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Alnwick and County Bank

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This is one of those rare occasions on which we can display the “bear in the woods” logo of the Alnwick and County Bank.  Rothbury is one of their original branches, acquired at the end of August 1875 by the North Eastern Banking Company Limited.  The Branch is rebuilt by the NEBC in 1893, and to show a permanent presence, their name is carved into the stonework above the second floor. This is of course nowadays of significant historical interest as the building has changed hands several times down the years!

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A few mergers down the line, Rothbury Branch belongs to Martins Bank Limited, and today, more than one hundred and forty years after being opened, it is serving Barclays’ customers.  For our Rothbury feature, we join Martins Bank Magazine on a visit they made to the Branch for their Winter 1950 edition.  It seems in those days you could go by bus from Liverpool!

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1950 04

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Rothbury was the choice of the North-Eastern District General Manager for the branch to be visited for this issue of the Magazine and we travelled out by bus on November 16th.

 

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1960 s Rothbury BGA Ref 30-2461.jpg 

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/2461

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As on the occasion of our visit to Wooler at the same time last year we were favoured with a perfect day, frost on the fields and thin ice on the pools, mellow sunshine turning the hedgerows with their loads of berries to veritable burning bushes, and the browns and golds of the woods an ample compensation for the green of summer and the purple of the heather.   Rothbury and the surrounding district is certainly one of the beauty spots of England and here a man may live a full and happy life if he likes the country and its pursuits. And Mr. J. H. Wedderburn, Manager of our branch there, does like the country and so do his wife and daughter.  Mr. Wedderburn himself is a keen golfer and, undeterred by the fact that Rothbury did not possess the necessary amenities, he set about organising them and next year should see the local racecourse suitably greened and bunkered.

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Treasurerships seem to come to him as thickly as the snow which often blankets the village in midwinter and the British Legion, the local hall, the Angling Club and other worthy organisations look to him to attend to their financial affairs. Long before our Mobile Bank attracted national publicity by its appearance up and down the country Rothbury branch provided on-the-spot facilities at the local sheep dog trials in a little tent perched up on the hillside, at the coursing meetings and elsewhere.

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There are no electric hares at Rothbury, and sport is made out of the necessity of pest control; the beaters driving the game towards the coursing field where the dogs are waiting to be released. The day before our visit a magnificent fox was driven into the field and raced with the dogs untouched, the greyhounds not being trained for fox hunting

 

The Bank House at Rothbury must be one of the nicest we possess, with the priceless ad­vantage of a good piece of garden and a magnificent hill prospect behind. There are none of the proximity disadvantages of Suburbia here.  Mrs. Wedderburn is as busy as her husband with the social round which attaches to the Bank Manager's wife in a size­able village. She is busier than she has ever been and loves every minute of it. In fact, a night in is a luxury they enjoy and entertaining is a daily occurrence. Their daughter Pat, who has been on the staff for two years, has settled down there as happily as her parents and is a keen tennis and badminton player, and something of a tennis champion, too, judging by the prizes she has won. Mr. Wedderburn's previous service has been at Belford, Berwick, Newcastle and Seaham, where he became Manager in 1939. During the war he served with the R.A.F. for four years and was appointed at Rothbury in April 1948.

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Image © WARD PHILIPSON PHOTO MEMORIES 

– John A Moreels M.B.E

J. Swanson, the second man, served with the Desert Air Force during the war, and after­wards in Italy. His sporting speciality is bowls at which he has won a number of prizes. He and his wife are also keen travellers. The other member of the staff is J. R. Temple who served during the war with the Royal Navy in the Far East, including Hong Kong. During the afternoon Mr. Wedderburn took us for a drive round the Cragside Estate, home of Lord Armstrong.

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This magnificent estate is unique among those we have hitherto seen. It consists largely of a wooded hill, the Hall being half way up. A maze of paths and steps leads amidst magnificent woodland scenery to every portion of it. There is a bridge over a deep ravine through which a river flows, thousands of magnificent hybrid rhododen­drons which bring people from miles around to see when in flower, stately Douglas pine trees and every imaginable kind of rock plant and shrub.

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The crowning glory of the estate, partly because of its unexpectedness, are the hill top lakes; no mere tarns, but extensive sheets of water reflecting in their quiet surfaces the surrounding trees. Here were peace and beauty, indeed, and we thought as we looked at them that it must have been in some such place where the hymn writer composed the lines: “Every prospect pleases, man alone is vile.” Our branch is one of the branches of the old Alnwick and County Bank which was eventually taken over by the North Eastern Banking Company, and the Davy's who were for so long connected with the old bank still figure prominently on the books. One of the last of them— A.W.L. Davy, is Manager of our Morpeth branch, and another relative, W. Davy, has recently retired. The pictures on the wall of the Manager's room are of more than usual interest. There are identical photographs of Rothbury as it was a generation ago and as it is today, a photograph of the Hussars in full dress uniform marching through the main street in a ceremonial parade after the Boer War, and a 1914 photograph of the Territorials mustering after the General Mobilisation order of those fateful August days. Dusk was gathering as we concluded our visit, having promised ourselves a return trip to the district at no distant date.

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1934 to 1948 Mr Luke Wanless Manager MBM-Au57P56.jpg

1948 to 1958 Mr J H Wedderburn Manager MBM-Au62P55.jpg

1950 Mr J Swanson Second in Command MBM-Su63P53.jpg

1950 Miss Pat Wedderburn MBM-Wi50P39.jpg

1950 Mr J R Temple MBM-Su65P08.jpg

BW Logo

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Mr Luke Wanless

Manager

1934 to 1948

Mr J H Wedderburn

Manager

1948 to 1958

Mr J Swanson

Branch Second

1950

Miss Pat Wedderburn

On the Staff

1950

Mr J R Temple

On the Staff

1950

 

                        

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-26-70 Rothbury

Full Branch

Front Street Rothbury Morpeth Northumberland

352 North Eastern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Rothbury 433

Nightsafe Installed

J G Ross Manager

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1871

31 August 1875

1893

7 August 1914

18 December1918

3 January1928

15 December 1969

Currently

Opened by the Alnwick and County Bank

North Eastern Banking Company

Rebuilt by the North Eastern Banking Company

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-73-01 Rothbury

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