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North Eastern Banking Company

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The North Eastern Banking Company opens its branch at 20 Fawcett Street Sunderland in 1889, some twenty-five years before the merger with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins that will see all of NEBC’s Branches becoming part of the modern day Martins Bank. Sunderland is home to a large number of Martins Branches.  The main branch is at Fawcett Street, with sub branches at GRANGETOWN, HENDON and WASHINGTON. CHESTER ROAD is another full branch, as are MILLFIELD with a sub branch at PALLION, MONKWEARMOUTH with a sub branch at FULWELL, and SOUTHWICK with no sub branches.  Of these ten branches, seven date back to the 1920s or before, and three are added in the 1960s in key business/shopping areas, to boost trade for the Bank.  Four are inherited from the merger with the North Eastern Banking Company in 1914, three are opened by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins, and three by Martins Bank Limited.  During 1964, Martins’ Branch at 20 Fawcett Street undergoes major renovations, and the business is transferred temporarily to no 56 Fawcett Street.  On 22 February 1965,  the branch is reopened to great local fanfare, with a full page feature in the local newpaper, the Sunderland Echo.  We are grateful to the Echo for the images above, and for the article reproduced further down this page.

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We are also indebted to Ward Philipson Photo Memories Archive for the external view of the newly rebuilt branch, and also the following image which shows the counter at Fawcett Street on the day it closed in 1963 to allow for the refurbishment of the Branch:

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Before – functional but showing its age


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After – more modern, bright and friendly

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection

1965 Re-opening of 20 Fawcett Street Newspaper Ad - Sunderland Echo D G Richardson MBA.jpg

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection

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February 1965



Extensive alterations were recently completed at the main Sunderland office of Martins Bank Limited Fawcett Street and customers can now enjoy the benefits of banking in the modern manner. As more and more people are finding the advantages of using a cheque book, so Martins Bank is pursuing a. policy of expansion, moderni­zation and development which extends from the use of computers to the rebuilding of branch offices.  While the whole concept of banking is changing, Bank architecture is changing too. Although Martins Bank has a long tradition of 400 years of banking experience, the modern interior design of the Sunderland Branch is entirely up-to-date, while retaining the dignity which has always been associated with the Bank’s architecture.




The improved interior of the Sunderland branch is in line with the Bank's policy of modernization which is being pursued throughout the country. The interior has been completely redesigned. The ground floor has been altered and extended and the rear premises have been completely rebuilt. The front upper floors have been retained and streng­thened but the front has been rebuilt with a steel-framed wall faced with Port­land stone above the first floor, and with South African and Cornish de Lank granite facings to the ground floor. Anodised aluminium double unit glazed windows and armour-plate doors are fitted to the front and a canopy, the sides of which are illuminated, is provided over the entrance doors. The Bank's name, in illumina­ted built-up lettering, and its crest in coloured fibre-glass are attached to the deep granite fascia. The large banking hall on the ground floor has an extensive counter with modern facilities for the cashiers and other officials. There is a separate department for overseas business and securities, and a consultation room. The banking hall has a ceramic mosaic floor, and the walls are finished in Australian walnut, coloured P.V.C., and wallpaper. The ceiling throughout the ground floor is of acoustic tiling with recessed modular light fittings. The fittings are mostly polished light oak with contrasting polished Australian walnut. The management rooms have polished teak built-in cupboards and furniture, fitted carpets, painted or grass cloth covered walls, and suspended acoustic-tiled ceilings. The first floor houses a typist’s room, large machine room and store. The rear portion of this floor is occupied by staff rooms.




1965 A M Elliott and G D Richardson in Mnagaer's Room Sunderland Echo 22FEBMBA.jpgIn 1963 Martins celebrated the 400th anniversary of the founding of the business at the sign of the Grasshopper at 68 Lombard Street, the Bank's principal London Office. The grasshopper, adopted as the Bank's emblem, was part of the family crest of Sir Thomas Gresham, who started a gold­smith's business in 1563, a year before Shakespeare's birth. The link between the business of goldsmith and banker was a logical one. The goldsmith needed a strong chest in which to store his stock-in-trade, -and it followed that colleagues and business associates came to him with their own valuables for safe keeping. Eventually Gresham began to lend money at the statutory interest rate, and Built up his cash deposits by offering interest to the depositors. As financial adviser to Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, he has the reputation of being the first English banker. The Grasshopper building and records were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, but the business survived. One of its first — and less reliable — customers was Charles II, who borrowed £300,000 and was unable to return it. Thomas Martin, who entered service at the Grasshopper in 1703, was probably the first to be exclusively a banker.  From this time onwards, the Martins Family was continuously associated with the business. The Bank became a limited company in 1891, and was acquired by the Bank of Liverpool in 1918 and renamed the Bank of Liverpool and Martins The title was shortened to its present form ten years later.      




Despite its background as one of the oldest banks in the country, Martins has been at the forefront of modern bank­ing developments. It was the first bank in the country to demonstrate the use of a computer for keep­ing customers' accounts, and was one of the first pioneers in the use of machine systems for cheque sorting and clear­ing operations. The first Martins Drive-In Bank was opened in Leicester in 1959.



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1957 to 1969 Mr A M Elliott Manager Sunderland Echo 22FEBMBA.jpg

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The Manager of the Sunderland branch of Martins Bank is Mr A. M. Elliott. Born in Liverpool and educated at the Liverpool Institute High School, Mr Elliott entered banking at Liverpool's Aigburth branch and later worked in the Inspection Department at Head Office.  Before becoming manager of the Sunderland branch in 1957, Mr Elliott had been a Pro Manager at Bristol, Manager at Speke and Hunts Cross branch in Liverpool, and Sub Manager at the important Heywoods Branch, Liverpool. Mr Elliott lives at Whitburn with his wife and four children. He is a member of the Sunder­land Club and the Whitburn Golf Club, and hon. treasurer of Sunderland (New Estates) Church Fund and the local branch of the Church of Eng­land Children's Society. Since November 1964, the assis­tant manager of the Sunder­land branch has been Mr G. D. Richardson, a native of South Shields.

1964 to 1966 Mr G D Richardson Assistant Manager MBM-Wi64P07.jpg

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Assistant Manager

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Mr Richard­son was educated at the South Shields High School and joined the Bank's East Boldon Branch in 1942. Between 1944 and 1947 he served in the R.A.F. and spent some of that time in Canada. He served at various branches and at the North Eastern District Office in Newcastle before becoming clerkincharge at a Gateshead branch and was then appointed promanager at the main Gateshead office. In 1961 he became an inspector at Liverpool District Office. Mr Richardson now lives in Cleadon with his wife and two children.  He is treasurer of the Sunderland and Durham Centre of the Institute of Bankers and of the Grindon and Havelock Hospitals League of Friends.

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Article Text and black and white images © Sunderland Echo 1965.


Forty-Five years of service…

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In our feature below, Mr R S Clark retires as Pro Manager of Sunderland Fawcett Street after an amazing forty-five years of service to the Bank.  These really are the days when “a job for life” is the norm!

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1950 01 MBM.jpg1950 Mr R S Clark Pro Manager and Chief Cashier MBM-Sp50P10.jpgAfter nearly 45 years' service, Mr. R. S. Clark, Pro Manager of Sunderland branch, retired on January 31st. Over forty of his present and former colleagues assembled to bid him farewell, including the managers of six neighbouring branches.  Mr. Mason, Manager of Sunderland branch, in making a presentation, expressed the wishes of all present for a long and happy retirement. Many messages of goodwill were received also from customers of the Bank. Mrs. Clark was presented with a handbag and Miss Norah Smith, senior lady clerk, handed her a bouquet.  Mr. Clark commenced his banking career in 1905 at Westgate Road branch, Newcastle upon Tyne. During the first World War he served in the Machine Gun Corps and from 1928 to 1935 was on the North-Eastern District Relief Staff before being appointed Pro Manager and Chief Cashier at Sunderland branch in 1935.

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1913 to 1927 Mr A E Mennear joined the bank here MBM-Su57P49.jpg

1919 Mr G R Tarn MBM-Au46P06.jpg

1932 to 1934 Mr G C Dresser Assistant Manager MBM-Sp50P06.jpg

1950 Mr R S Clark Pro Manager and Chief Cashier MBM-Sp50P10.jpg

1936 to 1944 Mr G H Bell Manager MBM-Wi49P12.jpg

1939 to 1940 Mr M A Charlton joined the bank here MBM-Au68P15.jpg

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Mr A E Mennear

Joined the Bank Here

1913 to 1927

Mr G R Tarn

On the Staff


Mr G C Dresser

Assistant Manager

1932 to 1934

Mr R S Clark

Pro Manager and Chief

Cashier 1935 to 1950

Mr G H Bell


1936 to 1944

Mr M A Charlton

Joined the Bank Here

1939 to 1940

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1940 to 1940 Mr J W Bellerby joined the bank hereMBM-Au65P02.jpg

1944 to 1947 Mr H Smurthwaite Pro Manager MBM-Su64P56.jpg

1946 to 1946 Mr R Russell 1952 to 1954 Accountant MBM-Au65P04.jpg

1947 to 1950 Mr W J Richardson Assistant Manager MBM-Su64P54.jpg

1947 to 1955 Mr V Young MBM-Su64P05.jpg

1950 to 1952 Mr K Young Assistant Manager MBM-Au65P59.jpg

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Mr J W Bellerby

Joined the Bank Here

1940 to 1940

Mr H Smurthwaite

Pro Manager

1944 to 1947

Mr R Russell

Staff 1946 to 1946

Accountant 1952-54

Mr W J Richardson

Assistant Manager

1947 to 1950

Mr V Young

On the Staff

1947 to 1955

Mr K Young

Assistant Manager

1950 to 1952

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1950 to 1957 Mr B Trewhitt Pro Manager from 1954 MBM-Su67P04.jpg

1951 to 1952 Mr E H Jackson Pro Manager MBM-Su64P06.jpg

1952 to 1962 Mr A M Parr Pro Manager from 1961 MBM-Sp65P08.jpg

1955 to 1958 Mr A Cheesebrough MBM-Au65P03.jpg

1958 to 1951 Mr A McDonald Manager MBM-Wi66P03.jpg

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Mr Ben Trewhitt

Pro Manager

1950 to 1957

Mr E H Jackson

Pro Manager

1951 to 1952

Mr A M Parr

Staff 1952 to 1961

Pro Manager 1961-62

Mr A Cheesebrough

On the Staff

1955 to 1958

Mr A M Elliott


1957 onwards

Mr A McDonald

On the Staff

1958 to 1961

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1958 to 1964 Mr H W Warwick Assistant Manager MBM-Wi64P06.jpg

1959 to 1961 Mr W Hunter Pro Manager MBM-Sp65P08.jpg

1962 to 1966 Mr T Shield Pro Manager MBM-Au66P05.jpg

1964 to 1966 Mr GD Richardson Assistant Manager MBM-Wi64P07.jpg

1965 to 1967 Mr LW Alexander Assistant Manager MBM-Sp66P03.jpg

1966 Mr R W Read pro Manager MBM-Au66P03.jpg

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Mr H W Warwick

Assistant Manager

1958 to 1964

Mr W Hunter

Pro Manager

1959 to 1961

Mr T Shield

Pro Manager

1962 to 1966

Mr G D Richardson

Assistant Manager

1964 to 1966

Mr L W Alexander

Assistant Manager

1965 to 1967

Mr R W Read

Pro Manager


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1966 Valerie Fenwick Accounts MBM-Sp66P44.jpg

1967 Mr CD Scurr Assistant Manager MBM-Au67P06.jpg

1967 Mr M Cushing pro Manager MBM-Wi67P05.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Miss Valerie Fenwick



Mr C D Scurr

Assistant Manager


Mr M Cushing

Pro Manager








Index Number and District:






11-40-80 Sunderland

Full Branch

PO Box 42 20 Fawcett Street Sunderland County Durham

361 North Eastern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Sunderland 70681/4

Nightsafe Installed

Mr A M Elliott Manager

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Sub Branches


11-40-80 HENDON


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2 January 1889

7 August 1914

18 December 1918

3 January 1928


22 February 1965

15 December 1969

14 January 1983


Opened by North Eastern Banking Company

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Martins Bank Limited

Closed and moved temporarily to 56 Fawcett Street

Re-opened at 20 Fawcett Street

Barclays Bank Limited 20-83-70 Sunderland 20 Fawcett Street

Closed and business transferred to Barclays 53 Fawcett Street

Estate Agency

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