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Martins Bank 1928+

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It’s much bigger on the inside…

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image050Building a successful business often means expansion.  By 1952 Martins Bank’s Lombard Street Office – which itself was only rebuilt in 1930 - is running to capacity.  The building that will become London Chief Overseas branch, and also incorporate a standard branch of the bank is 80 Gracechurch Street, purchased from Lloyds Bank, which is at first gutted and then kitted out with all things Martins to create an impression of space and grandeur.

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1952 London Gracechurch Street exterior 1 BGA Ref 30-1089

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1969 Sign of the times

Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1089 and 0033/0875

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From work in progress to finished article the door to Gracechurch takes shape next door to Montague Burton the Tailor, but don’t be fooled by the size of the door, what awaits you on the inside is a breathtaking use of space and light…

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1952 01The transfer of part of the Bank's business from 68 Lombard Street to 80 Gracechurch Street is probably the most important development in the growth of the Bank since the opening of the new Head Office and London Office buildings nearly a quarter of a century ago.  The staff and accommodation problems of our expanding business at Lombard Street have long been acute and from working conditions of some discomfort the position had been reached where more staff was needed to cope with the work, yet accommodation for more staff did not exist.

1952 London Gracechurch Street exterior 2 BGA Ref 30-1089

Accordingly, the premises at Gracechurch Street were acquired from Lloyds Bank by purchase. These premises formerly housed the main Foreign branch of Lloyds Bank. In addition to the transfer of London Foreign branch, London Trustee Department and the Coupon Department to the new premises, a branch has also been opened for the transaction of ordinary banking business, under the management of Mr. R. A. Machell.

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1952 Branch Interior before refurb MBM-Sp52P43.jpg

1952 Branch Interior after refurb MBM-Sp52P44.jpg

Before…

80 Gracechurch Street as it was.  The partitioning at the front of this picture has been demolished to make room for the new managerial offices.  Comparison with the photograph to the right can best be made by noting the position of the rectangular ceiling light, the prominent pillar in the picture below being towards the right background in this picture…

 

…after:

80 Gracechurch Street as  now. 

The picture is taken from inside the Chief Foreign Branch, and the Gracechurch Street Branch Counter is underneath the clock and faces the counter of the Foreign Branch

 

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The immediate result of this redisposition is the transfer of some 200 members of the Bank's staff to the new premises, with consequent easement of the overcrowding at Lombard Street. District Office will occupy the space vacated by Foreign branch and certain other departments will be able to spread out a bit. Those who saw the building before the alterations were made will agree that a most tasteful transformation has taken place.

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1952 Counter and customers space MBM-Sp52P44.jpg

This image shows the Counter and Customers’ space.

 

1952 The Staff Tea Room MBM-Sp52P45.jpg

The staff Tea Room

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Probably the first thing which will strike the visitor from Head Office is the way in which the architects have overcome the difficulty of providing adequate lighting without spoiling the architectural beauty by suspending ugly light over the desks. The ceiling is set with large squares of sunshine-tinted glass framed in a black marble-like setting behind which fluorescent lighting shines through. The effect is almost like bright sunshine, cheerful in the extreme.

 

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An interesting trick effect has been obtained with a space in one wall which resulted from the blanking off of a former exit to the nearby market.  Consider­ations of design demanded a matching window of consider­able dimensions and this has been achieved by placing the ornate window framing over the blank space and glazing it with mirrors. This is not new, but was a feature of the former design. In the basement one comes across odd steel doors closing off passages which formerly  gave access to other nearby buildings and to the market. These were open  when   we   inspected   the premises and they gave us quite a thrill, with their suggestion of underground passages and secret ways. In the customers' space two counters face each other; one for Foreign branch and one for Gracechurch Street branch. The somewhat small entrance, which gives no indication of the magnificent proportions of the building within, is adequately marked by our new Hanging Sign, this most useful and distinctive adornment to our premises up and down the country.

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More space in which to work…

Much needed office space is now freely available, (something that was sadly lacking at 68 Lombard street) and the Chief Overseas Manager’s Office is a triumph with its “map of the world” wall!

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1952 London Gracechurch Street interior 12 BGA Ref 30-1089

1952 London Gracechurch Street interior 10 BGA Ref 30-1089

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Black and white Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1089

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Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection

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This is the staff gallery for 80 Gracechurch St Branch

The Overseas Branch staff can be found on our LONDON CHIEF OVERSEAS page.

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1952 to 1952 Mr J Lane MBM-Sp67P03.jpg

1952 to 1954 Mr P G F Foley MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

1952 to 1956 Mr E C G Prentice Pro Manager MBM-Au67P55.jpg

1953 to 1957 Mr P J Hore MBM-Su63P40.jpg

1955 to 1962 Mr J G Killick MBM-Sp66P06.jpg

1956 to 1960 Mr KF Postle Pro Manager MBM-Au64P05.jpg

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Mr J Lane

On the Staff

1952 to 1952

Mr P G F Foley

On the Staff

1952 to 1954

Mr E C G Prentice

Pro Manager

1952 to 1956

Mr P J Hore

On the Staff

1953 to 1957

Mr J G Killick

On the Staff

1955 to 1962

Mr K F Postle

Pro Manager

1956 to 1960

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1959 to 1967 Mr O S J Goulburn Manager MBM-Wi67P51.jpg

1960 to 1963 Mr S Brookes Pro Manager MBM-Su66P03.jpg

1963 to 1964 Mr S C C White Pro Manager MBM-Au64P06.jpg

1964 Mr PW Sylvester pro Manager MBM-Wi64P06.jpg

1967 Mr N Mereweather Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1969 Mr R N Ibbotson Pro Manager MBM-Sp69P10.jpg

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Mr O S J Goulburn

Manager

1959 to 1967

Mr S Brookes

Pro Manager

1960 to 1963

Mr S C C White

Pro Manager

1963 to 1964

Mr P W Sylvester

Pro Manager

1964

Mr N Mereweather

Manager

1967 onwards

Mr R N Ibbotson

Pro Manager

1969

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-07-40 London Gracechurch Street

Full Branch

80 Gracechurch Street London EC3

413 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 626 0616/7

Nightsafe Installed

Mr N Mereweather Manager

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Automated Branch

80 Gracechurch Street is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant  digits” to identify them by account numbers issued at the London Computer Centre. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 12.

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1952

15 December 1969

10 July 1970

Currently

Acquired from Lloyds Bank by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-34-49 Gracechurch Street

Closed

Various retail outlets

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