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Mercantile Bank of Lancashire

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On 1 July 1904, the business of the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire is transferred to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank.  Amongst the many Manchester branch sites that are transferred to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank are: All Saints, Cheetham, Hightown, Deansgate, Old Trafford and this very attractive and unusual building in Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury. When the L & Y merges with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins, Didsbury Branch becomes part of Martins Bank in 1928. It remains open beyond the merger with Barclays by almost twenty years, closing at the end of 1987.

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In Service: Pre 1904 until 23 November 1987

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1834

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Our retirement feature concerns Mr Ford, who by the time he leaves the service of the Bank in 1964, has been Manager of West Didsbury Branch for seventeen years…

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1964 03 MBM.jpgWhen at the end of May Mr Ford, Manager of West Didsbury Branch reired after 45 years’ service, there was no official presentation at this own request.  However, a number of past and present colleagues met at the Branch at close of business on May 29 and on their behalf Mr Ford was handed a cheque.   Having purchased a new bungalow at St Annes-on the-Sea, Mr Ford said he would use the money to buy something for his new home, and expressed his sincere thanks for his friends’ generosity.  Entering the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in 1919, Mr Ford served at many branches in the Manchester area.  He was appointed Manager at West Didsbury in 1947.

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Your Weekend Television in the North…


In the swinging sixties, Didsbury is also home to a television company that despite producing some of the most famous British programmes ever – including one of most iconic of all “The Avengers” – is largely forgotten today.  Not too far from Martins Bank’s Branch in Lapwing Lane, the Capitol Cinema on the corner of School Lane and Pars Wood Road houses the studios of A B C – “Your Weekend Television in the North”.   Who knows whether or not Martins might have ranked the likes of Eamonn Andrews, Hughie Green, Patrick Macnee, or Diana Rigg amongst its customers. World of Sport, Opportunity Knocks, Armchair Theatre and The Avengers all begin life in Didsbury, and countless more famous names including Harry Worth, Hattie Jaques and Jimmy Clitheroe take part in, or have their own shows on A B C.  The first TV production of C S Lewis’s “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is made by A B C, and in recent years some of the original video footage has been found.  You can also see a complete version of the very last edition of Opportunity Knocks to be transmitted from Didsbury, HERE. Also, why not visit our friends at the excellent TRANSDIFFUSION.ORG, for a comprehensive look at the history of British television, including the other original Independent Television companies…


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For West Didsbury’s “THEN AND NOW”, we have the benefit of three images, covering the life of the Branch under the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, Martins Bank, and the Legal Firm which occupies 10 Lapwing Lane in the Twenty-First Century. In the hands of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, the building still looks quite new. Under Martins in the 1960s, the fenced off garden has been removed to make way for a car park. Even though this building has not been a bank for thirty years, there is still something very bank-like about the way it looks today. Special thanks to Alan Thomond, Andy Roberton, and to Andrew Simpson’s Chorlton Blogspot for the confirmation that our Branch is in good hands today! 

1922 – Image courtesy W N Townson Bequest

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1950s  - Image © Barclays

2016 – Image © Andrew Simpson

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1923 to 1926 Mr W W Arnold MBM-Su46P27.jpg

1935 to 1947  Mr W R Bowness Managaer MBM-Au47P17.jpg

1939 to 1940 Mr A K Bromley joined the bank here MBM-Su67P03.jpg

1947 to 1964 Mr W Ford Manager MBM-Au64P55.jpg

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Mr H Farnell

Joined the Bank Here

1906 to 1908

Mr W W Arnold

On the Staff

1923 to 1926

Mr W R Bowness


1935 to 1947

Mr A K Bromley

Joined the Bank here

1939 to 1940

Mr W Ford


1947 to 1964

Mr G Reynolds


1964 onwards

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Index No and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-23-90 West Didsbury

Full Branch

10 Lapwing Lane West Didsbury Manchester

789 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

061 445 3076

Nightsafe Installed

Mr G Reynolds Manager

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Manchester St Ann’s Square

Before 1904

1 July 1904

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

23 November 1987

Mercantile Bank of Lancashire

Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-55-19 Manchester West Didsbury


Manchester Whalley Range

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