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Martins Bank 1928+

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Sur le continent…

Many banks have overseas offices that offer a variety of services. Whilst Martins  never offers Branch banking abroad, they do have an ofice in Paris which is responsible for a number of information gathering functions that are useful to the Bank’s UK operations. 


In Service: 1920s until 1969


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Extracts from Martins Bank’s Annual Report and Accounts  for 1930, 1948 and 1963 © Barclays

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Martins Bank’s Paris Office features four times in Martins Bank Magazine:  In 1947 the Bank’s Paris representative, Mr H de Boehtlingk retires.  In 1950 Miss Betty Jackson from the Bank’s Editorial and Advertising Department writes about the day she visited the Paris Office, and met the staff.  Finally in 1962 we read about the retirement of Mr H de Boehtlingk’s successor Monsieur Hammerli, and about his replacement, Monsieur Francois Garelli.

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1947 04 MBM.jpg1947 Monsieur M H de Boehtlingk Paris Representative Retired June 47  MBM-Wi47P12.jpgIt has been the policy of our bank not to maintain branches abroad, but for many years we have had a Continental Representative with an office in Paris. This post has been filled for over twenty years by Mr. H. de Boehtlingk, who retired on the 30th June, 1947, being succeeded by Mr. Richard Haemmerli. Mr. Haemmerli, who is Swiss, is an experienced Continental banker. After spending three years with the Credit Suisse in Zurich, and several years with the Societe Generale Alsacienne de Banque, in Saarbruck, he came to London, where he spent some time with Kleinwort & Company, merchant bankers. He then went to New York and joined the Guaranty Trust Company, after which he returned to the Societe Generale Alsacienne de Banque at their Head Office in Strasbourg, where he supervised the foreign business of that bank. In 1933, he was appointed as Sub-Manager to the newly-created Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie in Paris, and he was put in charge of the Foreign Department.


The rapid development of their foreign business was due to his organising ability and his experience of Continental, British and American methods. Dur­ing the German occupation of France Mr. Haemmerli was obliged to leave the Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et 1'Industrie, and he had a narrow escape from being interned in a concentration camp. After the liberation of France, owing to his Swiss nationality, he did not return to that bank, but became the manager of an important French commercial company dealing with exports and imports. In 1946, when the retirement of Mr. de Boehtlingk became imminent, the choice of a successor fell upon Mr. Haemmerli, and after a period as Assistant Continental Representative he succeeded to Mr. de Boehtlingk's post. In January, 1947, he visited a number of our branches in the North in order to become acquainted with the nature of our business and with some of our higher officials. Mr. Haemmerli has a small staff in Paris, and his object is to maintain a constant contact with our Continental correspondents, to supply our bank with up-to-date information on financial and economic subjects, and generally to assist in the smooth working of our business abroad. He pays periodic visits to our correspondents in other countries on the Continent and when important customers visit Paris he is always ready to help them with his guidance and advice.

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Elle aime Paris au printemps…

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1950 02 MBM.jpgOut of a week of glorious weather, the day assigned for my visit to our Paris Office was a very fair imitation of Liverpool weather. After breakfast a heavy rain set in, and, with one eye on the weeping heavens I reluctantly put aside all thought of frivolous clothes, habited myself in sombre brown and dived into the familiar warmth and effulgence of the Metro. Due, perhaps, to inattention, I got off too soon and found myself at the wrong end of the Boulevard Haussmann facing a longish walk while the clouds consistently emptied themselves upon Paris.


1950 Paris Office Group Staff Photo MBM-Su50P36.jpgI was, however, greatly distracted by the beauty and variety of the shops upon my way and by the time my preoccupation had carried me past our Paris office and I had retraced my steps to it, I was a distinctly sodden object, and feeling not a little pathetic.  It was Mile. Rogivue who ushered me, dripping and bedraggled, into the office, and the warmth of the welcome which she accorded me made me forget most of my troubles. Later, from M. Haemmerli's own room, I was able to appreciate some of the advantages of our Paris Office. Placed as it is, at 17 bis, Boulevard Haussmann, it is in one of the most attractive centres in the city, as well as being in the midst of the important banking and business houses. Practically across the road are the famous Galeries Lafayette, not far away is the lovely Avenue des Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde, and one is within easy reach of those historic buildings and monuments which are so large a part of the fascination of Paris. But those who maintain the office have very little time in which to appreciate the charm of the city, because the work of the day is seldom finished before 8 p.m.

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1948 Miss Betty Jackson Editorial and Advertising Dept MBM-Sp48P31 

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Betty Jackson – “made to feel so welcome” by the Paris Staff…

M. Haemmerli, our Paris representative, who is Swiss by birth and speaks upwards of seven languages, spends much of his time travelling in Europe, making new contacts and strengthening old ones among the great financial houses of the continent, and the work is both arduous and exacting. Travelling must often be done overnight, and M. Haemmerli rises at 6 a.m. in order to refresh his memory before breakfast concerning those banking or business personalities he will meet in the day ahead of him. He has to carry in his mind, not only the financial status of the Houses and the names and ranks of their representatives, but also the more personal details about them, their idiosyncrasies and even their hobbies, in order to make the contact a more friendly one. After breakfast, the work of the day carries him through business meetings, luncheons and dinners. He explained diffidently that sometimes he found it hard, during the course of a business luncheon which was essentially like a hundred others, to keep his attention firmly fixed on what is being said.

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Yet it is absolutely vital that he should do so, because the inattention of a second might mean the loss of important information or give offence. During his “leisure” hours at night he collates the information of the day, which he returns to the Paris Office to be typed and put into order and filed away. His assistants are Mile. Helene Rogivue and Mme. Bliggenstorfer. Mlle. Rogivue, whom I met in the morning, has been there for three years. It was not until after lunch that I met Mme. Bliggenstorfer, as her work is now of a part-time nature. She has been connected with our Paris Office for 23 years, and although she officially retired from full-time work a few years ago, she has returned to help during the afternoons, to cope with the enormous flow of work passing through the office.

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I am afraid that, during that afternoon, I took up a good deal of their time, but it was of tremendous interest to meet them and to discuss with them the nature of their work and the conditions of life in Paris. Needless to say, the conversation did not remain strictly technical for very long. We covered a lot of ground in a comparatively short time, and, to my shame, I confess that it was all covered in English. In the face of the very competent English spoken there, I was diffident about my halting French. Being by nature allergic to statistics, I was awed by the nature and volume of their tasks. The financial reports issued by each bank on the continent are received at the office and analysed by them. A comparative analysis covering a period of three years is made out for each report, and some 300 reports are received in the course of a year.  In addition, Mme. Bliggenstorfer keeps a set of very fine and intricate graphs showing the state of various currencies in all the countries of Europe. Moreover, something like 12 financial papers per day are delivered to the office, and these have to be carefully perused for relevant information, which, when found, is cut out and filed away for future reference in the very efficient filing system maintained there. All this is quite apart from the general correspondence of the office and the reports received from M. Haemmerli when he is away, which have to be sorted and typed. It seemed to me, while I was there, that our Paris Office is, among other things, a storehouse of information about banking and commerce in all parts of the world, upon which our Foreign Branches in England draw from time to time. And it is more than that. It is, in the extremest sense, an outpost of the Bank, and a friendly one, too. The memory of the day which I spent there is one of the happiest which I brought away with me in a whole fortnight of pleasant recollections.


“The last time I saw Paris”…


When Mr. Wetherell, our Liverpool Foreign Branch Manager, took this photograph from the. window of M. Haemmerli’s office in the Boulevard Haussmann M. Haemmerli could not see why it was of any special interest. We were glad Mr. Wetherell showed it to us, however, because we think it is of interest.

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Even to be able to say " Oh, yes, that's the view of Paris I get from my office window " would have its thrill for many of us, while from the editorial point of view it gives us the opportunity of reminding our readers that we have a Paris Office and of telling M. Haemmerli and his colleagues that our thoughts are often with them.

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1962 02 MBM.jpg1962 Monsieur Richard Haemmerli Retirement Photo MBM-Su62P29.jpgAt the end of April Mr. Haemmerli retired after being our Continental representative since June 1947. By the very nature of his job he came into contact with the principals more than the staff, although he had the opportunity of meeting a number of us at the various District Dinners at which he was a guest from time to time. Probably the first time he met a number of the staff all together from all over the country was in Paris in 1949 when the first Bank holiday party passed through on their way to and from Switzerland and his services nearly had to be called upon in a big way when it appeared that a late train on the homeward journey might cause us to miss the boat train which would have had the result of leaving 75 people stranded. We shall never forget the comfort it was to us to know that he had prepared a plan to deal with this situation as soon as we advised him that it might arise.


Mr. Haemmerli travelled in the course of his job to many European countries regularly and he accompanied our principals on their travels on the Continent. A man of great personal charm, cultured and erudite, he was a wonder­ful companion and the arduous nature of the journeys which our principals are called upon to undertake was smoothed and made as comfortable and congenial as possible by his calm efficiency. At a special function in our Paris office Mr. M. Conacher, our Chief General Manager, made the presentation of an old London silver tankard, made in 1765, on behalf of the many subscribers. The Chief General Manager spoke in the warmest terms of Mr. Haemmerli's work for the Bank. Mr. Haemmerli was obviously much touched by the references which were made to him. Later, Madame Berthe added her own tribute at a private ceremony and described Mr. Haemmerli as being the very embodiment of the Bank so far as she was concerned. We all wish Mr. Haemmerli every happiness, and the blessing of good health in all the years to come.

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1962 02 MBM.jpg1962 Monsieur Francois Garelli New Paris Representative Close Up MBM-Su62P29.jpgTo succeed Monsieur Haemmerli as Continental Representative the Bank has appointed eur Francois Garelli. This appointment is one of the most interesting which from time to time, the Bank has to make, and considerable care is used in selecting the man to hold it.   In addition to being a good linguist he has to have those qualities of character which make him acceptable as the Bank's representative wherever he goes, plus shrewdness and business acumen of the highest order. He accompanies the bank's representatives on their various journeyings and must himself travel constantly in order to maintain contacts, keep a finger on the pulse of European trade and help and advise in all kinds of commercial transactions in which the bank is engaged.


Mr Garelli was born in France in 1920 and his father was formerly General Manager of the Ottoman Bank.  His childhood and youth were spent in various European countries, including England (where he lived for five years), Switzerland Yugoslavia (Belgrade)  and  Turkey (Itsanbul).  He attended a French college at Fribourg, Switzerland, for classical French studies and the University of Geneva for economic studies, and it was at this University that he obtained a 'licence' degree and then a 'doctorat es sciences economiques' degree.   During the war Garelli volunteered for the French First and served in an anti-tank company during the 1944-45 campaigns in Eastern France and Germany.  His banking career began in London as a trainee in the Ottoman Bank.  He then went to the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, Paris, where he spent over two years studying the organisation and functions of each department. In 1950, he joined the Ottoman Bank in France and was chiefly engaged in the finance of foreign trade. He became Assistant Manager, mainly in charge of the finance of exports. From 1957 to 1961 he was Manager at Marseilles.


1947 Monsieur M H de Boehtlingk Paris Representative Retired June 47  MBM-Wi47P12.jpg

1947 Monsieur Richard Haemmerli Paris Representative MBM-Wi47P12.jpg

1950 Mlle Helene Rogivue Paris Office Staff MBM-Su50P36.jpg

1950 Mme A Bliggenstorfer Paris Office Staff MBM-Su50P36.jpg

1962 Monsieur Francois Garelli New Paris Representative MBM-Su62P29.jpg






Mr. M H de Boehtlingk

Paris Representative

Retired 1947

Mr. Richard Haemmerli

Paris representative

1947 to 1962

Mlle. Helene Roguive

Paris Office Staff

1947 to ?

Mme. A Bliggenstorfer

Paris Office Staff

1947 to ?

Mr. Francois Garelli

Paris Representative

1962 onwards


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Martins Bank Limited Paris Office

Information Bureau – No Counter Service

17 bis, Boulevard Haussman Paris IXe France

Correspondent bank associated services

Monsieur Francois Garelli

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12 December 1969

Opened by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Business Merged into Barclays Bank Foreign Department