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image070Holloway Circus is added to Martins Bank’s Birmingham portfolio of branches in July 1962, and six months later, Martins Bank Magazine arranges a full visit to the new branch.  The focus of the article is very much on the staff who have been assembled to run Holloway Circus in what at the time is in an area of Birmingham described by the Magazine as a miniature STALINGRAD(?)! Well, people do have their own opinions of course but whether or not the appearance of the Branch itself adds to this Soviet style landscape, we’ll leave you to be the judge!  With the Cuban Missile Crisis barely put to bed, such remarks could possibly seem a little sensitive, we think. 

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We are delighted to be able to bring you high quality views of the original photographs used in this article, which have been kindly provided by Isobel Willis, from the estate of her late husband and first Manager of Holloway Circus Branch, Mr J F Willis…

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Unless one is faint-hearted it is always encouraging to be first in the field.  At Holloway Circus, Birmingham, our new branch is not only the first bank but one of the very few habitable offices in a landscape reminiscent of a miniature Stalingrad. While modern Birmingham is impressive, the scene where demolition and reconstruction overlap is disconcerting. 'A multi-storey garage will be going there. Or there', we were told, 'and so-and-so's have taken that and when this comes down all those will go there'. Mr. J. F. Willis, the Manager, with an air of one who himself is arranging these things, made it clear that, as steel, concrete and glass rise from the rubble in front of his branch, he will be there not only to watch over our interests but to extend them.

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Branch Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Estate of J F Willis

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It occurred to us that this was hardly the John Willis we remembered in Liverpool and later, in the quiet of his room in what must surely be one of our most handsome modern offices, our impression was confirmed. Still a bachelor, he has taken Birmingham to his heart and his many friends on Merseyside will be glad to know that he finds his present work more stimulating than anything he has previously tackled. After entering the bank at Ellesmere Port and serving in the Army he became secretary to Mr. G. O. Papworth (then Assistant General Manager, Administration) in 1946. . In this capacity he had the unusual experience of taking charge of the Magazine and the Bank's advertising for two weeks when all the staff were away on the first Continental holiday party in 1949. Subsequently he served in the former Branch Department, then on relief, and for a period was attached to Chief Overseas branch for special duties, returning to Liverpool District Office and Inspection Department before at­taining his first signing authority at Old Swan branch in 1953. He went to Midland District Office as Visiting Inspector in April, 1960, and prior to receiving his present appointment, took charge of Wolverhampton branch for a few months.

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Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Estate of J F Willis

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It is unusual to find a small branch where the two senior men have worked in double harness a short time before and the fact that Mr. Willis and Mr. M. V. Weare have been visiting inspec­tors might indicate that the standard at Holloway Circus would be beyond criticism. This casual observation brought forth the prompt reply that this is in fact so and, just in case anybody should gain the wrong impression, we would add that they have recently been inspected and their claim can be substantiated. Mr. Weare, while reflecting the confidence and enthusiasm of his manager, has plenty of his own. He started his banking in a hard school at Walsall branch and returned there after National Service, going to Midland District Office in 1959 and to Holloway Circus when it opened last July. His wife, formerly Miss J. A. D. Smith, of West Bromwich branch, is now cashiering at Walsall.  Mr. M. K. Davies is a local boy who entered the Bank in October, 1961. He, with Mr. S. R. Jackson who came from the north-east to join the staff in October last, completes the male staff of the branch. Miss P. J. Franklin, who has been in the Bank since August, 1961, is the only lady at the branch and is an all-rounder who copes, as required, with the machining, typing and counter work. The office with its high glass front and doors is as bright as the people who staff it but, as the business increases and more people tend to reach the branch just after the doors have closed, how does one signify 'sorry, closed' or 'just a moment while I come round the counter' ? You cannot ignore a frantic caller who can see you as well as you can see him. How, indeed, do the visiting inspectors conceal their arrival? No doubt Mr. Willis and Mr. Weare have an answer for that.

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Branch Images © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Estate of J F Willis

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1962 to 1963  Mr K R Chance Manager MBM-Sp65P08.jpg

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Mr K R Chance

Manager

1962 to 1963

Mr M V Weare

On the Staff

1962 to 1965

Miss P J Franklin

On the Staff

1963

Mr M K Davies

On the Staff

1963

Mr S R Jackson

On the Staff

1963

Mr J F Willis

Manager

1963 to 1966

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1966 Mr A Buckler Manager MBM-Su66P05.jpg

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Mr A Buckler

Manager

1966 onwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-79-02 Birmingham Holloway Circus

Full Branch

6 & 8 Holloway Circus Birmingham 1

561 Midland

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

021 643 5326 / 7

Nightsafe Installed

Mr A Buckler Manager

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July 1962

12 December 1969

 

Currently

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and Business transferred to

Barclays Horse Fair Branch 40 Holloway Circus

Bar / Restaurant

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