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Martins Bank 1928+

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Swindon joins the now burgeoning South Western district of Martins Bank early in 1964.  It is the last of four branches to be opened in Wiltshire, and only the second full Branch.  The bank has a full branch at Salisbury with a sub at Salisbury Cattle Market, and a self accounting sub-Branch at Calne, which by virtue of its geography is looked after by Bath.  As Martins Bank Magazine reports, optimism is high, as are two of the Swindon staff who stand atop the roof of the new building in March 1964…

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1964 Swindon Exterior RAA CN Frost MBA.jpg

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection

'Topping-Out' at Swindon

1964 Topping Out Ceremony at Branch on 9th May MBM-Su64P50.jpgSep 1.jpg

1964 02 MBM.jpgOn Tuesday, March 9th, a rather pleasant custom which has its origin in ancient ritual was observed at our new Swindon premises now under construction: a 'Topping-Out' ceremony was held to cele­brate the completion of the main structure and roof. The ceremony calls for refreshment to be provided by the client for all involved with the building, including the architect, the contractor and his men.  The venue is normally the topmost part of the building but owing to the sloping roof this would have been a rather dangerous operation for so many so it was held on the flat roof of the single-storey portion at the rear. The Bank was represented by Mr D. E. Brewis (Superintendent of Branches) and Mr C. J. Wall of District Office. So that tradition should be observed as closely as possible Mr Brewis and Mr Wall, much to the amusement of onlookers, made a difficult ascent up an extremely shaky ladder to be photographed on the very pinnacle of the roof…

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1964 03 MBM.jpg

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when in 1840 Daniel Gooch advised Brunel to build the Great Western Railway Workshops at the foot of the Swindon hill, what had been little more than a village was destined to become a town. Until a few years ago Swindon was so much a railway town that newly arrived housewives had to accustom themselves to the query from shopkeepers and neighbours 'Is your husband inside?' To Swindonians 'inside' meant 'working for the Railway' and not, as elsewhere, 'in jail'. As the township expanded it remained divided between Old Swindon, on the hill, and Swindon New Town below.

1964 Swindon Interior MBM-Au64P26.jpg

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1964 Swindon Staff MBM-Au64P27.jpgSwindon the new branch in Wiltshire.jpgThough some overlapping was inevitable the development has left a peculiar lopsidedness with the centre - Old Swindon - on the edge of a bustling community.  The decline of the railway has been offset by industrial expansion, with the factories of Plessey, Pressed Steel and Vickers, along with many light industries, easing the redundancy of the railway workers, and it seemed to us as we walked through the town to our new branch in Regent Circus that London voices already heavily out-numbered those of Wiltshire. Swindon's population has now reached 110,000 and within a few years will increase by 85,000.


Our new office comprises the ground floor and basement of a brand new building - airy, tastefully decorated, with ample room for expansion - on an excellent site. When we arrived a few teething troubles were responding to treatment under the supervisory eye of Mr D. J. Crellin, our Manager, and although his branch had been open for only a fortnight we soon realised that he had got off to a good start with, as usual, the utmost co-operation from his District Office. On reading Mr Crellin's earlier career else­where in this issue, nobody will be surprised that his optimism is focussed not only on Swindon as it is and will be, but on the fact that this booming industrial town is set in a thriving world of agriculture.


1964 Swindon Locano Ballroom.jpgMr R. H. Shorland, who entered the service in 1954, was temporarily on loan to another branch when we called. His banking career has covered the Bristol branches, Bath, and a spell on relief duties and in his absence we met Mr H. J. Ellwood of the Relief Staff who was making the most of the evenings by sampling the Swindon golf courses. The other members of the staff are Mr C. N. Frost, a native of Torquay who came from Paignton branch, Miss A. S. Rugg who previously spent nine months at Calne branch, and Miss C. M. Sheppard who joined the new branch direct from college. Before returning to London we had dinner with Mr Crellin and explored the older part of the town where much still remains to remind one of more leisured times and where one can sense the resistance to the commercialism and industrialisation in which it has been caught up.  When we came upon the old Corn Hall drowsing against the trees in the square in the warm evening sun we were not really surprised that it had become the Locarno Ballroom. And when we noticed the inscription on the stonework above the door we felt some sympathy for Old Swindon. The old days will not return, progress will continue, and eventually the old and the new will work together. But just at present it must seem to many people that energy and enterprise are synonymous with brashness and bingo.

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1964 Mr D J Crellin Manager MBM-Au64P04.jpg

1964 R H Shorland MBM-Sp68P06.jpg

1964 Miss C M Sheppard Joined the Bank Here MBM-Au64P27.jpg

1964 Mr C N Frost MBM-Au64P27.jpg

1964 Miss A S Rugg MBM-Au64P27.jpg

BW Logo

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Mr D J Crellin

On the Staff


Mr R H Shorland

Branch Second


Miss C M Sheppard

Joined the Bank Here


Mr C N Frost

On the Staff


Miss A S Rugg

On the Staff



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Index Number and District:






11-47-80 Swindon

Full Branch

37 Regent Circus Swindon Wiltshire

184 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Swindon 21207/8

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D J Crellin Manager

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15 December 1969

10 September 1984


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-84-54 Swindon Civic Centre


Insurance Broker and Offices

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