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Martins Bank 1928+

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In this lovely shot looking down Southampton Bargate/High Street in the 1960s, Martins Bank’s’ Branch is third in a row of banks that also comprises Midland Bank and the District Bank.  What this image fails to show clearly is the sheer grandeur of the building, but you can see it in all its glory in the article below.   The Bank of Liverpool and Martins opens its first two Branches at Southampton in 1925, at 139 Above Bar and Southampton Docks. In 1935 the main branch relocates to 171/2 High Street.  The first time that Martins Bank Magazine pays a visit to the branch is in September 1952, where even seven years after the end of World War 2, evidence of the devastation of bombing is still all too apparent… 

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1960 s Midland District and Martins Southampton Bargate.jpg

Images © Barclays Ref: 0030/2695

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In the morning of September 1st we boarded the London express for the run of less than an hour to the first stop at Southampton. Poor Southampton, city of one-storey corrugated-roofed shops!  The destruction at Southampton is greater than any we have so far seen anywhere except in the area around St. Paul's. The shopping centre was practically a total loss and it is a heartening sight to see the efforts which have been made, if not to rebuild, at any rate to get things going again in temporary buildings. The background of green parkland has helped greatly in hiding the dreadful scars of war but, make no mistake about it, Southampton has had worse wounds to heal than many places.

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Our branch was fortunate in surviving with so much destruction around. After lunch we made our way along the busy main street and in the passing scene one cannot forget for long that this is the great Ocean terminal, dominated by the shadow of the Queen's, the American record breaker and other great passenger liners. Southampton is no beauty spot now but the bombing has not destroyed the tradition and on every hand one senses the pride of the inhabitants in their possession of the Gateway to England. Perhaps a Northerner, and especially a Liverpudlian, feels this especially keenly, for the Cunard giants of the past, the Lusitania and the Mauretania, dominated the life of the port of Liverpool precisely the same way as do the Queen's in Southampton. Mr. Parker entered the Bank in Liverpool in 1923, going to the London district the following year. His first signing power was held at Bromley in 1937 and he was appointed Acting Manager at Guildford in 1939, becoming Manager in 1945. He has managed Southampton branch since 1948. They're a tough lot at Southampton branch; H. W. Francis, who signs Pro Manager, is a first class footballer who played for the Bank's team for 25 years, and is well-known in senior amateur football circles.

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He is also a lecturer on Foreign Exchange at the South­ampton Technical College. F. Sarah is a member of the R.A.F.V.R., though he too has his gentler side in being an organist and a member of two choral societies. Then there is S. W. Street, one of the most promising runners in the county of Hampshire. He ran in the Inter-Banks' Champion­ ship in July and was second in the senior mile, the winner being an international runner. To cap them all we have R. Kitchen, the junior, who is by way of being a judo expert.  H. S. Coad was having a week's holiday getting his house shipshape for his wedding, but he came in for the photograph and we were able to give him our best wishes. We were sorry not to see Miss S. dotterel], who was away ill. Miss J. C. Thompson, the junior girl, looks after the sporting tradition of the branch on the female side, being a keen rider, and the third girl is Miss D. B. Green. The following morning we went aboard the Queen Mary, and enjoyed to the full the feeling of pardonable pride in British workmanship. There is nothing cheap or shoddy on the Mary: everything is of the best and everything is a fine advertisement for the British way of life, British craftsmanship and the character of the people who have in the past made Britain the mistress of the seas. You enter another world when you step aboard the Queen Mary, a world which does not know the meaning of shortages and makeshifts, a world which we, too, might have enjoyed but for the years 1939-1945 which took away so much comfort and grace from life. The things displayed were the things we knew when we were children, the things our children would never know, and as we walked around this floating palace and enjoyed this brief hour in a world such as we would like the larger world to be we suddenly remembered the inscription on a stone we had seen in a garden in Bournemouth a few days previously, and we were comforted. “1939-1945—Enough that valour filled the blank between”.

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Now, what’s going on here then – a scene from “The Avengers” perhaps?  Maybe we’ve joined the plot just at the point where Steed and Mrs Peel are about to arrive and apprehend a hapless getaway driver?  Have all the Bank staff been hypnotised by an eccentric old man with a large pocket watch and room full of cats?  Will “Mother” have been kidnapped and locked in the basement?

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No such luck, this is the rear of Martins Bank’s extended branch at Southampton showing progress in two ways – one: business is quite possible booming and more room is required, and two: the shock of the new - all straight lines, functionality, bricks, glass and what appears to be crazy, crazy paving!  In the images below, you will see that the interior of the branch has also been given that all important “modern” look for the swinging 60s…

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Branch Images © Barclays Ref: 30/2695

1960 s Southampton Interior 1 BGA Ref 30-2695.jpg

1960 s Southampton Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-2695.jpg

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Period Piece…

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This lovely photograph is from the private collection of Martins Bank Branch Images kept by the late Geoff Taylor. Here we see Southampton Branch in 1954. The photo has a special charm because it is a personal snapshot, rather than being specially commissioned by the Bank.  Geoff’s collection included a dozen or so Branches of Martins Bank located in the south and South East of England, and you can find the other pictures by viewing our pages for the following Branches:

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Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Geoff Taylor

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1935 to 1948 Mr John Tennant Manager MBM-Wi48P11.jpg

1940 to 1943 Mr N G Willis joined the bank here MBM-Su65P03.jpg

1948 to 1965 Mr C H Parker Manager MBM-Au65P57.jpg

1952 to 1962 Mr SW Street MBM-Su66P03.jpg

1954 to 1956 Mr P J Blatch joined the bank hereMBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1962 to 1965 Mr DV Milne Ltd auth then pro Manager from 1965 MBM-Sp65P09.jpg

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Mr John Tennant


1935 to 1948

Mr N G Willis

Joined the Bank Here

1940 to 1943

Mr C H Parker


1948 to 1965

Mr S W Street

On the Staff

1952 to 1962

Mr P J Blatch

Joined the Bank Here

1954 to 1956

Mr D V Milne

Limited Auth 1962-65

Pro Manager 1965 onwards

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1965 Mr RL Sharrock Manager MBM-Au65P04.jpg

1966 Christine Gale Accounts MBM-Sp66P39.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr R L Sharrock


1965 onwards

Miss C Gale














11-04-80 Southampton

Full Branch

171/2 High Street Southampton Hampshire

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Southampton 20212/3

Nightsafe installed

Mr R L Sharrock Manager

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Sub Branches

11-04-80 WARSASH

11-04-80 HEDGE END


15 December 1969

11 February 1983


opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-79-26 Southampton 171/2 High Street


Jewellers Shop

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