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Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank

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Martins Bank’s Branch at Macclesfield is one of a large number of North Western outlets inherited from the amalgamation in January 1928 of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins, and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank.  Typical of the rather grand style of bank buildings of the late nineteenth century, Macclesfield boasts a façade of columns that would not look out of place in ancient Rome! 

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This rare colour image shows Macclesfield Branch floodlit at night, and comes from the extensive collection of Branch Photos inherited by Barclays from Martins Bank. Macclesfield plays an important role during the Second World War, when Martins moves many of its Head Office Departments temporarily to outlying Branches.  This is to avoid the chaos that could be caused from loss of records if Water Street were Bombed and all departments and information had been kept in one place. 


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Branch Images © 1964 Barclays Ref 0030/1772

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img158Chief Accountant’s Department moves from Head Office to Macclesfield in June 1941 and stays for almost three years, until April 1944.  This Head Office Circular from that period shows the amended address.  Six years later, and with the war over, Martins Bank Magazine pays a visit to Macclesfield in 1950, describing it as being “a somewhat dirty, ugly manufacturing town”.  Let’s hope no-one was or is offended by this rather harsh critique!  It surely can’t have been all that bad, as later on this page we also catch a glimpse of three silk tapestries commissioned by the Bank to reflect the local area…

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1950 04 MBM.jpgWe enjoy no visits more than our visits to branches in the Manchester district and when Macclesfield was decided upon for September 18th we were indeed delighted. East Cheshire is quite one of the loveliest spots in the whole of the country, yet surprisingly little known except to Manchester business men. Just as West Cheshire, and the Wirral in particular, is the bedroom of Liverpool, so East Cheshire might be described as the bedroom of Manchester and these attractive little townships situated within sight of the Pennines surely provide nearly all that a man could desire when the toil of day is over.


Macclesfield itself is not beautiful. In fact, it is a somewhat dirty, ugly manufacturing town, the centre of the silk and textile machinery industries. But ten minutes run in a car will take you to Macclesfield Forest and the lakes which are the source of the town's water supply and it takes no effort of the imagination to make you think you are in the Lake District, for the scenery is beautiful in the extreme. Our branch is a most imposing structure in classical style with fluted columns which make the building look not unlike a branch of the Bank of England. The building was once the home of the Macclesfield Savings Bank and was acquired by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank when the Savings Bank ceased business. At one time it was closely hemmed in by mean property but this has all been cleared away from the front which stands on a square in a commanding position. During the last war Manchester District Office and Chief Accountant's Department, Head Office, were evacuated to Macclesfield and housed in the rooms above the branch which are now the flat, and the name of Martins Bank is certainly well-known in the town, partly as a consequence of this.

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Mr. H. C. Hindley has been our Manager there since 1943, and prior to that he was a signing officer at Hightown and Portland Street branches. When not engaged in angling for and landing new business for the Bank his favourite occupation is fly-fishing, though he finds time for a little golf and is keenly interested in the work of Rotary. His second man, G. M. Johnson, is just as keen on fishing, and, in fact, between them and a former member of the staff,  Mr N. Cumberlidge, now at another branch, they formed the Macclesfield Fly Fishing Club this season and Mr. Johnson acts as Secretary. By their efforts they have organised their fishing grounds and have raised the money for re-stocking and their work has been so successful that they now have a long waiting list for membership of their club. Mr. Johnson has four children and we were most interested to discover that his elder two daughters are training for the not-so-usual occupations of the ballet and art designer.


T. E. Hopley acts as First Cashier and John Mills is the fourth man. John Mills had some interesting war experiences, training first of all in Phoenix, Arizona, for flying, and in addition to seeing the wonderful scenery of the Grand Canyon country and the Arizona desert he met a number of the film stars, including Gracie Fields who kept open house for British Service men. Later on he had the job, whilst in Burma, of flying Field Marshal Sir William Slim about. All this information had to be dragged out of him and but for a hint dropped to us by Mr. Hindley it would not have been forthcoming. We don't quite know what to say about the girls, for we did not see two of the three who appear in the photograph. Miss Barbara Broughton was away having her tonsils removed at the time of our visit and Miss N. W. Brookes was away recovering from the effects of an accident in which she had been riding a tandem bicycle and had sustained a severe spill. Nevertheless, we had the pleasure of meeting Miss Pearson and Mr. Thompson, of District Office Relief Staff, who were helping out.   We also met Miss S. C. Hoyland who comes from Alderley, another delightful spot which was very dear to us in our younger days.    Then Mrs. Hindley joined us and we repaired to the Maccles­field Arms Hotel for lunch. Consideration for our advancing years com­bined with their strong sense of hospitality had impelled our friends at Spring Gardens to send the car to bring us back to Manchester and see us safely out of their District. It was a courtesy we very much appreciated and concluded a visit which was pleasant in the extreme.

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1940 Cheque Logo.jpgMartins Bank doesn’t just go to extremes to be helpful, it also prides itself on forging links with the communities it serves, and to this end frequently commissions new artworks that reflect the local area, for display in new or refurbished branches.  Occasionally there are features about a building that need to be preserved for future generations. (See also DESIGNING MARTINS).  At Macclesfield the Bank commissions three silk tapestries to depict various parts of the town.  These are also featured in Martins Bank Magazine in 1966 as part of an article entitled “art design and imagination – some distinctive features from branches built or modernised in recent years”…

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(1)   The cross roads with the moat surrounding the town in AD 1100…

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(2)   Town panorama with the road in the foreground, implements of the textile industry, and silk flowing from top right to centre…

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(3)   Historic buildings including the parish church, Friends’ Meeting House, and the gaol…



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Macclesfield at the dawn of computerised banking…

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Cheques like this one begin to be issued at the end of the 1950s, once Martins Bank has successfully piloted the processing of the day’s work of a Branch on its Pegasus II computer in Liverpool.  An Impossibly large piece of equipment by today’s standards, the memory power of Pegasus – whilst sufficient to process the work of 30,000 accounts – would be easily eclipsed by that of a modern day mobile phone or electronic watch.  Our thanks to Stephen Walker for making available the scan below, left, from his extensive collection of Martins Bank memorabilia.

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By 1963, the cheques issued by the Bank’s Branches are in the process of being re-designed for the computer age, and there follows the first sign of the cheques we know and use today.  MAGNETIC INK CHARACTER RECOGNITION  (known as MICR) is pioneered in the 1960s by Ron Hindle, Head of Martins Bank’s Operation Research and Development Department, and soon after, it is brought into use by all major British banks. This example of a cheque from Macclesfield is ready for the new system…

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All Change!

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In 1964 Macclesfield is refurbished to bring it into a more modern age, and like many of the older Northern Branches, it is given the new and distinctive Martins “look”. These photographs show the transformation achieved.  Out goes the dark wood panelling of yesteryear, and in comes bright lighting schemes, clean lines, and open plan work areas.  Many branches are also treated to a commissioned work from a local artist.  Some branches have ceramic sculture, others have carvings – in Macclesfield’s case, it is the tapstries shown above, which can also be seen in one of the images below…

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A porch is fitted to protect against the weather, and reduce noise levels from outside the branch.  Martins is very fond of lino tiles, and these are used in most of the refurbishments and new builds that take place in the mid to late 1960s.  New ceiling lights in various arrangements, including uplights add to the illusion of space and help convey an air honesty and openness, and a sense that everyone is welcome.  It must have seemed like a revolution to those used to dark and dingy banking halls and working conditions.  The lino tiling continues in the back office, and the latest office furniture adds the final touches.

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“Martins Branch”…


We are once again grateful to Stephen Walker for the following copies of cheques from his collection.  The merger has taken place, and the new Barclays Bank Macclesfield prints its cheque with a nod to the past…  In 1969, and the Barclays Spread Eagle has not yet arrived on the stationery.  The Martins Grasshopper has a short lived renaissence before moving over to make way for the familiar blue logo:

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Image © Stephen Walker

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1919 Mr H Cumberlidge joined the bank here MBM-Su64P58.jpg

1938 to 1940 Mr R F Osborn joined the bank here MBM-Wi63P06.jpg

1943 to 1958 Mr H C Hindley Manager MBM-Sp58P48.jpg

1947 to 1947 joined later 1969 Mr G Ramell Manager MBM-Sp69P08.jpg

1950 to 1951 Mr JW Ottaway joined the bank here MBM-Wi64P07.jpg

1964 to 1969 Mr M H Samman Manager MBM-Au64P06.jpg







Mr H Cumberlidge

Joined the Bank here


Mr R F Osborn

Joined the Bank here

1938 to 1940

Mr H C Hindley


1943 to 1958

Mr G Ramsell

Joined here 1947 to 1947

Manager 1969 onwards

Mr J W Ottoway

Joined the Bank Here

1950 to 1951

Mr M H Samman


1964 to 1969


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Index Number and District:






11-80-50 Macclesfield

Full Branch

10 Park Green Macclesfield Cheshire 

758 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500 

Saturday 0930-1100

Macclesfield 2818

Nightsafe Installed

Mr G Ramsell Manager


10 June 1899

3 January 1928

21 June 1941


4 April 1944

15 December 1969

26 October 2001


The Adelphi Bank

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank

Martins Bank Limited

Branch used temporarily by HO Chief Accountants’ Dept

 and Manchester District Office

HO Chief Accountants’ Dept moves back to Liverpool

Barclays Bank Limited 20-53-78 Macclesfield Park Green


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