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North Eastern Banking Company

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The North Eastern Banking Company opens its branch at Houghton le Spring in 1873, and under the ownership of that bank the branch grows and prospers for forty-one years.  The North Eastern Bank merges with the Bank of Liverpool in 1914, and so begins the chain of mergers that sees Houghton le Spring become a branch of Martins Bank.  There is a sub-Branch at Shiney Row, which is opened in 1908, but does not make it through the merger with Barclays, and is closed a few months beforehand in May 1969. Barclays already has its own sub-Branch at Shiney Row, and we must assume it was bigger and/or better placed to serve the personal and business customers there.  For Houghton-le-Spring, we have two features on this page, the first sees Mr Blythe ending his amazingly long – 45 year – career at the branch, and then we have memories from a former member of the Staff, Mike Bryant, who recalls what the branch toilet arrangements were in 1968 – we think we can safely judge this was well BEFORE the advent of “Health and Safety”!


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1960 s Houghton le Spring Exterior BGA Ref 30-1361

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1361

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1965 03 MBM.jpg1952 to 1965 Mr E Blythe Manager MBM-Au65P60.jpgmr blythe's 45 years' service, the last twelve as Manager of Houghton-le-Spring branch, ended on July 30 with an informal party at the Burn Hotel attended by thirty past and present colleagues including Mr M. A. Charlton (Pro Staff Manager). Presenting Mr Blythe with a cheque from his many friends Mr I. D. Hird, second-in-command, paid tribute to his long and conscientious service and wished him well in retirement. After thanking his guests for their gift, to be used to buy a picnic hamper, and his staff for their support Mr Blythe remarked to his wife, with characteristic dry humour, that he trusted his new employer was impressed with the references given by his Bank colleagues. Mrs Blythe was then handed a bouquet by Miss K. Wrightson. A few days earlier Mr Blythe had lunched with his District General Manager at Grey Street and Mr Weatherill called at the branch on July 30 to express good wishes for the future. Mr Blythe served all his career at North Eastern branches, beginning at Wallsend in 1920, and was appointed Manager at Houghton-le-Spring in 1952. He served with the army in Egypt during the war.

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Flushed with success?

1960 s Houghton le Spring Exterior CU BGA Ref 30-1361Sep 1.jpg

image006Mike Bryant is a Martins Colleague who got in touch following our item on Radio 4’s Making History programme in 2011.  In these twenty-first Century days of health and safety, where companies invest a great deal of money to ensure the care of their staff, his memory of “certain facilities” at Martins Bank’s Houghton le Spring branch is priceless…

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“Although I do not have a great fund of anecdotes, one that does “spring to mind” relates to Houghton le Spring Branch in 1968, which had only one toilet for 5 men and 5 women, and this on a sort of raised platform at one end of the staff side of the banking hall.  There was never a problem with access as you could see any occupiers' feet through the three inch gap under the door without hardly raising your eyes!”

Mike Bryant, November 2011

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1911 to 1919 Mr Norman Brown joined the bank here MBM-Wi53P53

1915 Mr J B Hall joined the bank here MBM-Su56P49

1936 to 1942 Mr H Jackson MBM-Wi49P10

1946 to 1946 Mr W F Surtees MBM-Au67P07

1946 to 1947 Mr B Trewhitt MBM-Su67P04

1947 to 1948 Mr E Summerbell joined the bank here MBM-Wi65P04

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Mr Norman Brown

Joined the Bank Here

1911 to 1919

Mr J B Hall

Joined the Bank Here


Mr H Jackson

On the Staff

1936 to 1942

Mr W F Surtees

On the Staff

1936 to 1936

Mr Ben Trewhitt

On the staff

1946 to 1947

Mr E Summerbell

Joined the Bank Here

1947 to 1948

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1950 to 1952 Mr R Smith joined the bank here MBM-Au66P03

1952 to 1965 Mr E Blythe Manager MBM-Au65P60

1955 to 1957 Mr A Grummett MBM-Wi66P03

1960 to 1962 Mr J Rundle MBM-Au64P04

1965 Mr JW Bellerby Manager MBM-Au65P02

BW Logo

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Mr R Smith

Joined the Bank Here

1950 to 1952

Mr E Blythe


1952 to 1965

Mr A Grummett

On the Staff

1955 to 1957

Mr J Rundle

On the Staff

1960 to 1962

Mr J W Bellerby


1965 onwards



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Index Number and District:






11-79-40 Houghton le Spring

Full Branch

18 Sunderland Street Houghton le Spring  County Durham

336 North Eastern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Houghton-le-Spring 3200

Nightsafe Installed

Mr J W Bellerby Manager

11-79-40 SHINEY ROW


19 February 1873

7 August 1914

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

19 January 1970


opened by the North Eastern Banking Company Limited

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Closed and business transferred to Barclays Newbottle Street

Hair Salon