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Martins Bank 1928+

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Although the 1950s sees a push to open Branches in the Southern half of England and Wales, Martins Bank is still keen to fill in gaps in its existing Northern Portfolio of Branches; so in December 1953 it arrives in Wilmslow, amid a cluster of its own Branches situated in nearby towns and villages, completing another part of a network of outlets in Cheshire.  Martins Bank Magazine visits the new Branch early in 1954 - about three months after it first opens for business – where the talk seems to focus more upon the Wartime service of the staff than about the Branch itself…

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1953 Wilmslow Exterior BGA Ref 30-3221

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/3221

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1954 02 MBM.jpgWe went to Wilmslow on March 25th. From what we can make out the Bank has been considering the idea of opening in Wilmslow for nearly forty years, it being about the only important residential and Manchester dormitory area south of the city in which we lacked direct representation. However, the onset of two wars with resulting diffi­culties played a large part in delaying the decision to open a Branch there and it was only towards the end of 1953 that the new premises were finally ready. At first sight the premises seem to be entirely new but a thick outer wall in the manager's room is a fragment of the Grove Inn, an ancient coaching house, 150 years old, which stood upon the site.  The name of the inn was painted high up on the out­side wall and was subsequently obscured with black paint. At times, however, in a certain light it is still possible to make out the lettering underneath. Another relic of times gone by is an old well in the yard at the rear of our premises, a well to which the residents had, and still have, the right of access.


1954 Wilmslow Staff MBM-Su54P20.jpgWe were sad to see that the march of progress has left it with a big flagstone blocking its mouth, the centre of a dump of builders' rubble. Lt needs a small enclosed garden to set it off. Mr. Frank Openshaw entered the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank at Spring Gardens in 1925 and subsequently served at Bury, Elton, Whitefield and Besses o' th' Barn before joining the R.A.F. in the Second World War. He had an interesting and unusual military career, being a member of the landing force which attacked and occupied Madagascar.He subsequently served in East Africa, Kenya and Tanganyika and quite made us forget our proximity to Manchester by his entrancing description of the Mau Mau country round Nyeri, with a day temperature of between 80 and 90 degrees, falling to 50 degrees at night; an adequate rainfall, scenery like Scotland, and abundance of fishing and shooting, nature study and wild life. Servants for £2 a month, an adequate white social life; in fact, an earthly paradise (until the Mau Mau came) for a man retiring on a pension of about £800 a year. It quite unsettled us. We have often in the past touched on the background to the Branch life and we know that it will make the mouths of many of our gardening colleagues water to learn that Mr. Openshaw's new garden has a natural stream running through it, and he and Mrs. Openshaw are busy con­structing a combined rock and water garden which should one day be a showpiece.

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1953 Wilmslow Interior 1 BGA Ref 30-3221

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/3221

1953 Wilmslow Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-3221

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/3221


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They also have two commercial-size greenhouses on the large piece of land belonging to their new home. Mr. Openshaw received his first appointment as Clerk-in-Charge at Besses o' th' Barn in 1946, and after a spell in District Office in 1948 became Manager at Moston in 1949. His second man is Mr. G. A. Townsend, who entered the Bank in 1934 and whose previous experience includes Brown Street and Portland Street. During the war he served with the Royal Artillery and was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the first siege of Tobruk. He is now serving with the T.A., Anti-Aircraft. The third member of the staff is Miss Jean Connell, whose previous experience includes Manchester Trustee Dept., District Office Relief Staff and Cheetham. Under the careful tuition of Mr. Openshaw and Mr. Townsend she is receiving in addition to her bank training a first class training in Domestic Science and can prepare a Lancashire Hot Pot with the best! We were also pleased to meet Mr. W. Barson, from Spring Gardens, on relief at the Branch just for the day of our visit, a thoughtful gesture on the part of District Office. We have often been intrigued by the indefinable ' atmosphere' of a Branch, a thing to which we are especially sensitive.

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WilmslowOnly towards the close of our visit to Wilmslow were we given the clue to the undoubtedly happy spirit prevailing there. It came in the form of an anecdote about the day the Branch opened. The staff had worked late the previous night getting everything ready, the cleaner tidying up as the workmen retreated and, everything being spick and span she was told not to come on the following morning. However, on arrival the following morning Mr. Openshaw found the whole place covered with a thick layer of fresh dust, while something had gone wrong with the telephone and the gas stove wasn't working and a little party to celebrate the opening was imminent. In the absence of the cleaner, Mr. Openshaw set about doing the cleaning himself while Mr. Townsend went out to see the telephone people and Miss Connell went to arrange for the refreshments. In due course the District General Manager arrived and on learning of the situation took off his coat and gave a hand with the cleaning. That started Wilmslow on the right road and that spirit of cheerful service is what is going to make a success of this Branch.

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1954 Mr Frank Openshaw Manager MBM-Su54P20.jpg

1954 Mr GA Townsend Branch Second MBM-Su65P06.jpg

1954 Miss Jean Connell MBM-Su54P20.jpg

1954 Mr W Barson Manchester District Relief Staff MBM-Su54P20.jpg

BW Logo

``BW Logo

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Mr Frank Openshaw



Mr G A Townsend

Branch Second


Miss Jean Connell

On the Staff


Mr W Barson

Manchester District

Relief Staff 1954






Index Number and District:






11-48-90 Wilmslow

Full Branch

34 Grove Street Wilmslow Cheshire

794 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Wilmslow 24267

Nightsafe Installed

Mr W E T Keil Manager

Sub Branches


 December 1953

15 December 1969

21 January 1972


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-96-70 Wilmslow 34 Grove Street

Closed and moved to 59 Grove Street

Ladies Fashion Outlet

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