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A bricklayer has bricks, a trowel, cement in a bucket, a chef has a kitchen with all the necessary gadgets.  It is at first somewhat strange to think that the staff of a bank might also have its own “tools of the trade”.  Here, we look at some of the more important ones – not least cash itself – that help Martins Bank provide service that brings a smile to BOTH sides of the counter, AND of course, goes to extremes to be helpful.  Don’t take it all too seriously however, much of what you see here no longer exists, as the modern day cashier is now likely to be a machine for paying in, drawing out, or both. In more human times, once trained as a cashier you would have to face all manner of members of the public, all of whom would expect you to be an authority on everything from looking after their horses in the street to cashing cheques against an empty account…


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Setting the right tone…

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1996

It does not have to be complicated or fussy.  This is the counter area that greets the customers of Martins Bank’s Branch at Denton Burn, Newcastle upon Tyne. Minimal, practical and with a chair thoughtfully placed for those who cannot stand for long in a queue. The ashtray is – sadly – a sign of less health conscious times.


Traffic lights?

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Whichever bank you work for, you will always remember the day you received your own till sign, with your name printed on it.  The Martins Bank Cashier has three signs at his/her disposal to prepare for the “onslaught” of the dreaded customer:

Traffic Light


this till is closed,


“attendance temporarily discontinued”  (how marvellous!) and:


the cashier’s name shows they are open for business.

Book Keeping…

The Cashier’s Balance Book

Paying-In Slip

The everyday tools in the cashier’s armoury are the balance book, sometimes called the “telling-up” book, and a variety of forms predominant amongst which is the humble paying-in slip.  You can see further examples of internally used Martins Bank stationery at STATIONERY DEPARTMENT.

The write way to do it…

The Esterbrook Desk Pen – all that is classy about a visit to a Martins Banking Hall. It’s a good job that Mr Robert Johnson, (ficticious customer of Ellesmere Port Branch) is handy with one of these, as the results look very nice indeed. Is it a means of communication or a work of art?

You decide, but the Esterbrook pen with its revolutionary self-filling mechanism beats hands down those cheap biros given away by some banks today!

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections


Stock in Trade…

Cash is, of course, the main stock in trade of bank cashiers.  Martins’ Staff know that every last halfpenny in the till belongs to the customer, so every day great care is taken to ensure that the books balance. 


Shown under licence from the Bank of England

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections

To help serve customers more quickly, weighing scales are used both to prepare and check bundles of notes and bags of coin, but they are ALWAYS double checked to maintain accuracy!  There is one aspect of the taking in of cash from customers that is probably likely to remain a real bugbear, even amongst today’s dwindling number of human cashiers – no matter how easy you make it for a customer to count and record their own property on a paying in slip, many of them simply don’t bother.  Personal customers in particular will be the first to tut and sigh as the cashier explains that this is a process of double check: How can the cashier confirm exactly what is being paid in, if the customer just hasn’t bothered to record it!  This conundrum will run until every bank branch in the World has been pulled down…



To do things “by the book”, you will, of course, need “the book”…

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“Notes for Cashiers” has been issued with the following uses in mind:

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These notes have been prepared to serve a threefold purpose, namely:


(1)       To act as a basis for instruction  in  Cashiers' Training Courses      

           throughout the Bank


(2)       To be a practical guide to the inexperienced cashier.


(3)       To provide a handy book of reference in case of need for the experienced cashier.


It is hoped that the advice and hints given in these notes will help in providing a courteous and efficient service which this Bank at all times endeavours to give to customers. As a result of such services favourable impressions are created and lead to recommendations which can prove to be our best form of advertising.


January 1965

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Sometimes, the problems faced by a cashier can be such that a simple guide such as “Notes for Cashiers” simply can’t provide the answer. 

Enter Martins’ Book of Instructions, the last word in what every member of staff should or should not do to ensure the smooth running of the branch… 

The book has been cleverly bound with blank pages and spaces to insert both new and amended procedures. 

As you would expect, the bank protects its customers by keeping procedures private and confidential, there is not much therefore that we are allowed to say about Martins Bank’s book of instructions!

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So now you can bank with confidence, safe in the knowledge that our cashiers will let you know when they are ready to serve. 


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When they do, they have the right training, instructions and stationery at their disposal, and above all, they will go to EXTREMES to be helpful!

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… and finally, why not say it with flowers…

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The Bank sets great store by the daily provision of a riot of colourful flowers in each of its offices, and chief among these displays must surely have been at Head Office, Water Street Liverpool. You might be forgiven for thinking that Miss Margaret Gordon Taylor, seen here in 1959 sitting next to one of her amazing creations, spent all her time arranging flowers, but no – she is Typist to one of the Managers of Liverpool City Office. Every Sunday evening in their OWN private time, Miss Gordon Taylor and her Mother go to Head Office and put together a new display. The flowers were even grown to Miss Gordon Taylor’s requirements by her father.  The displays were eagerly awaited by customers who would call in each Monday to see the latest one. Martins Bank Magazine even claims “one hears these displays talked about in the City”.

HO Flowers SRV