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1895 is a very busy year for the North Eastern Banking Company, which opens new offices at Gateshead 338 High St, Corbridge, Sedgefield, Stanley and Hartlepool Church Street.   Often desribed as “church-like”, 71 Church Street Hartlepool makes it through the merger with Barclays in 1969, but is closed less than four years later.  Martins Bank has a second branch in the town, at York Road, and this fares a little better, closing in 1978.  When Martins Bank Magazine visits Hartlepool in 1969, they discover that the stereotypes of the town being drab and grey are in fact true…

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Image © Barclays Ref 0030-1201

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1969 01 MBM.jpggrimy buildings, tall chimneys belching black smoke, nickering orange flames of burning waste gases in the distance, grey skies, wet pavements: this is the mental image conjured up by many people when the industrial North East is mentioned. And on the January day of our visit to Hartlepool that is just what we saw. There are, however, compensations. The bracing wind off the North Sea blows the industrial smoke away from the town, the streets are clean and litter-free, there are no parking meters and few yellow lines.

 

A big new shopping precinct is in course of construction and, best of all, beautiful sandy beaches lie on the edge of the town. Two yacht clubs offer water ski-ing and skin-diving, and though the sea is seldom warm enough for bathing, the new atomic power station soon to be built will raise the temperature of the water eight to ten degrees it is said. Add the proposal to construct high grassy banks behind the shore to shut off the view of the steelworks on the other side of the road, and Hartlepool will become an ideal resort.

 

At one time there were two separate boroughs - Hartlepool (known as Old Hartlepool) and West Hartlepool - but in 1967 they were amalgamated under the name of the older community. The Venerable Bede, who died in 732, mentioned Hartlepool, then known as Hereteu, in the first-ever history of the English.

 

All Saints Church, Stranton, once set by a village green, now in the middle of the town, has records going back to 1028. The manor of Stranton was sold to Sir Thomas Gresham in 1562, the year before he founded his London banking business which ultimately became Martins Bank. Looking at a new publication Life in Hartlepool we saw this quotation: 'I found more friendliness in Hartlepool than anywhere else in the North East'.

 

We can't speak for the whole of the North East, as our experience is rather limited, but we feel sure that if the authoress had visited our branch in Church Street she would have had no cause to alter her opinion. From the time we rang the front door bell we felt welcome. We were greeted by Alison Eves, who ran round from the side entrance to offer us safe conduct past the security screening and through the main office into Mr Jackson's room.

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Tony Jackson's career has been spent in the North East and he was Manager at Millfield before his appoint­ment at Hartlepool eighteen months ago. He told us that as the branch has an extensive connection with the shipping world he quite often visits vessels calling at the port, although they are not usually very large ones. He is able to keep up his golf at the fine course nearby and continues his interest in boys' clubs at the local branch of the Association and by administrative work for the sea cadets. The latter interest is enthusiastically shared by his Pro Manager, Alastair McLean, who was formerly in the Merchant Navy and holds his chief officer's ticket. He hopes to take some of the fifty boys to Denmark in their motor vessel when his appointment as lieutenant is confirmed. In the meantime he is busy preparing to move to a larger house and consequently is discovering the difficulties involved in the installation of central heating.

 

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After Alison had provided a good cup of strong coffee we moved out to meet the rest of the staff. We stopped by the typewriter where Ann Carter promptly took us under her wing. Had the magazine sponsored a beauty contest (as some of our competitors have done) in our opinion Ann would have been a strong contender for the title of Miss Martins Bank. She travels the ten miles from her home in Easington every day in the Morris Oxford belonging to colleague Malcolm Donaldson, who lives even further out at Seaham. He is busy studying for part II of the bankers' exams, having passed part I in one year. He entered the Bank in 1967 and after a junior and a cashier's course found himself almost immediately on a securities course. He now helps with the securities work and the not amount of foreign business. Looking after the machine statements was Andrea Whitehead who joined the Bank straight from school nearly eighteen months ago. She told us she plays badminton at the new sports stadium at Billingham, where one can also swim, skate or fence. Andrea's fellow machinist was Jill Brown, married last August and now settled into her new bungalow. Jill is a sun-worshipper and in the summer seizes every opportunity to go to the beach.

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As the WEST Hartlepool Branch of the Bank of

Liverpool and Martins Limited, ca 1920.

A generic advertisement for the Bank’s Annual Results at december 1932,

with reference to the two Branches of Martins Bank in Hartlepool

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Images – Martins Bank Archive Collection

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The counter is run by Sylvia MacRae and Sue Tiplady. We had to wait until the cash was balanced before we could chat to Sue, as she was kept busy attending to the customers all day, which suits her very nicely, thank you. A country girl at heart, her family came from Penrith some years ago but they all visit tin-Lakes often at weekends as it is only a couple of hours by car. Sue unfortunately was off with flu by the time the photographer called at the branch and unable lo say cheese with the rest of the staff. Sylvia, who is first cashier, spends her Saturday afternoons at the rugby ground when her husband, chosen twice to represent Durham County, is playing at home.

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HartlepoolSylvia is very knowledgeable about the game and says she doesn't notice the cold as the excitement keeps her warm, even though she doesn't shout much. Before leaving we looked round the office for possible backgrounds to the staff photograph and noted with regret that the most striking features are well above head level. The ceiling of the manager's room is reminiscent of Wedgwood china—a similar blue with white plaster ornamentation in an oval pattern—while in the main office the colour is a dark olive green with the same white corbels. A glass dome rises in the centre with plaster cherubs' heads and stained glass panels in an open fan shape decorating the walls at intervals. The staff claim this is Mr Weatherill's favourite office, though maybe he is prejudiced, Hartlepool being his birthplace.  But we could see why one little girl has been heard to exclaim: ‘Mummy, you said we were going to the bank, not to church’…

 

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1914 to 1916 Mr A Cummin joined the bank herer MBM-Au59P52.jpg

1915 to 1917 Mr S W Fawcett joined the bank here MBM-Wi57P46.jpg

1916 Mr A B hindmarsh joined the bank here MBM-Au55P35.jpg

1942 to 1943 Mr R W Read joined the bank here MBM-Au66P03.jpg

1947 to 1958 Mr E T Punshon Manager MBM-Sp58P50.jpg

1955 to 1957 Mr J D Grabham Pro Manager MBM-Wi68P06.jpg

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Mr A Cummin

Joined the Bank Here

1914 to 1916

Mr S W Fawcett

Joined the Bank Here

1915 to 1917

Mr A B Hindmarsh

Joined the Bank Here

1916

Mr R W Read

Joined the Bank Here

1942 to 1943

Mr E T Punshon

Manager

1947 to 1958

Mr J D Grabham

Pro Manager

1955 to 1957

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1958 to 1967 Mr F Robinson Manager  MBM-Au67P49.jpg

1960 to 1963 Mr JF Knowles Pro Manager MBM-Au64P03.jpg

1963 to 1967 Mr R W Rand Pro Manager MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

1967 Mr AA McLean Pro Manager MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

1967 Mr AW Jackson Manager MBM-Au67P04.jpg

1969 Alison Eves MBM-Sp69P32-3.jpg

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Mr F Robinson

Manager

1958 to 1967

Mr J F Knowles

Pro Manager

1960 to 1963

Mr R W Rand

Pro Manager

1963 to 1967

Mr A A Mclean

Pro Manager

1967

Mr A W Jackson

Manager

1967 onwards

Alison Eves

On the Staff

1969

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1969 Andrea Whitehead MBM-Sp69P32.jpg

1969 Ann Carter MBM-Sp69P32-3.jpg

1969 Jill Brown MBM-Sp69P32-3.jpg

1969 Malcolm Donaldson MBM-Sp69P32-3.jpg

1969 Susan Tiplady 1st Cashier MBM-Sp69P33.jpg

1969 Sylvia MacRae MBM-Sp69P32-3.jpg

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Andrea Whitehead

On the Staff

1969

Ann Carter

On the Staff

1969

Jill Brown

On the Staff

1969

Malcolm Donaldson

On the Staff

1969

Susan Tiplady

First Cashier

1969

Sylvia McRae

On the Staff

1969

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index No and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-31-90 Hartlepool

Full Branch

71/72 Church Street Hartlepool

368 North Eastern

Mon-Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Hartlepool 2722

Night Safe Installed

Mr A W Jackson

1895

7 August 1914

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

30 November 1973

Currently

opened by the North Eastern Banking Company

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Lmited 20-37-39 Hartlepool 71-72 Church Street

Closed

Beauty Salon

Gutinfo.jpgR