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 – email@example.com.
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…
The 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.
McKendrick making a presentation to the winners of a
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
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 . . .
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
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
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
Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Beryl
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
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
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.
Martins Bank Archive Collections – Estate of Jessie Watkinson
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
Sir Humphrey Noble and Mr Peter Wrighton enjoy a
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.
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…
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
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.