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Martins Bank 1928+

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image054The 1950s sees the concerted Southwards expansion of Martins Bank with the addition of some of its most modern branch buildings.  The numerous banking amalgamations that have taken place over more than one hundred years in the North of the country have provided old and traditional branch buildings, and by the late 1950s, many of these will need attention to keep them fit for use.  

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1954 Luton News Branch opens Announcement - BNA MBA.jpg

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Newspaper Advertisement: Luton News and Bedford Chronicle 16 April 1954

Image © Northcliffe Media Limited Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

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In the South however, new “shop front” style branches are opened, and occasionally a building of more substance, like this one at Luton, comes along. The doors open for the first time in 1954.White stonework is a favourite with Martins, especially when it can’t obtain the preferred option of a corner aspect. Pillars are always a bonus, along with grand windows with the bank’s name etched upon them. The overall effect in the South of England is that a progressive bank is “coming to a town near you, and soon”. This, coupled with Martins’ reputation for being fair and listening to its customers, causes the opposition to sit up and take notice.

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Sadly, Barclays already has a Branch in Luton, at 47 Park Street, and when the two Banks merge at the end of 1969, the Martins Branch is marked for closure. This is achieved early in 1970.  Back in 1957, Martins Bank Magazine goes to Luton to see how the branch is faring, and their article starts by getting some of Luton’s percieved stereotypes out of the way…

 

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Image © Barclays Ref 0033/0353

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Image © Barclays Ref 0033/0353

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1955 Luton view in front of counter with office BGA Ref 33-353.jpg1957 03 MBM.jpgStraw hats, Vauxhall motor cars, the Luton Girls' Choir, 'Luton Hoo—we set out for Luton on May 22nd with these four associated ideas about Luton as a basis on which to build further impressions of the place.  The town is very much bigger than we had imagined and now numbers about 114,000 people, the majority of whom are non-Lutonian. Architecturally it is an ugly town with only one building of note, the Town Hall, built just before the war.  This rather fine building dominates the main street and there is the promise that within the next ten years some old unsightly property in the centre will be pulled down.The hat-making industry, no longer concerned with straw, does not obtrude on the public notice as do the kilns in the Potteries or the carpet weaving factories in Kidderminster.  Though scattered throughout the side streets of the town in every kind of likely and unlikely building the very nature of the industry makes for unobtrusiveness and until the location of these businesses is pointed out to one by a knowledgeable person one does not realise the nature of the activity going on behind blacked windows of converted buildings. So far as Vauxhall Motors are concerned, one's attention is drawn to this vast factory outside the town by the glitter of sunlight on glass and metal of the new cars parked in open spaces all around the works. To no small extent the overgrowth of Luton is due to Vauxhall Motors. The overgrowth is apparent in various ways. Hotel accommodation is tight, the need for town planning is everywhere felt and the expansion of residential building seems enormous in relation to the size of the original town. Certain amenities normally associated with a town of this size are lacking as yet: for ex­ample, the Luton Girls' Choir cannot perform in its home town for lack of a suitable hall. Incidentally, the origin and growth of this choir is a story in itself and is a wonderful example of what can be achieved in stan­dard of performance and esprit de corps by the energy and enthusiasm of one man.  Much other industry is con­centrated in the area—English Electric, Electrolux—to mention only two well known names, yet a few minutes outside and one is in lovely country with the attraction of nearby places of world-wide renown—Luton Hoo, home of the Wernher family and of the South African diamond merchant who married a Russian princess; Woburn Abbey, home of the Duke of Bedford, and Whipsnade Zoo. 

 

1955 Luton view from behind counter BGA Ref 33-353.jpg

1955 Luton view from behind counter and clock BGA Ref 33-353.jpg

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Mr. K. F. Carlisle opened the branch in April 1954 and in the short space of three years has built a most thriving little business. Mr. Carlisle entered the Bank in 1929 in the old Head Office, going to Breck Road the following year. In 1932 he went to the Northern District in which he served for varying periods at Lancaster, Grange over Sands and Kendal. In 1939 he went to London Foreign branch and from 1941 to 1946 he served with H.M. Forces, returning to London Foreign. In 1950 he was transferred to Lombard Street and served there until his appointment to Luton. We first got to know him in connection with the Cicala Players and were interested to read in a recent Luton paper that he has maintained his active interest in the amateur theatrical world.

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His second-in-command is Mr. F. C. Rouse whose entire service since his entry into the Bank in 1937 has been performed at branches in the London District—Lombard Street, District Office, Richmond, Soho Square and Kingsway. Number three is Mr. R. F. Gann, whose previous service includes Ludgate Circus and Brighton. He entered the Bank in 1951. Miss A. D. Solly represents the female staff. A Luton girl, Miss Solly entered the Bank when the branch was opened, after previous business experience with an insurance company.  We were also pleased to meet Mr. S. H. Vogt, on relief on the day of our visit.  Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle came to the station to meet us and after visiting the branch, we were taken on a short tour of the town before lunch in order to allow of our forming an opinion of the place. After lunch there was just time for a visit to Luton Hoo to see the art collection and the famous gardens. 

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We were interested to read the inscription on a brass plate affixed to the stonework in front of the house which states that in 1948 Sir Winston Churchill from that spot addressed a crowd of 110,000 people assembled on the lawns in front of the house. Then home with Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle for tea and to meet their two children. One of the main attractions of their pleasant home is a river running at the bottom of their garden. To find such a secluded and attractive feature in a suburban garden is as unusual as it is pleasing and is fully appreciated by every member of the family, especially the children.Mrs. Carlisle served with the W.A.A.F. during the war, spending several years in Cairo and Palestine. We were sorry to have to leave Luton with so many attractions still unexplored, but we have promised ourselves a return visit at some future date.

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1954 Mr K F Carlisle opened branch as Manager MBM-Au67P43.jpg

1954 Miss A D Solly Joined the Bank Here MBM-Au57P23.jpg

1957 Mr FC Rouse MBM-Sp66P07.jpg

1957 Mr R F Gann MBM-Au57P23.jpg

1957 Mr S H Vogt London Relief Staff MBM-Au57P23.jpg

1962 to 1966 Mr SW Street  MBM-Su66P03.jpg

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Mr K F Carlisle

Opened this Branch as

Manager 1954 to ?

Miss A D Solly

Joined the Bank Here

1954

Mr F C Rouse

Branch Second

1957

Mr R F Gann

Branch Number 3

1957

Mr S G Vogt

London District

Relief Staff 1957

Mr S W Street

On the Staff

1962 to 1966

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1963 Miss M C Hills Cashier MBM-Wi63P42.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Miss M C Hills

Cashier

1963

 

 

 

 

 

Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-73-50 Luton

Full Branch

9 Manchester Street Luton Bedfordshire

467 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Luton 29461

Nightsafe Installed

Mr A Guthrie Manager

Thursday 22 April 1954

19 January 1970

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and Business transferred to Barclays Luton Park Street

Currently

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