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Martins Bank 1928+

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Yeovil is another piece in Martins’ South Western District Jigsaw, and it is fair to say that from the mid-thirties onwards, this part of the country has a great deal of time and money spent on it, turning the South West from “pioneer” territory, into a network of local branches, able to deliver the Bank’s services and eventually to have their own District complete with District Office and local directorate. Although Yeovil opens in 1953, in these photographs, it looks almost art deco, and more like something out of the 1930s.  A few months after opening, the Manager and Staff are visited at work by Martins Bank Magazine, keen to find out all about them, their new Branch, and the local area…

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1954 03 MBM.jpg

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We visited Yeovil on Friday, July 9th. It was our first visit to this pleasant Somerset town, deep in the heart of farming country. As in the case of Leamington Spa, however, a new look is gradually stealing over the place and industry is disturbing the quiet of the pastoral scene. In this case industry takes the form of a helicopter factory and the roar of aircraft engines is never far away. Yeovil is also the centre of one of the old cottage industries, glove making.

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Image © Barclays Ref 0030-3321


The factories cut out the shapes and the stitching is done in cottages and houses all over the district, the art being handed down from mother to daughter. Our branch is at present housed in temporary premises and work is about to begin on the conversion of a building in an excellent situation on the main street, right opposite our competitors! Both the manager and the second man are experienced in the problems of a farming district. The manager, Mr. Gilbert Brown, commenced his career at Alston in 1926, and has served at Penrith, Carlisle, Windermere and at Longtown, where he was appointed manager in 1950. He opened Yeovil branch last year. During the last war he served in the Middle East, first with the Royal Armoured Corps and, after being com­missioned, with the R.A.S.C. Mr. A. P. Reed's service has taken him to Ulverston, Dalton-in-Furness, Grange-over-Sands, Kirkby Lonsdale and Kendal. He served with the Forces from 1942 until 1947. We were also pleased to meet Mr. P. B. Stephenson, on loan for the day from Torquay branch on account of our visit.  He has recently completed his National Service with the R.A.F.  We went out to see Mr. Brown's house, a small part of an old house, and were truly enchanted with it. The house is reckoned to be about 250 years old with more recent additions.

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The additions at the back have left the immensely thick outside wall now in the centre of the house. The house abounds in attractive recesses in unexpected places, and queer shaped rooms. The ceilings are low and some of the lintels of the doors are just the right height, with nothing to spare for anyone tall. There is one immense room which with the imagination Mr. and Mrs. Brown are displaying could easily become one of those places one sees featured in the pages of Country Life.

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In the garden is a pool with an ornamental fountain whic h spouts if: someone behind the scenes does the necessary pumping! So far as we know they are the only people in the Bank who live in a house which has a genuine priest's refuge and a secret room. The latter has still to be entered, though its position can be deter­mined with some accuracy by soundings on the wall of one room. Yes, and they have a ghost too. It walks along the lane on moonlight nights, wearing a tall silk hat, and leans on Mr. Brown's gate and ruminates.   They haven't seen it, nor has anyone else, but the tradition persists, though we could not find any more details as to who it was or the reason for the smart headgear. Right opposite their house is one of the loveliest old country churches imaginable and it need hardly be said that for Mr. and Mrs. Brown's three children life now is just one glorious adventure.

1953 Yeovil Interior 3 BGA Ref 30-3321

Image © Barclays Ref 30-3321

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Back in Yeovil we noticed with interest that the town manages to support a Repertory Theatre, while a Trade Fair was in progress and Bertram Mills Circus was due to arrive.  There is an annual Agricultural Show and one sees signs of prosperity on every hand. Working up the business of a new branch in a town like Yeovil should prove an exhilarating adventure, with something worth showing for one's efforts at no distant date.

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1953 to 1968 Mr Gilbert Brown Manager MBM-Au68P55.jpg

1954 Mr A P Read MBM-Au54P19.jpg

1954 Mr P B Stephenson MBM-Au54P19.jpg

1959 to 1965 Mr V A J Yate MBM-Wi65P06.jpg

1968 Mr E Russell Manager MBM-Au68P08.jpg

BW Logo

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Mr Gilbert Brown


1953 to 1968

Mr A P Read

On the Staff


Mr P B Stephenson

On the Staff


Mr V A J Yate

On the Staff

1959 to 1965

Mr E Russell


1968 onwards





Index Number and District:






11-76-90 Yeovil

Full Branch

16 High Street Yeovil Somerset

199 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Yeovil 6284/5

Nightsafe Installed

Mr E Russell Manager


15 December 1969

April 1971


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-99-41 Yeovil High Street