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Martins Bank 1928+

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New, but thankfully

  not too shocking…

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image074With the exception of 68 Lombard Street, most of the fifteen branches of the old Martin’s Private Bank are based mainly on the South Eastern outskirts of London, and in Kent.  Following the formation of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins, and the subsequent creation of Martins Bank Limited, branches are opened throughout the City of London itself. 

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1964 London Piccadilly Entrance MBM-Sp64p30.jpgMany are opened in key places, and many have exclusive addresses – Sloane Street, Westminster, Curzon Street, Wigmore Street, Covent Garden - by 1969 the list extends to some forty branches in and around London. 

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In 1964 it is the turn of Piccadilly to receive the thoroughly modern and exceedingly helpful Martins touch – a newly built branch including a grasshopper and liver bird sculpture that can be seen from quite a distance. This particular design of the Martins Bank Coat of Arms is found at the entrance to 84 Piccadilly Branch in London The metal sculptures of the Liver Bird and Grasshopper are made of fired and lacquered metals by the Artist Jan Kepinski. Yet another example of the many and varied artworks commissioned by Martins Bank in the 1960s, the Piccadilly Sculptures are unique.

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The building is now a big brand coffe house, and there is no sign of the sculpture. We assume that it is missing presumed scrapped, but if of course you know differently, please do let us know. When Martins Bank Magazine visits Piccadilly early in 1964, we are given some idea of the stir the new branch has caused.  The rather laborious public school analogy will seem dated, but by all accounts Piccadilly Branch is a very positive step forward for Martins Bank…Sep 1.jpg

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1964 01 MBM.jpgthere is no branch like this—yet. The new office which opened on January 16th at 84 Piccadilly is a showpiece and a tremendously effective one. It might have been devastatingly contemporary, outré, garish or just wildly hideous—anything to make an impact—but it is none of these. It is most impressive. Passers-by, looking through the double-glazed windows, may realise that somebody has achieved the near-impossible, providing a building with a personality. Inevitably opinions will vary and we have been thinking of a certain Smith minor on Speech Day (or was it Commem ?) when parents from far and wide arrived from breakfast-time onwards ('Are your people coming too, Jenners ?') Smith minor welcomed his parents and his elder sister with some reserve:

 

1964 London Piccadilly Interior MBM-Sp64p31.jpg'But, mater, did you have to wear that hat? And to his sister, 'Hang it, Sue! All those flowers and that skirt. I mean to say'. To both of them, surprised by his reactions, 'Yes, but what will the chaps say? After all, I've got to live with them, I mean.' Poor Smith mi: he suffered agonies, didn't he? But do you remember how 'the mater' made a tremendous hit with the Headmaster and how Carruthers (Head of School and Captain of Everything) was seen talking animatedly to Sue as they walked round the boundary in full view of everybody? Well, there are going to be Smith minors about Piccadilly branch but we suspect that Carruthers, who led the way and won the day, or someone very like him, had a hand in creating the new branch. Thanks to air-conditioning and sealed win­dows the noise and dust of Piccadilly are excluded and as each step has a rubber pad on the tread, the glass entrance doors, framed in stainless steel, slide open noiselessly as one approaches. And so they remain if one stops, as one does involuntarily, to look at our old friends the Grasshopper and the Liver Bird glinting wickedly through their metal eyes. They have been made from sheets of fired and lacquered steel with molten brass and copper dropped on to give richness and texture. The emblems, backed by white Pentellic marble which continues inside, set the tone for the whole place. Green leather-upholstered strips adorn the counter front and the partitions and doors to the general office which are topped by green glass. The counter is of Scots granite.   But enough! If you are in London we suggest you see it for yourself but be prepared, if you are a Smith minor, for Mr Denis McNair, our Mana­ger, to convert you to a Carruthers. It is appropriate that Mr McNair, who last year was Mayor of Paddington, has been invited to stand for the new Hyde Park Ward in the May elections for the new City of Westminster which, incorporating the Boroughs of Westminster, St Marylebone and Paddington, will have a total rateable value exceeding one hundred million pounds.

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Mr McNair is delighted that his new branch will be in the heart of the new city, and is getting the fullest support from his second-in-command, Mr J. G. Killick, another enthusiast. Mr A. E. Holland, 'the man everyone sees', dominates the counter, sharing cashiering duties with Mr P. Dean, while the fifth male member of the staff is Mr M. G. Greenroyd, a London-born Yorkshireman who still follows the fortunes of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Miss P. E. Miller, secretary to Mr McNair, came with him from Edgware Road branch, as did Miss V. Wood, while Miss Matthews was previously in Clearing Department. As might be expected, all the staff spoke highly of the new premises and the surroundings. On leaving the branch we found the provoca­tive Grasshopper and Liver Bird still glinting outrageously at us and we had a sudden thought that somebody might say Piccadilly branch is 'fab'. That just would not do. Carruthers wouldn't stand for it either.

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The things they say…

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Overheard outside Piccadilly Branch:

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FIRST GIRL :  “That bank’s Head Office is in Liverpool, you know”

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SECOND GIRL : “Oh! So that’s why they’ve got a beetle on the wall!”

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1964 to 1966 Mr JG Killick Pro Manager MBM-Sp64P07.jpg

1964 to 1967 Mr AE Holland pro Manager from 1967 MBM-Au67P08.jpg

1964 to 1968 Mr D McNair Manager MBM-Sp68P51.jpg

1965 to 1968 Mr G L Taylor Assistant Manager MBM-Sp66P04.jpg

1967 Janet Newnham Staff Member MBM-Sp67P43.jpg

1968 Martin Mason MBM-Wi68P32.jpg

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Mr J G Killick

Pro Manager

1964 to1966

Mr A E Holland

Pro Manager

1964 to 1967

Mr D McNair

Manager

1964 to 1968

Mr G L Taylor

Assistant Manager

1965 to 1968

Miss Janet Newman

On the Staff

1967

Mr Martin Mason

On the Staff

1968

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1968 Mr KJ Richardson Assistant Manager MBM-Au68P15.jpg

1968 Mr TF Smith Manager MBM-Sp68P05.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr K J Richardson

Assistant Manager

1968

Mr T F Smith

Manager

1968 onwards

 

 

 

 

Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-81-60 London Piccadilly

Full Branch

84 Piccadilly London W1

486 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 493 5113/4 & 01 629 5349

Nightsafe Installed

Mr T F Smith Manager

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Automated Branch

London Piccadilly is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant  digits” to identify them at the London Computer Centre by account numbers issued. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 34.

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16 January 1964

15 December 1969

June 1979

Currently

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-67-58 84 Piccadilly

Closed

Coffee House

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