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Martins Bank 1928+

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Martins Bank has a tradition of opening Branches in Kentish towns, both in its incarnation as Martin’s Private Bank – when these Branches were mostly on the Kentish outskirts of London, and from 1928 following the creation of the new Martins Bank Limited.  Rochester is chosen in 1958, and a Branch opened in this fine looking building in the High Street. Although Rochester does make it through the merger with Barclays in 1969, it closes in 1971, a victim of Branch Duplication – in this case the local Barclays Branch lives on.  Back in 1958, things are still new and exciting at Rochester, and Martins Bank Magazine visits the Branch to write the following report…

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1960 s Rochester Exterior BGA Ref 30-2451.jpg

All Branch images © Barclays Ref 0030/2451

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1960 s Rochester Interior 1 BGA Ref 30-2451.jpg1958 03 MBM.jpgAs our train crept through the fog outside Charing Cross Station, we tried to summarise our thoughts about Rochester which we were about to visit for the first time. Putting resolutely to one side the associ­ation of the name with a certain throaty Negro, we recalled that Rochester provided the setting for Bleak House and that there are about as many associations with Charles Dickens as there are beds up and down the country in which Queen Elizabeth I is alleged to have slept. 


Nevertheless, it is true that Dickens at one time made his home in this Medway town and many are the marks which he left upon it by virtue of making use of its amenities. Then the name indicates Roman connections and, in fact, part of a Roman wall is to be seen near the Castle.   Saxon and Norman, too, played no inconsiderable part in the history of the place. It is, therefore, in one of the oldest places in the country that the Bank has opened a branch in High Street, which is part of the famous Roman Road, Watling Street. The Medway towns of Gillingham, Rochester, Chatham and Strood have so grown into one another that they are really one big town, the total population being something like a quarter of a million.


Rochester itself numbers about 60,000 of this total. It is a market town for the produce of North Kent, and industry of a most varied kind has sprung up there. Our branch is under the management of Mr. D. L. Francis, who has been Pro Manager at Oxford since 1956. Prior to that he served at Lowndes Street, Croydon, Sloane Square and London District Office, and also for six years with H.M. Forces. Contrary to what we had expected to hear, the contrast between Oxford and Rochester has proved to both Mr. and Mrs. Francis to be in favour of Rochester as a place to live in.

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1960 s Rochester Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-2451.jpg

1960 s Rochester Interior 3 BGA Ref 30-2451

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His second-in-command is Mr. L. St. G. A. Braybon, whose service has so far been entirely performed in the London District, apart from War service, 1943-47.  Mr. K. R. Tanner is a local boy who started in the bank last year.   Mrs. D. Robinson is a girl from the Manchester District who has transferred to the London District after her marriage.

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She entered the Bank in 1950 and was at Darwen until the branch was opened at Rochester.  The new branch is a single-storeyed building, set back from the main line of buildings, and the main feature of the frontage is an attractive bow window. Inside, the design follows the trend of contemporary bank buildings - suspended ceiling with lighting panels, and woodwork in light mahogany of most attractive appearance. An azure fourth wall at the end of the counter sets off the woodwork to perfection. A novel feature is a bed of cacti of different varieties on the customers' side leading from the door to the Manager's room. We are quite sure that nothing was further from the architect's thoughts than to suggest that the path to interview our manager is a prickly one! But it was installed in the days of the credit squeeze, and maybe we should plant roses now!  We were very pleased to meet Mrs. Francis and to discover at lunch that she is indeed “one of u”" having been on the staff in the London District before her marriage.

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1958 Miss D Robinson MBM-Wi58P29.jpg

1958 to 1965 Mr D L Francis Manager MBM-Su65P05.jpg

1958 Mr K R Tanner MBM-Wi58P29.jpg

1958 Mr L St G A Braybon MBM-Wi58P29.jpg

1965 Mr NG Willis Manager MBM-Su65P03.jpg

BW Logo

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Miss D Robinson

On the Staff


Mr D L Francis


1958 to 1965

Mr  K R Tanner

On the Staff


Mr L St G A Braybon

On the Staff


Mr N G Wilis


1965 Onwards

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Index Number and District:






11-20-70 Rochester

Full Branch

47-49 High Street Rochester Kent

477 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Medway 42992

Nightsafe Installed

N G Willis Manager


15 December 1969

18 June 1971


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-72-71 Rochester 47/49 High St


Convenience Store