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Palatine Bank

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A fairytale palace…

 – in Manchester?

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…and now for a real treat. You are about to witness the almost unbelievable extravagence of the Palatine Bank’s headquarters at 22 Brown Street Manchester. In 1907 the self proclaimed “People’s Bank” diversifies into construction, and the key selling point of this side of the business is surely its amazing Head Office, a triumph of construction if ever there was! The sheer audacity of this wonderful building is something to behold, when in the twenty-first century we consider the enless bland structures of concrete and glass, that choke our towns and cities. Thanks to Barclays’ collection of Martins Bank images, we will see the buidling in its full glory further down this page, but first we hear a little of how there came to be a fairytale palace in the middle of Manchester…

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Four Centuries Cover{As the youngest Manchester bank, the Palatine bank has to face keen competition and to pioneer in order to attract deposits. The Daily Dispatch of 16 November 1904 reports that the Bank has pioneered the collection of small savings}. {Another venture of the Palatine Bank was the formation of the Palatine Buildings Company Limited on 24 July 1907.

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1946 Brown Street exterior from Painting MBM-Su46P20.jpg

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In Service: 30 May 1910 until29 October 1971  

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Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1800

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1910 Interior Feature from Palatine Bank.jpgThe memorandum and articles of association stated that the object of the company was to acquire, for investment or resale, land, buildings mines and the like, and to make advances on the security of land, buildings, rents and the like. In particular, the object was to acquire lands and buildings in Brown Street Manchester, on which the new Head Office of the Palatine Bank was erected in 1910. The aim was to build the new Head Office in the style of Lancaster Castle, built by John of Gaunt when he was made first duke of Lancaster}.

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{The design is purely Norman. Flanked by two great towers at either end, with five round Norman arches and battlemented parapet the frontage to Norfolk street was described as “most impressive”. The building is constructed of Portland stone and Norwegian granite, and the interior décor is simple:

On three sides of the bank chamber the arched spaces are filled in with coloured panels representing shipping, trading and the arts. the glass ceiling is divided into compartments on each of which is shown the arms and devices of Lancashire boroughs}.

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Text abridged, and some images from FOUR CENTURIES OF BANKING © MARTINS BANK LIMITED 1968

1956 to 1965 Mr A L Gregory Accountant MBM-Su65P521965 02.jpgThe ill health which caused premature retirement at the end of March also prevented Mr Gregory, Accountant at Brown Street, Manchester, meeting the staff and others who had subscribed to his retirement gift. The Manager, Mr H. J. Southworth, with Mr Gregory's successor, Mr C. Knowles, called on their colleague at his home to hand him a cheque which carried with it the good wishes of everyonefor the future. They were pleased to find him very much better and now able to spend more time in his workshop which is very well equipped with tools of all sorts. Some of the gift money will add to his equipment. In retirement he and his wife will continue to live in their present home which stands on the hillside, 800 feet above his native town of Darwen. It was at Darwen branch that Mr Gregory entered the Bank in 1925 and he spent all his career at branches in the Manchester District. He received signing authority at Brown Street branch in 1956 and was appointed Accountant the same year.

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An entrance at either end, AND one in the middle! The Norfolk Street entrance leads to Martins Bank’s Manchester Trust Company Headquarters.

Brown Street Branch also houses training rooms and a large staff restaurant for use by the staff of the Manchester Branches.

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1800

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1960 to 1965 Mr H J Southworth Manager MBM-Su65P581965 02.jpgOn the evening of 30th April, in the Reform Club Manchester, a party was held to mark the retirement of Mr Southworth, Manager of Brown Street branch. After brief introductory remarks by the new Manager, Mr D. C. Reilly, Mr E. H. Priestley, who had entertained Mr Southworth to lunch earlier in the week, spoke of his pleasure at being asked to make the presentation in view of his earlier associations both with Mr Southworth and with the branch. Mr Southworth's long service in the centre of Manchester, said Mr Priestley, had made him one of the best-known managers in the city and he quoted from an old staff report, stressing the qualities of integrity and kindliness which had made John Southworth liked and respected throughout the service. He then presented a handsome leather-bound book bearing the Bank's coat-of arms and the names of 128 subscribers, and a bill of exchange drawn on Brown Street branch. After thanking Mr Priestley for his remarks Mr Southworth spoke about his early introduction to banking, adding that all his service, which began in 1922, had been spent in head offices or ex-head offices of Manchester banks: the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank and the Palatine Bank. As would be expected of John Southworth, he spoke of the store he laid by the value of the lasting friendships he had formed in the Bank. The money is to be used to buy a pair of binoculars which Mr Southworth will use in pursuing one of his life long interests— travel. During an extremely busy month Mr Southworth entertained his entire staff to a theatre outing to see 'The Red Navy', which was preceded by dinner and proved a memorable occasion. His first Bank appointment was in 1943 when he became an Inspector at District Office and two years later, he was appointed Manchester District Inspector. He moved to Brown Street branch as Sub Manager in 1952 and was appointed Manager in 1960.

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The grandeur of Brown Street might have faded a little since it was the Head Office of the Palatine Bank, but at least this lovely building still stands. Alan Thomond, who has taken a large number of “then and now” comparison photos for us, sees Brown Street Branch every time he donates blood at a nearby collection centre. The magnificent chinmeys are still in place, and look to us to be large enough to bring down the whole building in a strong wind. Luckily this replica of John O’ Gaunt’s Castle looks ready to survive at least another century…

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Image © Barclays Ref 30/1800

Image © 2016 Alan Thomond

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1900 to 1910 Mr J Froggatt eventually secretary of the Palatine Bank MBM-Au46P06.jpg

1904 to 1916 Mr C K Holden joined the bank here MBM-Wi48P48.jpg

1914 to 1932 Mr C Williamson joined the bank here MBM-Au59P55.jpg

1917 Mr W Odber joined the bank here MBM-Wi63P55.jpg

1920 to 1931 Mr F J Lees MBM-Su57P48.jpg

1920 to 1937 Mr E B Turner Joined the service here MBM-Au58P55.jpg

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Mr J Froggatt

Secretary of the Palatine Bank 1900 to 1910

Manager 1933 to 1934

Mr K C Holden

Joined the Bank Here

1904 to 1916

Mr C Williamson

Joined the Bank Here

1914 to 1932

Mr W Odber

Joined the Bank Here


Mr F J Lees

On the Staff

1920 to 1931

Mr E B Turner

Joined the Bank Here

1920 to 1937

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1922 Mr A G Mitchell joined the bank here MBM-Wi63P59.jpg

1923 Mr C N C Windle Joined the service HereMBM-Au46P17.jpg

1929 Mr W Kelly Pro Manager MBM-Su58P53.jpg

1932 to 1934 Mr F C Hardman MBM-Sp55P05.jpg

1933 to 1938 Mr F A A Beresford Accountant MBM-Au61P50.jpg

1934 to 1939 Mr GA Townsend joined the bank here MBM-Su65P06.jpg

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Mr A G Mitchell

Joined the Bank Here


Mr C N C Windle

Joined the Bank Here


Mr W Kelly

Pro Manager


Mr F C Hardman

On the Staff

1932 to 1934

Mr F A A Beresford


1933 to 1938

Mr G A Townsend

Joined the Bank Here

1934 to 1939

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1934 to 1946 Mr W W Hall Manager MBM-Su46P16.jpg

1938 to 1941  Mr E Barlow Accountant MBM-Su53P51.jpg

1941 to 1948 Mr J J Openshaw Accountant then Assistant Manager from 1947 MBM-Wi62P52.jpg

1946 Mr E H Brown Manager MBM-Su46P20.jpg

1946 to 1952 Mr A E Male MBM-Sp65P07.jpg

1947 to 1949 Mr E H Priestley Accountant MBM-Sp68P45.jpg

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Mr W W Hall


1934 to 1936

Mr E Barlow


1938 to 1941

Mr J J Openshaw


1941 to 1948

Mr E H Brown



Mr A E Male

On the Staff

1946 to 1952

Mr E H Priestley


1947 to 1949

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1949 to 1954 Mr W Watson Assistant Manager MBM-Au64P57.jpg

1954 to 1956 Mr A M Jackson Pro Manager MBM-Au64P04.jpg

1954 to 1963 Mr T Derbyshire with signing auth from Oct 1960 MBM-Sp63P45.jpg

1956 to 1965 Mr A L Gregory Accountant MBM-Su65P52.jpg

1960 to 1965 Mr H J Southworth Manager MBM-Su65P58.jpg

1961 to 1964 Mr G B Hibbert Sub Manager MBM-Wi64P08.jpg

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Mr W Watson

Assistant Manager

1949 to 1954

Mr A M Jackson

Pro Manager

1954 to 1956

Mr T Derbyshire

1954 to 1963 with

Signing Auth from 1960

Mr A L Gregory


1956 to 1965

Mr H J Southworth


1960 to 1965

Mr G B Hibbert

Sub Manager

1961 to 1964

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1963 to 1965 Mr C Knowles Ltd Auth then Accountant from 1965 MBM-Su65P04.jpg

1964 Mr K Atkinson Deputy Manager MBM-Wi64P08.jpg

1966 Mr G Allen Accountant MBM-Wi66P02.jpg

1967 to 1968 Mr M Haigh Deputy Manager MBM-Sp67P07.jpg

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Mr C Knowles

Limited Authority

1963 to 1965

Mr K Atkinson

Deputy Manager


Mr D C Reilly


1965 onwards

Miss Dorothy Gregory

First Cashier


Mr G Allan



Mr M Haigh

Deputy Manager

1967 to 1968

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1968 Mr A Meadowcroft Deputy Manager MBM-Au68P14.jpg

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Mr A Meadowcroft

Deputy Manager












Index Number and District:




Telegraphic Address:



Martins Bank Lmited 11-30-20 Manchester Brown Street

Full Branch

PO Box 345 22 Brown Street Manchester 02

506 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

BLAckfriars 1862/5

PALABANK Manchester

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D C Reilly Manager

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Manchester Brooks’s Bar

30 May 1910

30 December 1919

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

29 October 1971

Opened by the Palatine Bank

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-54-56 Manchester Brown Street


Manchester Burnage

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