, Income Tax Department, and Mrs. Frost; Mr. C. Whiteley, manager, Foreign branch, and Mrs. Whiteley; and many others. Mr. Papworth acted as Master of Ceremonies, assisted by Mr. Frost. Nearly every branch in the Liverpool district was represented at the dance and a fleet of buses by six different transport companies conveyed guests to and from their home district.  In the course of the evening the Chief General Manager spoke a few words of welcome to the guests, and during the interval a short entertainment was given by Mr. Claude Branston, the well-known B.B.C. entertainer. The event was an outstanding success, though most people found the time all too short for the reunions which were a feature of the gathering. It is hoped that a dance will become an annual function in the district now that a start has been made.


The 1947 Dinner Committee

…and now for a dance!

By the end of the 1940s the Bank reaches full steam ahead once more after the ravages of World War II in which it loses many valuable members of the staff, and loses several branches to the Luftwaffe.   The Bombing was particularly heavy in Liverpool, Manchester, London and Exeter.  In London, 32 Lowndes Street is destroyed, as are Manchester Corn Exchange and Exeter Branches. In Liverpool, South John Street is almost wiped from existence, and the Branch there, once the Head Office of the Adelphi Bank, is completely levelled, leaving only the strongroom which can be seen rising to a foot or so above ground level.   You can read much more about the Bank’s Wartime experiences in our MARTINS AT WAR feature.  After such a period of horror and destruction, having fun, letting your hair down and getting together at social events with your colleagues is very important for our staff, who take two distinct paths in the pursuit of quality leisure time. 

The 1949 Dance Committee

Dinners and Dances become an annual must, and joining one of the Bank’s operatic or dramatic societies is also a very popular move.  (See SONG AND DANCE).   The 1949 Dance Committee meets throughout the year to plan for that year’s dance, which will be held on 6 December.  Although it was always going to be hard to match the figure of one thousand and sixteen staff members who attended the first post-war dance in 1947, the 1949 dance – with almost three hundred participants, is appreciated as a complete success, as Martins Bank magazine notes in its Spring 1950 edition . . .

THE dance held at Reece’s, Parker Street, Liverpool, on December 6th was generally considered to be one of the best yet held. About 280 people were present and the Committee were glad to welcome Mr. and Mrs. McKendrick, Mr. and Mrs. Verity, Mr. and Mrs. Conacher and their daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Tunnington and Mr. and Mrs. Roberts among others. It was also nice to have a representation from the Welsh Coast branches. A spirit of festivity was in the air, materially assisted by the decorations, the Christmas tree and the balloons, and the extension until 1 a.m. proved highly popular. The Chairman of the Committee was R. Crossley. Nancy Raven was the Secretary and Eric Crawford acted as Master of Ceremonies. To them and to the Committee congratulations and thanks are due for their work in organising this most happy and successful function.

“Crossing the line” during the elimination quick step.

A supper-time group


The Débutante…

1950 Third Liverpool District Dinner - Beryl Creer MBA.jpgBy 1950, both organising committee and attendees had certainly “got the hang” of these new and wonderful events, which were staged to such a large scale, and were looked forward to all year round.  Other districts followed Liverpool’s lead, and it was not long before dance halls and banqueting suites were being booked in other towns and cities in England, for the many local members of the Staff of Martins Bank to let down their hair and chat with friends old and new.  The District Dinners and Dances certainly did much to cement the camaraderie of staff, many of whom had returned from war and needed a large dose of normality in their lives. This, according to the memories of many of those who were there, gave that very special feeling of working both for the Bank AND a large and happy family.  The pay was not great, sex and marital discrimination rife (as in most British workplaces at this time), but being part of the Martins “family” was worth a lot. The 1950 Dinner was announced by its menu card as “The Débutante”, and the following enthusiastic write up comes from martins Bank Magazine’s Spring issue . . .

THE best of the three! The party spirit was there from the commencement; the girls responded to this first invitation they have received to join in what has hitherto been regarded as an exclusively male function by turning up in very good numbers; and informality and happy laughter characterised the function throughout. We are sorry that illness prevented Mr. Verity from being with us, for as Mr. Johnson said in his opening remarks the occasion was an historic one, not only on account of the presence for the first time of the ladies but also for the presence at such a function for the first time in the history of the Bank of the District General Managers from every District, and all the Joint General Managers.


The tables were artistically decorated with cut-out figures symbolising the debutantes of 1950 and the presence of the ladies was further apotheosized on the cover design of the menu card—Miss Snape's particular contribution to the preparations beforehand. The toast to “The Bank” was ably and concisely proposed by Mr. J. R. Whittle, M.C. who said that our progress had been built on one thing above all others, the service we give to our customers, and that this depended upon the Staff: Bank and Staff being synonymous words in this connection. To Mr. Tunnington fell the difficult task of not only making his maiden speech at such a function but also of having such a galaxy of notabilities to speak about.

His speech was a good speech, well delivered, with the right amount of humour, and characterised throughout by his well-known sincerity. He painted a little word picture about each guest in turn, with a flash of humour added for good measure. He startled everyone by addressing Mr. Denman in the latter's native Welsh; commented upon Mr. Tarn's cosmopolitan habits which, so far, had stopped short of Leeds; expressed the warmth and friendliness of our welcome to Mr. Dresser on the occasion of his first official visit to Liverpool as North-Eastern District General Manager; commented upon the fact that it was the first time an invitation had been extended to a “displaced person” (Mr. Maxwell does not take up his duties at Manchester until April 1st) to attend our dinner; and referred to Mr. Samuel's work for the Bank in the Leeds District and to his interest in social welfare and a Boy's Club; concluding by referring to the presence as guests representing the pensioners of Mr. Frank Grant and Miss Lindsay Maxwell. He then paid a very warm tribute to Mr. McKendrick, the Guest of Honour, who, he said, “combined a high degree of personal integrity with an inverse ratio of self-interest”. He went on to refer to him as being “blessed with that greatest possession—an exceptionally happy and Christian family life: a ripe scholar of English literature and full of worldly wisdom, spending his brief leisure like that famous war-time leader in painting in water colour and oils”.

Fond memories . . .

Before we move on to dinners and dances held in other districts of the Bank, we end our look at Liverpool with this selection of menu/invitation cards…



Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Beryl Creer


The 1952 Staff Dance ticket seems irresistible – who wouldn’t want to dance along to Gerry Barber and his orchestra(!) Now – and in no particular order – our “lucky dip” of district Dinners and Dances gives a good representation of the popularity of such events held by the Staff of Martins Bank down the years…

The Grasshopper at the Grosvenor . . .

There is a plentiful supply of menus in the Archive, for the London District Dinners. They range (almost without gaps in date order) from 1950 to 1969. Here, we have chosen the last Dinner to have been held before the merger process with Barclays had fully begun. In the 1950s, London Dinners were held at the prestigious Savoy Hotel.  By the mid sixties, the venue has changed to the equally expensive Grosvenor hotel.  Here’s a taste of the menu, along with a cartoon specially drawn for this event, AND a write up from Martins Bank Magazine, which was published in the Spring 1969 issue…

The London District Dinner on November 20 was well attended, well organised and well... as this was to be the last under the name of  Martins the affair certainly went with a bang and not a whimper. There was a warm welcome from the District General Manager, Mr Turnbull, for the 1,330 members of the staff present at Grosvenor House, including guest of honour Mr J. H. Keswick, Chairman of the London District Board. The other guests included Messrs D. O. Maxwell, A. K. Bromley, D. W. Hall, I. Buchanan and G. E. Clarkson; Monsieur F. Garelli, our Continental representative; Messrs F. Voyce, J. A. Banks, E. H. Denman, F. L. Flanagan and R. S. Lucock repre­senting the pensioners; senior mem­bers of the Trust Company and members of the London Board.

The toast to the Bank and the guests was in the capable hands of Mr G. Milne (Manager, St James's Street). Having been on the staff of the British Mutual Bank at the time of its acquisition by Martins Mr Milne felt qualified to comment— with much wit—on take-overs in general and the Barclays-Martins fusion in particular. Mr Keswick's friendly and humo­rous response included the secret of success in banking. His story con­cerned a certain chief clerk who kept a locked drawer, opening it only once a day, on his arrival. The day after he retired his colleagues searched the drawer and found only a scrap of paper bearing the magic words: 'Credit to the right, debit to the left'. The formal proceedings ended with Mr Turnbull’s thanks to Mr Peters and his committee for the excellent arrangements. Then came the opportunity to renew old friend­ships and to enjoy dancing to Sydney Lipton and his band.

Report and Cartoon by P Searle (Exeter Branch)

Attendance: 100 – (including a dozen of the ladies) . . .

Menus and tickets for staff dinners and dances in the Craven District, are notable by their complete absence from the Archive.  Craven is possibly the most individual of the Bank’s districts, and perhaps by not having its own district office, everything from both sides of the bank counter seems to have been that little bit more personal. Staff here were “going to extremes to be helpful” long before Martins chose that particular mantra for itself in the 1960s! Craven Branches are found both in Yorkshire and Lancashire, yet the bulk of them come from the Craven Bank itself, absorbed by the Bank of Liverpool in 1906. From 1928, most of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank branches in the area became part of Martins’ Manchester District.  The following write up is from Martins Bank Magazine’s Summer 1957 Issue, and covers in great detail, the Craven District dinner held at Clitheroe on 16 March 1957 . . .

THE annual dinner for the staff of the Craven District was held this year at the Starkie Arms Hotel, Clitheroe. Although the social amenities here are somewhat crowded, those connoisseurs of good food, our Craven District colleagues, are quite justified in their claim that the cuisine at the Starkie Arms is just the thing for the tired and strained Liverpool colleagues who are their annual guests!

So far as the writer is concerned, being now too old to care overmuch about excellent food, he gets his rest and relaxation from meeting his “country” colleagues, wherever the venue!

Owing to the petrol shortage it was arranged that the Head Office guests would go by coach and the resulting 40-seater enabled each of the thirteen travellers to feel that neither his comfort nor his dignity had been outraged by this somewhat trippery mode of travel. Even so, one or two preferred to sit together, but the occasional roars of laughter which proceeded from these spots in the vehicle did not disturb the sleepers unduly and there was never any danger of the cargo being mistaken for supporters returning from some sporting event.   The Chair was taken by Mr. J. A. Banks as District General Manager and the Guest of Honour was Mr. D. O. Maxwell, Joint General Manager.

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections – Estate of Jessie Watkinson


In his opening remarks Mr. Banks made special reference to the presence of three pensioners of the District, Mr. W. B. Carson, Mr. Bertie E. Jones and Mr. B. Kershaw. The toast of “The Bank” was proposed by Mr. J. R. Hardcastle, Manager, Guiseley, in a speech which might be summed up as an expression of gratitude. He bid his listeners remember their debt to the past, thanked our directors for the work they are doing and reminded us of the asset which does not appear on the balance sheet—an efficient staff working together in a spirit of good fellowship which reaches across our counters to our customers. “Martins Bank is as good as its staff”, he declared. The toast of “Our Guests” was proposed by Mr. J. N. Slater, Colne branch. After making special reference to the “new boys” at the dinner, Mr. T. I. Bond, Chief Accountant, and Mr. G. E. Clarkson, Liverpool Superintendent of Branches, Mr. Slater concentrated on the regulars and managed to find something humorous to say at the expense of each of them. Very cleverly he did it, too—more by inference than downright statement. Thus, of the Staff Manager, Mr. R. H. Price, he said: “There is nothing fresh we can say about him: everything possible has been said, in public or in private”. Mr. Slater made special reference to Mr. Carter, who was making his last appearance in the Craven District as Chief Inspector before his retirement, and his appreciative references were warmly applauded. He also referred in warm terms to the work of Mr. J. E. Deyes, Secretary of the Bank, in piloting through so skilfully the Capital reorganisation scheme.

The other guests were Mr. H. C. S. Whalley, Trustee Manager; Mr. W. Weatherill, Liverpool Assistant District Manager; Mr. A. R. W. Wetherell, Manager of Liverpool Overseas branch; Mr. A. T. Foulkes and the Editor. The response to both toasts was made by Mr. Maxwell. He began by urging us all to take a good look at ourselves, and to try to see ourselves as others see us, as he felt that the Bank would benefit if we were to have an occasional personal stocktaking. He then listed seventeen qualities which, according to a Stationery Office publication, were desirable assets for a bank employee to possess. We received the impression that they were desirable attributes for anyone to have, never mind a bank clerk! Mr. Maxwell then went on to remind us of the popular sayings about our profession—that a bank manager is an individual who lends you his umbrella when it is fine and wants it back when it starts to rain, and the one about the glass eye worn by one bank manager being the more sympathetic of the two. He went on to compliment the Craven District for providing their fair share of men fit to carry responsibility, reminding them that the District had already produced one Chief General Manager. He advised young men always to be prepared to move when the opportunity presented itself, reminding them that “promotion” is two-thirds “motion”, Mr. Maxwell concluded his speech with a warm personal reference to Mr. Charles Carter: “He has found it possible to combine authority with real friendliness”, he said, “and has set an example to all of us by his integrity and gentleness of manner”. 

Mr. E. C. Ellison, Assistant Manager at Skipton, proposed the toast of “The Ladies”, and expressed the thanks of all of us for what they do to make our lives a little more colourful. Miss Ursula M. Stansfield, of Colne branch, responded on behalf of the ladies of the District. “I hope that in all due modesty we may accept your complimentary references as justifiable”, she said, and went on to inform her listeners that the girls like to be appreciated for themselves as well as for their work. We think they need have no worries on that score. During the evening we were entertained with a song by Miss K. M. Ingham, Padiham branch, and Mr. A. Barrett, Manager at Padiham, entertained us on the piano. Thanks to Mr. Banks for his services as Chairman were expressed by Mr. Earnshaw and Mr. Banks thanked the Dinner Committee for all their work. The number attending the Dinner on this occasion was exactly 100, including about a dozen of the ladies.


Key of the door…

The Midland District of the Bank stages twenty-one annual dinners before the merger with Barclays is complete.  The 1969 menu represents the twenty-first anniversary of the event through the illustration of twenty-one five pence coins, the last one bearing an image of Martins Bank’s Grasshopper.  The five pence piece was put into circulation in 1968, three years before the UK currency changed completely to a decimal system. At the time of the menu, shillings and five pence pieces were interchangeable and were circulated together. This somewhat optimistic embrace of the future is spoiled by the fact that most of Martins Branches in Birmingham would be closed at or shortly after the merger date of 15 December 1969…









The 1965 Midland District dinner is held at Birmingham’s Grand Hotel, and we have chosen to feature this particular event for the expression of two attitudes of that particular time, made in a speech to the diners and guests by Colonel P H Jones, who was then the Chairman of Martins Bank’s Midland District.   He talks – to a somewhat jingoistic degree – about the “expansionist policy” of the Bank, and he goes on to set out the “choices” to be had by the female staff of the Bank – to have a career OR a marriage – but not both . . .

Among those present at the annual dinner on February 27th at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, were all the Directors of the Midland District Board and in welcoming them Mr W. E. Turnbull (District General Manager) said how pleased he was to see Mr J. F. Mallabar, f.c.a., present for the first time. In addition to the Guest of Honour, Mr J. A. Banks (Joint General Manager), Mr Turnbull made individual references to the other guests, Mr T. I. Bond, Mr A. R. W. Wetherell, Mr J. L. Shenton, Mr S. Gee, Mr D. W. Hall, the Editor and Mr J. H. Pickering who received special mention on the eve of his retirement and to whom Mr Turnbull expressed gratitude for his helpfulness in staff matters over many years.

Once again, said Mr Turnbull, the District had achieved an all-time record, not only with an attendance of 305 but in the branch figures for the past year. He thanked officials, managers and staff most warmly for their results and their unflagging efforts. Colonel P. H. Jones, m.c., t.d., d.l., as Chairman of the Midland District Board, proposed the toast to the Bank mentioning at the outset, as Mr Turnbull had done, the sad loss which the District had suffered through the death of Sir Wilfrid Martineau. Pointing out that all District General Managers at Birmingham had received further promotion he stressed that while ability, enthusiasm, perception and techni­cal knowledge were clearly essential, so also was physical fitness, the lack of which could easily jeopardise success.



For the benefit of the younger members present Colonel Jones then outlined his own career from which it became clear that application to one's work, qualifications, wide interests, the ability to make friends and the deter­mination to mix with and understand all sorts of people, are far more important to success than 'connections' or 'influence'. Praising the expansionist policy of the Bank he criticised those who thought it fashionable to decry their country and its efforts, thus giving an impression of national inferiority which delighted our competitors.

Finally, Colonel Jones paid tribute to the ladies many of whom could obtain promotion but most of whom preferred marriage. Mr J. A. Banks, responding to the toast, spoke of the problems peculiar to the younger Districts where business must be sought on strange ground and he outlined not only the approach but the ways in which customers could be made happy to come into the Bank. His speech revealed a real awareness in Head Office of the problems and difficulties affecting the Districts and branches and he concluded with some advice on today's security problems.  After Mr Turnbull had complimented and thanked Mr John Willis and the dinner committee for their excellent arrangements, informal dancing occupied the remainder of the evening.

In ever greater numbers, they came . . .











We must thank Martins Staff Member and Friend of the Archive Brian Harfield, for supplying us with menus and photographs from various Manchester District Dinners of the 1960s.  The photographs give an excellent indication of how popular these events were, featuring row upon row of diners sitting at packed tables.  Left we see the table for the Staff of Swinton Branch at the 1961 dinner held at Manchester’s Grand Hotel.

Below left we see diners seated at the Brown Street Branch table of the 1963 Dinner held 12 November at the Cumberland Suite, Belle Vue, Manchester. This was the seventeenth Manchester dinner and for the first time in many years, the guests (some 660 of them) were seated in one giant room! 

Below right is the Brown Street Branch table for the dinner held in 1966 at the same venue. This time however, the number of diners is even greater – some EIGHT HUNDRED staff members in attendance! The Guest of Honour is the Chief General Manager of Martins Bank, Mr D O Maxwell.



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Best of three . . .

The third dinner to be held for the Staff of the Northern District of the Bank, is held at the Windermere Hydro Hotel on 1 April 1950. It is seen as the best so far. The attendance of one hundred and forty people might not seem so large when we consider the numbers taking part in the other districts of the Bank. We must however remember, that Northern District covers a large but relatively sparsely populated area of North West England, from Westmorland up to the Scottish Border. This particular dinner is notable for the invitation as guests of honour of Mr C J Verity, who has just been promoted to Chief General manager, and Mr Mungo Conacher who has just been appointed as Mr Verity’s deputy. Seventy years on from this dinner, there is one remark, made in a speech by the Manager of Barrow in Furness Branch which really stands out – “Provided we play the game, from the age of 16 or 17 the Bank provides for us for the rest of our lives.” The notion of a job for life seems like something from another age altogether, although even at the start of the 2020s, many bank staff were coming up for retirement having served anything up to forty-five years or more…

TAKING a leaf out of the book of the Midland District the Northerners this year commenced their annual gathering at tea-time and wherever it is possible to do this there is no doubt about the great additional amount of pleasure which the arrangement brings.   The party spirit has time to develop and  people have time to renew friendships and to make new ones in the pleasantest possible of atmospheres,—afternoon tea in England. The Windermere Hydro was again the setting for this gathering on the first day of April and although a storm developed towards evening and road conditions became bad there was a record attendance of about 140, though a slight falling off in numbers amongst the girls.

The occasion was a notable one in that it was the first social function to be attended by our new Chief General Manager, Mr. C. J. Verity, and his Deputy, Mr. Conacher.  Other Head Office officials included Mr. Johnson, Mr. Price, Mr. Dew, Mr. Laidlaw and Mr. Winnard, while Mr. Myles Kenyon represented the Directors of the General Board. In his opening remarks as Chairman Mr. Johnson, on behalf of all present, extended a special welcome to Mr. Verity and Mr. Conacher and voiced the pleasure of all at the presence of Mr. Myles Kenyon and the three representatives of the pensioners, Mr. Holliday, Mr. Addison and Mr. Read. The toast of “The Bank” was proposed by Mr. E. W. Wilkinson, Manager of Barrow-in-Furness branch. The Bank is, he said, our past, our present and our future.  Provided we play the game, from the age of 16 or 17 the Bank provides for us for the rest of our lives.  In responding, Mr. Verity first of all referred to Mr. McKendrick, so recently gone from our midst. He said “I count it as one of the great privileges of my life to have served him and it will be my object to emulate him”.  He reminded us that what counts is not so much what we achieve as how we play the game. So far as the immediate future is concerned he assured us that with a Yorkshireman in charge, with a Scotsman to assist him and with a Welshman in support in London the Bank was in good fettle!

Mr. R. Nicholson, Manager of Bowness branch, then proposed the toast of " Our Guests," mentioning each by name with a special reference to the presence on their first day of office of Mr. Verity and Mr. Conacher, and to the presence for the second time of Mr. Myles Kenyon. Mr. Conacher replied for the guests and assured his listeners that he and Mr. Verity would do their utmost to serve the Bank and look after the interests of the staff. He referred to the initiative shown by Mr. McKendrick in promoting these gatherings and said that under Mr. Verity's leadership the good work would be continued. He also spoke appreciatively of the work of the Chairman and members of the Dinner Committee in arranging such a happy function.

Mr. Myles Kenyon was not down to speak but he is too good a raconteur for the Chairman to allow such an opportunity to slip and he came up to scratch magnificently. He began, however, in serious vein by telling us of his work with Mr. Verity in Manchester and of his conviction as to the wisdom of the appointment. " I shall back you to the utmost " he assured Mr. Verity. The toast to “The Ladies” was proposed by Mr. Price, who declared that though he might be ignorant of femininity, he had a good deal of knowledge of the contribution the ladies make to the life of the Bank. They bring keenness, ability and intelligence to their duties and the percentage of ladies of the total staff was a reflection of the confidence felt in them by the General Management.  Miss Joyce E. Jopson replied to this toast and in roguish vein reminded Mr. Johnson of his remarks of the previous year when he had called them the sweets of the earth, qualifying the compliment by a reference to the presence among them of some humbugs. The piquancy of the flavour of her speech had lost nothing by virtue of the fact that she had had to wait a year to deliver it. A vote of thanks to the Chairman was proposed by Mr. J. G. Young, Manager of Kirkby Stephen branch, and in responding Mr. Johnson thanked the Dinner Committee for their labours. During the course of the evening Miss Todhunter (Carlisle), Mr. G. M. Park (Dalton), Mr. F. Smith (Kendal) and Mr. R. Nicholson (Bowness) rendered songs; Mr. H. F. Earnshaw (Kendal) gave a pianoforte recital and Mr. B. Tyson (Ambleside) gave a humorous recitation. In our opinion, the occasion was, as a result of the improvements introduced, definitely the best of the three so far held.

The old man of Threadneedle Street?

The Leeds District Dinners were only started in 1950, and here we visit the second dinner, which was held on 31 March 1951 at the hotel Metropole in Leeds. Men of the 1950s, prepare yourselves for a shock – women are just as clever as you are, in fact many would say much MORE clever, so look out for Miss M R Wright of Shipley Branch, whose after dinner speech dazzled those assembled with its display of eloquence, and its warning that women are just as influential in the world of banking as men!

THE second post-war District Dinner to be held in the Leeds District took place at the Hotel Metropole, Leeds, on March 31st. There was an attendance of 165, including guests, and this number also included 41 ladies to whom an invitation was extended for the first time.  We were delighted to have with us Colonel James Walker, Chairman of the Leeds Board, Major D. H. C. Briggs and Air Vice-Marshal G. H. Ambler. Members of the Board who sent apologies for absence were Mr. Herbert Holt and Mr. W. Turner.  The Guest of Honour was Mr. Conacher, our Deputy Chief General Manager; and the other guests were Mr. Tarn, Mr. Denman, Mr. Dresser, Mr. Price and Mr. Home, while apologies for absence were received from Mr. Verity, Mr. Birse, who was entertaining visiting Continental bankers, and Mr. T. A. Johnson.  After Mr. Samuel who, as District General Manager, was in the Chair, had made his opening remarks and formally welcomed the guests, he called upon Mr. L. H. Heaton (Manager, Leeds City Office) to propose the toast of “The Bank”.

Mr. Heaton said that when thinking about the Bank his mind was filled with thoughts of pride and of gratitude for the excellent conditions of service we enjoy, for the wonderful spirit which prevails and for the good comrades encountered and the lifelong friendships formed. Mr. Conacher replied to this toast and commenced by paying a tribute to the spirit in the Leeds District, a spirit which stands no higher in any other district of the Bank. He then made a very warmly received reference to the presence of Colonel Walker and went on to express his pleasure at the presence of the ladies. He referred to the absence of our Chief General Manager, who was in Australia, and to its significance from the point of view of the Leeds District which is so largely preoccupied with the woollen trade.  He made a pleasant reference to the value of the connection received through the acquisition of the British Mutual Bank and his remarks to those present about the field of opportunity opening out for promising young men through the expansion of the Bank was most heartening. The list of places in which the Bank intends to commence business proved as intriguing as it was attractive and the decision to open in the Channel Islands is a bold one.

The toast of “Our Guests” was proposed in light-hearted and humorous vein by Mr. E. C. Beardwood (Sub Manager, Bradford) who brought roars of laughter from his listeners by his references to the little “peculiarities” and “weaknesses” of the guests.  Mr. Tarn responded and in referring to the traditional Yorkshire hospitality which had been dispensed that evening said how glad he was to meet socially the members of the Staff of the Leeds District and to know something of them personally.  To Mr. Price fell the task of proposing the toast to the ladies, a task which he performed in his usual acceptable mann&r with a mixture of kindly wit and wisdom. He revealed that there is a larger proportion of ladies in the Leeds District than in any other district of the Bank.  The theory of the supremacy of the male at formal speech making was seriously challenged by Miss Horsburgh at the Liverpool Dinner, but it was knocked for six at Leeds.  Miss M. R. Wright in reply to Mr. Price, made a speech which should make the Leeds District and Shipley branch in particular feel very proud of her.  After a dazzling display of eloquence she completely stumped her listeners, who had been informed of the comparatively recent advent of ladies into banks, by affirming that they had always exerted a controlling influence and she followed her statement up by asking whether anyone had ever heard of “The Old Man of Threadneedle Street”. She concluded by claiming, amid applause, that the ladies play a not unimportant part in keeping the wheels of commerce turning.  Colonel Walker was then prevailed upon to make a few remarks and, in drawing attention to the fact that the emphasis in the speeches had tended to be on the future, reminded his listeners that we have not only a future but also a great past in which we have all played our part in making the Bank as we know it today. Mr. Samuel brought the proceedings to a conclusion by expressing on behalf of all those present thanks to the Committee for the excellence of the arrangements and for all the hard work they had put in to make the evening the success it undoubtedly was. The members of the committee were Miss M. Crossley (Halifax), Mr. N. L. Jackson (Shipley), Mr. A. Mitchell (Pro Manager, Bradford), Mr. H. T. Bartrop (Sub Manager, Leeds City Office) and Mr, E, J. Winnard (Inspector, Leeds District Office).


A dinner AND a dance!

Things suddenly seem to be a little more “stiff and starchy” in this review of the North Eastern District Dinner, which was held at the Royal Station Hotel Newcastle, on 8 December 1951.  We have THREE photos, but not one of them shows the smiling faces of the two hundred and six assembled guests. This is, after all a dinner held for the MALE staff of North Eastern District, and we see a kind of “who’s who” of the top brass of the district!  In our second article, things seem a little more relaxed, as we see a small group of staff at the North Eastern District Annual Dance, held on 23 January 1952 at the Gordon Hotel Newcastle upon Tyne…


The annual dinner for the male members of the staff of the North-Eastern District was held on Saturday, December 8th, at the Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, and was attended by 206 people. We were very pleased indeed to have with us Sir William Gray, Sir Humphrey B. Noble, Mr. P. H. Muirhead and Mr. Peter Wrightson, and hope that we shall see them each year in future. The support of the presence of the members of the local Board is a friendly gesture of interest which we all very much appreciate.

Left to Right: Mr Naisbitt, Mr Maxwell, Mr Dresser, Sir Humphrey Noble, Mr P Wrightson,

Mr Banks and Mr Jobling.  Seated: Sir William Gray, Mr A H Bibby, and Mr Verity.




Apologies for absence were received from Mr. G. Stirling Newall and Mr. Conacher, and there were greetings, telegrams and expressions of regret for absence from Mr. Tarn, Mr. Laidlaw and a number of other managers, former old boys of the district.The Guest of Honour was Mr. A. Harold Bibby, Chairman of the Bank, and the other guests were Mr. Verity, Mr. Price, Mr Maxwell, Mr. Banks and Mr. Naisbitt. Mr. Dresser presided, and, after welcoming all the guests with kindly references to the accomplishments of each, called upon Mr. S. A. Elton, Manager of Darlington branch, to propose the toast of “The Bank”.


Mr Bibby shares a joke with

Mr E G Lowery and Mr W S Blaylock


“In toasting the Bank”, he said, “we are really toasting ourselves, for its prosperity depends upon us”.  The Chairman of the Bank responded and, referring to the growth and progress of our Institution, expressed the opinion that the manner in which the many constituent parts have been welded into one harmonious whole,  a task accomplished without losing the individual character of the various components, was a matter of congratulation to all concerned.   He also paid a warm tribute to the part played by the North Eastern district in the management and direction of the  Bank.

Sir Humphrey Noble and Mr Peter Wrighton enjoy a story.


The toast to the guests was proposed by Mr. G. G. Whittingham, Manager of Gateshead branch, in a speech which was commented upon by Mr. Verity, who responded, as being one of the wittiest speeches he had heard for many a day.  The keynote of Mr. Verity's remarks was “enthusiasm”.  “The man of second-rate ability with enthusiasm”, he said, “often outstrips the man of first-rate ability with less enthusiasm”.  Mr. Maxwell was prevailed upon to make a few remarks and the proceedings concluded with a few words of thanks to Mr. Dresser for presiding, voiced by Mr. W. McCullagh, of Whitley Bay branch.

After the progress made by Miss M R Wright of Shipley Branch, who at the Leeds Dinner we visited above spoke so eloquently of the value of women in banking, it is perhaps more than annoying to see that at the all male Dinner in Newcastle, the men were so quick to congratulate themselves for the prosperity and progress of the Bank!  Next – and with a photo describing what the writer of the article percieves as a “happy group” – we journey to Newcastle’s Gordon Hotel, where almost seven weeks after the dinner, the North eastern District’s annual dance is held. Everyone looks as if they’d rather be somewhere else, but at least we have evidence that some of the women of the district were allowed out for the night…


“The best yet” – was the verdict of one enthusiast on the Staff Dance held in the Gordon Hotel on January 23rd. There were 150 guests.  We were delighted to see Sir Humphrey Noble and his son Lieut. Marc Noble, whilst regretting that indisposition prevented Lady Noble from attending.  Also, among the guests were Mr. J. A. Banks, Liverpool District General Manager, and Mrs. Banks, and Colonel C. J. Fisher, Agent of the Bank of England, Newcastle, and Mrs. Fisher. Great credit is again due to the committee for a highly successful function.

A happy group, including Mr Dresser and Sir Humphrey Noble,

at the annual dance held at the Gordon Hotel on 23 January.


…and finally, a dinner FOLLOWED BY a dance!

Martins Bank has been opening branches throughout the South West of England since it all began with Bristol in the 1930s. A South Western DISTRICT is, however not so forthcoming, being finally established and given a district office and staff in 1960. The Dinner and Dance described below is billed as the FIRST South Western District Dinner, although it is actually the EIGHTH to have taken place in the area since 1953! The new district takes in the English counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire,and the Welsh counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. The District Office is situated in Corn Street, Bristol, a City which by 1969 boasts EIGHT branches of Martins Bank. Prior to the establishment of the District in 1960, the south Western Branches were under the care of Liverpool District Office. Once up and running,south Western district takes on the business of four Branches that were previously part of Midland District. Despite this being the first official South Western Dinner, even though it also has its own dance, no photographic record is published with the write up of the event published in Martins Bank Magazine. We have therefore added a couple of images of South Western District Office…

The gathering which assembled at the Imperial Hotel, Exeter, on Saturday, November 19th was unique, for although many of the same people have assembled at the same place in previous years for the same purpose this was the first staff dinner to be held since the South Western Area became the South Western District. To mark the occasion the Chief General Manager, Mr. M. Conacher, came as the Guest of Honour, Mr. G. E. McWatters was there as Chairman of the South Western Board of Directors, and the other guests were Mr. L. J. Walton, North Eastern District General Manager; Mr. J. E. Deyes, Secretary of the Bank; Mr. J. L. Shenton, Super­intendent of Branches (Staff); Mr. J. H. Pickering, Staff Manager; Mr. S. Gee, Premises Manager, and the Editor. Of the total staff of the branches in the new District, there was an attendance of 175 out of 207, including 50 of the ladies—a wonderful response in view of the widely scattered branches, from Swansea to Truro. Mentioning these facts in his opening remarks, Mr. G. E. Clarkson, who presided as District General Manager, also mentioned the four “takeover” branches now in his District,—Gloucester, Hereford, Cheltenham and Salisbury, whose representatives we were all so pleased to see.

The toast of “The Bank and the Guest of Honour” was proposed by Mr. J. Abbott (Manager, Newport) who commenced his speech with appreciative references to Mr. A. W. Thompson (Manager, Bristol), who had so ably organised the dinner; to Mr. Clarkson, whom he mentioned as untiring in getting to know his branches; and to Mr. Brewis, whom he described as the proverbial bachelor who gathers no boss. The main theme of his speech, however, dealt with banking leadership and its essential qualities—integrity, knowledge, imagination, initiative, hard work, resolution and perseverance. He concluded with a reference to Mr. McWatters, who, he said, has already won a place in our hearts. In his reply the Chief General Manager ranged over a wide field, covering internal affairs and the progress of the Bank, and, finally, his recent world tour.

Speaking of the South Western District, he mentioned that Mr. McWatters had visited every branch twice since the District formed and had met most of the members of the staff. He had also visited a number of American banks on behalf of the Bank during his recent visit to the United States, and he knew that his enthusiasm would be a source of great encouragement to Mr. Clarkson and his colleagues. He then referred with regret to the untimely death of Viscount Cilcennin. Speaking of the progress of branches in the District he assured his listeners that he got as big a thrill out of their successes as did the managers themselves, but he emphasized that management always had been and will be the biggest problem of the Bank, which cannot be run successfully by second rate individuals. He referred to the work of the girls of the Bank and mentioned the recent first peace time Board appointment of a girl to be head of an important department, stating that others would follow. He then gave his listeners some insight into the organisation of a world tour and of the purpose of these overseas tours, stressing how vital it is to maintain contacts, as we are constantly seeking to improve our overseas business. His short account of his recent tour was of absorbing interest, most graphic in its detail.

The toast of "The Ladies" was proposed by Mr. D. E. Brewis, Superintendent of Branches, South Western District, who after declaring his belief in the theory of the superiority of women, traced back with minute care the origin of this theory. He finished up in the Garden of Eden, rather cleverly proving that the exact opposite was the case, a difficult thesis to expound without offence, but admirably and successfully done. Miss D. E. Holter (Torquay) responded and, while agreeing with his remarks observed that the girls felt that the male members of the staff recognise them as workmates now and not as play­mates in the office. Confessing her diffidence at making her first public speech she said she had read that the vocabulary of the average female is only 500 words, but, although this might be a small capital, it is the turnover that really counts. A very good maiden speech. Mr. A. W. Thompson thanked Mr. Clarkson for his services as Chairman and after Mr. Clarkson had responded, the formal proceedings were concluded. Dancing then followed until midnight and it was undoubtedly one of the happiest bank functions yet to be held in any District.

That concludes our tour of some of the Dinners and Dances held by the various districts of Martins Bank, and if you can help fill the gaps in our Archive with images of menus, tickets, memories or photographs from a Martins Bank Dinner or Dance event, please do get in touch with us at the usual address –

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