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image082The merger with Barclays might well be about to happen, but Martins still presses ahead with some of its new builds right up to the “appointed day” of 15 December 1969.  The following extract is from “Merger News” published by Martins Bank in November 1968:

 

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1968 October - Merger News Banner

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[Building projects shelved

The bank's building programme is one sphere greatly affected by the merger situation. Work already well advanced is going ahead but several projects have been shelved. No action is being taken over sites acquired for new premises until a policy for the new group is decided. Even at one branch virtually com­pleted the merger has raised a complication—whether or not to drill holes in an expensive piece of granite to take the name 'Martins Bank'. The solution has been to fix the letters in a less permanent way.]Sep 1.jpg

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Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030-0637

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So a shiny new branch at Chichester is allowed to have its moment of glory, opening in July 1968 and wearing with pride the name of Martins – for seventeen months, at least.  The opening of the new branch is featured in Martins Bank Magazine in the Autumn of 1968, alongside a rather over-helpful map…

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South to Chichester.jpg

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Chichester map.jpg1968 03 MBM.jpgif the frequency of in-coming telephone calls can be used as a measure of the potential success of a new branch, then our new Chichester office will be all right. When we visited the branch less than a week after it opened in early July the office activity and our talks with the staff were punctuated continually by the ring of the telephone. Yet John Adams, our Manager, is not content to be just a voice at the other end of the line. He belongs to the 'get out and bring 'em in' breed of manager and he was busy making new acquaintances at Chichester market when we arrived. Acting as his guide was Tom Blossom, better known as the Bank's ambassador at exhibition stands but a familiar figure in Chichester where he comes to sail.

 

 

 

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At Chichester's markets and amid the city's largely agricultural hinterland Mr Adams is finding himself very much at home. His interest in agriculture stems from his work with Sir John Reeling's dairy herd at Brede before he joined the Bank in 1954, and he comes to Chichester after two-and-a-half years as Pro Mana­ger at Canterbury, another 'farming' branch. And as a native of Brighton he is pleased to be back in Sussex. Our branch is situated in South Street, one of the four main streets taking their names from the points of the compass and converging at the Cross, a graceful edifice, fifty feet high, given to the city in 1501 by the then Bishop of Chichester.  Despite the city's great age—the Romans knew it as Noviomagus—Chichester today is referred to as the Georgian City and the exterior of our branch has been constructed in keeping with the surrounding style.  The inevitable newness of the building has to some extent been avoided by roofing with tiles salvaged from the previous building on the site. From Middlesbrough to Chichester is a fair distance to move but Colin Thompson, the second man, is not complaining. He likes what he sees of Chichester and its environs, finds the climate agreeable and at the time of our visit he was arranging to bring his wife and two children to their new home at Donnington, south of the city.

 

He joined the Bank at Wolsingham in 1957 and is now adjusting himself to small branch routine after four years at Middlesbrough branch. Neil Gregory came from Worthing branch where he entered the Bank a year ago. He is pleased with the move and at the prospect of helping to put the new branch on its feet. At the time of our visit the fourth member of the staff was still completing her schooling but now Roberta Saunders, who lives at nearby Emsworth, is getting to grips with her new job. From the branch you look directly down Canon Lane which presents a picture of 'guide-book England' as typical as Clovelly's cobbles or Wiltshire thatch. The Lane has a row of ivy-covered, terraced, clergy houses —part of the Cathedral precincts—which is a Mecca for photographers, both amateur and professional. The Cathedral is one of the two buildings that attract visitors to Chichester—and neither is Georgian. Parts of the Cathedral date from the twelfth century with subsequent extensions and re-buildings as, over the centuries, fire, desecration and neglect have taken their toll; Chichester Festival Theatre, the 'theatre in the round', is only seven years old but already the annual festival of plays is an institution. To the casual visitor there is a strong feeling of con­servatism about Chichester; not the sort of place where a new branch bank might be expected to make rapid progress in attracting new customers. Yet if John Adams's telephone continues to ring with such regularity . . .

 

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Today, the only clue that Chichester Branch ever existed is the blue door to the right, with the stainless steel panel and letterbox where once the architect’s own nameplate proudly displayed news of Chichester’s Branch of Martins Bank…  We are grateful to Dave Baldwin for yet another comtemporary image for our series of “Then and Now” comparisons.

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Image © Barclays Ref 30-0637

Image © Dave Baldwin 2014

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1968 Colin Thompson MBM-Su68P33.jpg

1968 Neil Gregory MBM-Au68P33.jpg

1968 Mr D J Adams Manager MBM-Au68P07.jpg

1968 Roberta Saunders MBM-Au68P33.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Colin Thompson

On the Staff

1968

Neil Gregory

On the Staff

1968

Mr D John Adams

Manager

1968 onwards

Roberta Saunders

On the Staff

1968

 

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BARCLAYS BANK LIMITED

LLOYDS BANK LIMITED

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MARTINS BANK LIMITED

MIDLAND BANK LIMITED

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NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK

WESTMINSTER BANK LIMITED

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WILLIAMS DEACON’S BANK

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

Martins Bank Limited 11-75-20 Chichester

Full Branch

53 South Street Chichester Sussex

494 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Chichester 84524

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D J Adams Manager

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3 July 1968

15 December 1969

29 October 1971

Currently

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-20-65 Chichester South Street

Closed

Toy Shop

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