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Martins Bank 1928+

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Nestling on the South Coast, somewhere between Brighton and Eastbourne, is the lovely old town of Walmington on Sea. Martins Bank’s Branch is opened there in 1936.  Largely unspoilt for decades after the Second World War, Walmington on Sea plays a surprising part in the conflict, as do the staff of the Branch there - three of whom work hard for the Bank during the day, and for their Country at night and weekends.  We meet the staff of the branch and learn more about life there, from Martins Bank Magazine’s 1947 visit to Walmington on Sea…

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Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection

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1947 03 MBM.jpgWhen journeying to the furthest outposts of the Bank, we are always delighted by the welcome we receive, and it makes us proud to know that we are all part of one big happy family.  Our trip to the south coast ended on 24TH June  and having already taken in the sights and sounds of the towns that host our Branches at Worthing, Bexhill, Brighton and Eastbourne, we made the quaint old seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea our final port of call.  As we drove along the high street, past Stead and Simpson’s, Timothy Whites, the butcher’s and the greengrocer’s, we felt already at home, almost as if Walmington was OUR town – which has to be the best advertisement for anywhere, we think! At the end of the high street stands our Branch, a rather unassuming red-brick building with a corner entrance, and the golden grasshopper of the South hangs at right-angles to the longest wall.   We were greeted by Miss King, the only girl at the Branch, who divides her time between the secretarial work of the Branch, and assisting at the counter as required. 

Dad's Army - Martins Bank side view

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The Branch occupies a corner spot…

© 1971 Columbia/United Artists –

Caution, see copyright notice at foot of page.

Miss King is a delightful local girl, who really brightens up the place.  Frank Pike is the cashier, and we couldn’t help but notice that he knew the name and the business  of every customer that passed through the doors whilst we were there.  Our Chief Clerk is the Honourable Mr Arthur Wilson, known to all as a true gentleman, and we were indeed impressed by the way in which communication between Chief Clerk and our Manager, Mr George Mainwaring, kept the Branch running s­o smoothly.  We discovered the secret of such harmony lay in the parts played by our staff in the last conflict.  Mr Mainwaring established the local Home Guard Platoon, in which he held the rank of Captain.  He was ably assisted by Mr Wilson as his Sergeant.  Many of the proprietors of local businesses also numbered amongst the ranks.  As he was too young to join up at the time, Mr Pike, whom we are sure on several occasions we heard referred to by Mr Mainwairing as “that useful boy” or some such, also joined the home guard.  

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Walmington on Sea Staff

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Walmington on Sea Staff outside the Branch

© 1971 Columbia/United Artists

Caution, see copyright notice at foot of page.

This situation was of benefit not only to the Country, but also to the Bank, as unlike so many of our Branches, Walmington was able to stay open and in service throughout the war.  In 1941 Mr Wilson attained the managership of his own Branch at Eastgate, but the building unfortunately sustained such damage from bombing, that the Bank was minded to close the Branch altogether, and return Mr Wilson to his old job – all of which he simply took in his stride. We had the good fortune not only to take an excellent lunch with Mr Mainwairing, but at his invitation, to also be accommodated for the night, before the long drive back to Liverpool.  This sounded much more agreeable to us than the thought of a night at the Clifftop Hotel, and after an early evening stroll taking in the air, and a visit to the Novelty Rock Emporium, we enjoyed the Mainwarings’ delightful hospitality.  Having spent such an agreeable time in the company of Mr Mainwairing, and his charming wife Elizabeth, we feel sure it won’t be long before we find the excuse to go “down south” again for the Summer.

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Down memory lane…

 

Mr Mainwairing will probably consider himself lucky to have retired from banking before computers and account numbers became all the rage, and he will most likely find it good to see again one of the older and more traditional Martins Bank cheques, from Walmington-on-Sea Branch. Those were the days when a customer was known by his or her face, and by the way he or she signed cheques and forms...

 

Walmington on Sea Cheque

 

It sticks out half a mile!

At the end of 1947 Mr Mainwaring retired and spent a short time travelling abroad.  He worked for a while inspecting cuckoo clocks in Switzerland, before returning to the UK.  Upon hearing the plight of the old pier at Frambourne-on-sea, Mr Mainwairing was unexpectedly reunited with his former Chief Clerk Mr Wilson who by that time was manager of Martins Bank at Frambourne.  Thanks to a loan from the Bank, Mr Mainwairing was able to persuade the local council to sell him the pier, and work began in earnest to restore it to its pre-war glory.

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1967 Mr CR Mills pro Manager MBM-Sp67P03.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr J Speak

(Huddersfield) as

Mr George Mainwaring

Manager

Mr A E Mennear

(Sunderland) as

The Hon Arthur Wilson

Chief Clerk

Mr C R Mills

(Head Office)

as Mr Frank Pike

Cashier

Miss A L Haswell

(Westminster)

as Miss King

Cashier

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-55-80 Walmington on Sea

Full Branch

High Street Walmington on Sea Sussex

495 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

WALmington on Sea 325

Nightsafe Installed

Mr G Mainwaring Manager (until 1947)

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1 April 1936

12 December 1969

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and Business moved to Barclays Bank Eastbourne

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE

 

Please remember that whilst every other Branch of Martins Bank is real, Martins’ Branch at Walmington-on-Sea definitely is NOT, and is celebrated here out of the affection we have for the role played by Martins in the 1971 film version of “Dad’s Army”, and the early episodes of the TV series where Martins Bank is mentioned by name.

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Martins Bank Archive is required to remind all visitors to this site, that the images, character and place names used on this page remain at all times the absolute property of the respective copyright holders, and to point out that at no time has or will this property be used by Martins Bank Archive for any form of financial gain.  Film images courtesy of Norcon Productions, Columbia/United Artists Copyright 1971.  The story of Mr Mainwaring’s purchase of Frambourne pier is taken from the 1981 radio comedy pilot “It sticks out half a mile” written by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles, starring Arthur Lowe and John le Mesurier. Sadly, Arthur Lowe was too ill to continue with this series, and it was remade with the character of Mr Wilson taking the lead.

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