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Martins Bank 1928+

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image048Martins Bank’s Branch at Nantwich is a little different in that it does not follow the convention of the Bank’s new builds in the fifties and sixties.  Already a half-timbered tudor building – a design winner as far as Martins’ architects are concerned – it does make a handsome addition to the branch network, and joins Stratford upon Avon, Swansea, and Prestatyn Branches as a proud possessor of tudor looks.  As Nantwich is actually “the real deal”, Martins Bank Magazine waxes lyrical upon the subject and goes slightly overboard in the process…

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1951 04

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We visited our new branch at Nantwich on September 19th, and there is no doubt about it, we have made a very handsome addition to the main street by the building which we have acquired and restored.  It was only after reconstruction work had been begun on the premises in preparation for its conversion into a branch of the Bank that the original Elizabethan frame­work was exposed.

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Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1954


Apparently what happened was that at some time or other, in order to satisfy current taste, a false front was added and its original character was hidden. It has not proved possible to find out much of the history of the premises, but the method of construction is interesting, while of all the buildings which have been preserved from the past it is the half-timbered buildings of the Tudors which seem to have the greatest appeal for most people.  The characteristic feature of these buildings was the corner post at each angle of the building, consisting of a massive balk of timber squared out of a tree trunk which was usually set bottom end upwards. Upon the spur so obtained the upper floors were supported and also to the uprights were secured the horizontal beams and framing.

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1951 Nantwich Interior 1 BGA Ref 30-1954.jpg

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1954

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1951 Nantwich Interior 2 BGa Ref 30-1954.jpg

Every tenon and joint was firmly held by a wooden peg, the head of which remained projecting. There is little doubt that this means of fastening, rather than the use of iron, accounted for the remarkable durability of the buildings of the period.  The history of Nantwich dates back before the Roman occupation and it owes its importance to the salt workings. We had hoped to go down a salt mine, but the last one in Nantwich ceased working in 1850.  The ruins of one of the old brine baths can be seen from the bridge which crosses the stream near our branch.

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The legionaries, based on Chester, who worked in the pits at Nantwich, received part of their pay in salt. It was known as salarium, from which is derived our word salary. The origin of the saying about a man being worth his salt is also made plain. The town was almost destroyed by fire in 1583 and Queen Elizabeth was so shocked at the loss to the people of Nantwich that she not only gave £1,000 from her private purse and timber from the nearby Royal Forest of Delamere towards its rebuilding, but she also commanded a collection to be made in all churches of the realm.

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At that time Sir Richard Martin was Master of the Mint, an inter­esting link between the Sign of the Grasshopper and Nantwich. The builders have now reduced our building in High Street to its original wooden frame and by skilful use of new timber and steel disguised to look like timber the building has been restored to its original Elizabethan beauty.  One notices a church-like smell on entering and in the mellow light which comes through the ceiling glass the idea of antiquity has been very cleverly suggested. 

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Of course, Mr. Armistead and Mr. Hartley have got a tough job in front of them. As our Midland pioneers know it is no easy task to start a new branch in a strange place, but a lot of good will has already been established by the appearance of the building alone and neither of them is frightened of hard work.

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We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Armistead's bride, for they have only been married since July. We had tea in their new home of which they are justifiably proud. We were also pleased to meet Miss E. J. Shingler who lives in Crewe, which is only half an hour away by bus.

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1951 to 1960 Mr E Armistead Manager MBM-Su69P60.jpg

1951 Mr G H W Hartley MBM-Wi51P10.jpg

1951 Miss E J Shingler MBM-Wi51P10.jpg

1953 to 1959 then from 1967 Mr R W Nuttall Manager MBM-Sp67P04.jpg

1960 to 1967 Mr A Pigdon Manager MBM-Sp67P04.jpg

BW Logo

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Mr E Armistead

Opened this branch as Manager 1951 to 1960

Mr G H W Hartley

On the Staff


Miss E J Shingler

On the Staff


Mr R W Nuttall VRD

On the staff 1953-59

Manager 1967 onwards

Mr A Pigdon


1960 to 1967





Index Number and District:






11-26-60 Nantwich

Full Branch

23 High Street Nantwich Cheshire

740 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Nantwich 65018

Nightsafe Installed

Mr R W Nuttall VRD Manager


15 December 1969

7 May 1971


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-58-58 Nantwich High Street


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