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Branch Images © Barclays Ref 30-2808

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Martins Bank embarks on a Southwards expansion, including building its South Western District since the creation of Martins Bank Limited in 1928. Early in 1938 the Bank settles upon this attractive building in the High Street at Stourport on Severn. This proves to be a wise decision, and a banking service is still dispensed there today, by Barclays.  It takes until the final hours of Martins’ own independence for the Staff Magazine to visit Stourport, but finally the Spring 1969 issue carries the following report in which we learn some of the town, the Branch, the Manager, his staff, and a rubber plant…

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Discovering Stourport.jpg

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1969 01 MBM.jpgNo one could tell us very much about Stourport-on-Severn except that it was four miles from Kidderminster, had a population of 14,340 and that early closing day was Wednesday. This gave us an excellent excuse for going to pay our staff there a visit. The branch in the High Street was built in 1938 and bears a remarkable resemblance (externally, of course) to a Liverpool hostelry.  With a quick glance up at the sign to make sure this was the right place we went inside, stifling a whim to order 'an old and mild'.  Our manager, Mr James Alexander, regards his part of Worcestershire as 'the grandest part of Englandnext to the Lake District', but as a native of Barrow his qualifying remark is understandable. To prove his point he took us on a lightning tour of Stourport's front garden: through the picturesque river port of Bewdley with its church slap in the middle of the High Street, then into the countryside, following the Severn back towards Stourport. 

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Stourport Staff and their Mexican breadfruit (see below) James Alexander (Manager),

Wendy Pearson, Chris Dash, Delia Hunt and Stuart Thackaberry

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Everywhere in this landscape there are trees. And even in the bleakness of January there was colour: a vivid red beech hedge, stone houses and churches glowing pink in the weak winter sun, the purple and brown of leafless trees. This is the England of the Country Life picture books—if you can ignore the six huge power station chimneys which tower above Stourport. 'We were quite shattered when we came to take our first look at Stourport,' Mr Alexander said, 'but we soon found that first impressions can be very mis­leading.

 

Stourport is a mixture of everything, a point where the industrial Midlands meets rural Worcester­shire'. We drove back into the town over the iron arched bridge, built nearly one hundred years ago and still adequate to cope with today's traffic. To the right are the canal basins, the 'cut' which linked the Black Country with the Bristol Channel ports via the Severn and made Stourport a staging post for cargoes (and also a good pull-in for smugglers). Industrially the canal is dead but the basin now provides a haven for people who mess about in boats. Stourport is, in fact, a popular week-end resort with its attractive riverside promenade, pleasure boats and amusement arcades.  With the unfortunate exception of the power station Stourport's industries are cunningly concealed and Mr Alexander reeled off a surprising list: chains, porcelain, carpets, vinegar and wooden toys. Certainly there is more nere than meets the eye.

 

He pointed out the fine new buildings of the Civic Centre and the Workmen's Club. Next door to the branch we found irrefutable evidence of the town's prosperity—a site is being developed for Woolworth's. Coming from Barrow-in-Furness twenty years ago Mr Alexander went first to Walsall then to Burton upon Trent and Derby before arriving in Stourport in 1965. Here he has found many interests and has taken the town to his heart. He is vice-president of the Chamber of Trade and is a founder member and treasurer of the Civic Society. He explained a Rotary project aimed at establishing a day centre for Stourport's elderly folk where they can meet, get advice and even have chiro­pody treatment. Their target is £12,000 and when they hit it he'll be first to know—he's the treasurer. But in spite of his many honorary duties Mr Alexander still finds time for a game of golf at the Kidderminster Golf Club. Until recently he was captain of the Midland District Golfing Society.

 

1969 Strouport Mexican Breadfruit MBM-Sp69P05.jpgAnother man who likes to get around is Chris Dash. A west-countryman from Bath, he joined the Bank at Hoylake in the Wirral in 1956 and then for a time was at Liverpool Overseas. His career continued through the Midland District to his native South West and for eighteen months he was with the mobile branches Cricket and hockey are his main off-duty interests and he is a captain in the Royal Army Pay Corps Reserve. While not letting the grass grow under his feet he nevertheless regards Stourport as a happy stopping-off place. Wendy Pearson, who spends her time between the counter and her mighty machine, came to the branch in 1963 by way of Wednesbury and Kidderminster. She and her husband are members of the Stourport Boat Club where she is cox for the ladies crew. Fencing is another of her leisure activities, but in more peaceful mood she is currently attending pottery classes, her ambition being to make a set of dinner plates.

 

Stuart Thackaberry comes from Gloucester and joined the staff here as trainee in 1966. He has gradu­ated to the counter but insists that his main duty is to keep Chris Dash's car on the road. Motoring and tinkering with cars is his main pursuit but he is also something of an authority on jazz and folk music. Behind a pile of remittances we found Delia Hunt who has been with us for eighteen months and is, inevitably, Stourport's maid-of-all-work. Delia lives at Bewdley and her interest is riding. Before we left we had to find out the name of the intriguing plant in the banking hall: it is a Mexican breadfruit which grew almost from floor to ceiling before obligingly veering off to the left and thus avoiding horticultural and architectural complications. That evening the branch had arranged their belated Christmas party and we hoped our visit hadn't held them back too much. Nevertheless we were sure that they were going to enjoy themselves.

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1938 to 1940 and 1944 to 1965 Mr C W Tiplady Manager MBM-Wi65P55.jpg

1940 to 1944 Mr W H MacCormack Acting Manager MBM-Wi66P56.jpg

1948 to 1951 Mr CH Exley MBM-Wi65P04

1954 to 1956 Mr A E Rose joined the bank here MBM-Su69P14.jpg

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Mr C W Tiplady

On Staff 1938 to 1940

Manager 1944 to 1965

Mr W H MacCormack

Acting Manager

1940 to 1944

Mr C H Exley

On the Staff

1948 to 1951

Mr A E Rose

Joined the Bank Here

1954 to 1956

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1956 to 1957 Mr K S Potter  MBM-Su69P17

1965 to 1969 Mr JL Alexander Manager MBM-Wi65P05.jpg

1969 Chris Dash MBM-Sp69P05.jpg

1969 Delia Hunt MBM-Sp69P05.jpg

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Mr K S Potter

On the Staff

1956 to 1957

Mr J L Alexander

Manager

1965 onwards

Mr Chris Dash

On the Staff

1969

Miss Delia Hunt

On the Staff

1969

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1969 Stuart Thackaberry MBM-Sp69P05.jpg

1969 Wendy Pearson MBM-Sp69P05.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr Stuart Thackaberry

On the Staff

1969

Mrs Wendy Pearson

On the Staff

1969

Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-33-80 Stourport On Severn

Full Branch

42 High Street Stourport on Severn Worcestershire

571 Midland

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Stourport 2653

Nightsafe Installed

Mr J L Alexander Manager

16 March 1938

15 December 1969

2015

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-82-73 Stourport on Severn

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