We are delighted to bring you the latest edition of the Grasshopper Pensioners’ Club Newsletter. Please note that all comments and contributions should be addressed the the Club Secretary, Dave Baldwin at the email address shown below.

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January 2017


Dear Fellow Members,


Once again I am happy to welcome you to a new year with the Grasshopper Pensioners Club.  Although the weather is a bit bleak at the moment I do see the odd Spring bulb poking through the soil and giving promise of the return of colour and warmth to our lives.


I shall be sending you details of the Spring Lunch in the next newsletter but I would just remind you now that it is to be held on Thursday 18th May 2017 which is one week later than our usual booking.  Apparently another club had nipped in before us and grabbed our second Thursday date.




Back by popular demand is our summer outing on the river.  We are repeating the event this year on Sunday 2 July 2017.  If you have not yet had the pleasure of this unique Grasshopper experience, here are the details for you to mull over.


The Bateaux Symphony cruise boat is once again booked for a magical journey along the Thames.  Mike Sharp has again secured the front (bow) section for best views as we journey along the river to the accompaniment of live, easy listening jazz.  A beautifully presented three-course meal will be served to us with wine and mineral water, and Fairtrade tea or coffee afterwards.  Memorable views of London along with great Martins company will be ours for the 2 ½ hour cruise. 


The boat is easy to find, tethered to Embankment Pier, directly opposite the Embankment tube station.  Inside there is spacious dining accommodation and easy access to the toilet facilities down a wide staircase.


The ticket price is maintained at £30 each for members and one guest.  Additional friends/family tickets will be £50 each.  Drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, can be purchased individually at the bar.


Boarding is at 12.30 pm;  the boat departs at 1300 and disembarkation is at 15.30.

You will find an application form at the end of this letter.  Please send this to Mike Sharp, to arrive by Tuesday 28 February.  Please send your cheques made payable to “Grasshopper Pensioners Club” for the full amount with the application  (£30 each or £60 per couple).  Cheques will not be banked until 1st March and anyone wishing to cancel by 28th February will have their cheques destroyed by Hon. Treasurer.




Once again we enjoyed a large turnout at the Royal Overseas League for our London Lunch at the beginning of November.  Just under 100 people came from all over the country. Unfortunately there were a few missing on the day (including me) due to unexpected commitments or illness.


Bill Webb sent me this:

I and several others were fortunate to attend our 2016 gathering at the Royal Overseas League on Nov 3rd as it was scheduled to be a strike day by the RMT. Thankfully they postponed it until the 4th !!!

The address to members and the Grasshopper toast was eloquently and amusingly given by Ken Atkinson (LEFT) . His early days were spent in his native Newcastle area starting at Quayside in 1949.  Rapid progress saw his promotion to H.O in Liverpool where he worked very closely with two legendary Chief General Managers, Maxwell and Conacher (RIGHT). Even at that time in the early 1960’s he was able to confide that Martins was troubled by the many conflicting claims on capital resources which subsequently led to the merger with Barclays. Ken’s first full managerial appointment was at Rose Lane Canterbury followed, post merger, to Local Director including a spell of running part of the Barclays empire in New York. From this successful and varied career Ken could recall a fund of interesting anecdotes which he was happy to share with his appreciative audience.




1966 Mr ER Smith pro Manager MBM-Sp66P08.jpgEDWARD (TED) SMITH


Ted died last November at the age of 80.  He was a great friend to Joe and me and we were greatly saddened to hear from Pam of his unexpected death.  He belonged to our salad days in the early 1960s when we all worked in 68 Lombard Street amongst a great deal of joshing and laughter.  I sometimes wonder how the serious work ever got done.



John Davies sent me these memories.


Ted joined Martins in 1953 at Cocks Biddulph Branch.  His National Service involved him in the Suez War of 1956, after which he was posted to London District Office.  Whilst there he met Pam, whom he subsequently married and they enjoyed many happy years together.


His next job was as personal assistant to Clifford Whiteley, Joint General Manager.  Following this he returned to District Office as Senior Clerk and in 1966 he was appointed Pro Manager, Loans Department, 68 Lombard Street.


In 1968 Ted was head-hunted by Donald Bardsley, then Head of Banking at Hill Samuel.  Along with several other Martins colleagues he worked there in senior roles for 22 years.   In 1990 TSB took over Hill Samuel and, being awash with money, they instructed them to lend generously.  Ted was then Hill Samuel’s Risk Management Director and a skilled and prudent banker.  He elected to retire at the time rather than consent to this recklessness.


Ted was a cricket devotee, a member of the MCC for over forty years, and an expert on Wisden, the Bible of the cricketing world.


Over a year ago Ted suffered multiple muscle failure and his death came after a sudden worsening of his condition in early November.  In his suffering he was comforted by Pam’s devotion and our thoughts are with her and their two sons.  Ted was a good friend and the world is poorer with his passing.  May he rest in peace.




Judith Williams (Barry’s wife) rang me to say that Barry had died last March.  He was a late entrant to Martins in Manchester, a qualified chartered accountant.  After a time he was transferred to Financial Services at Liverpool Head Office.  Derrick Hanson was his mentor and, at the age of 38, he became a General Manager.  After the merger Barclays transferred him to London, where a Financial Services Department was newly set up along similar lines to Martins.




1953 Richard Michaud RM- MBAEnnis Michaud rang to advise me of Richard’s death on 30 October at the age of 89.  They had regularly come to our functions over the years but lately this had not been possible.  Many members will remember Richard from his time on relief around the north Kent branches.  Ennis told me that at one time he found it useful to do a bit of unofficial ‘banking on the bus’.  Apparently customers would notice him daily going to work from Swanley to Aynsford and hand him their paying in slips, trusting, quite rightly, that the money would appear on their accounts just as if they had called in to their branch.  This is another of the many extraordinary quirks of banking at Martins, where going to extremes to be helpful was not a myth at all.




1961 to 1962 Mr G H D Smith MBM-Wi63P06Bill Webb writes:

Although Desmond never joined the Grasshoppers his name will be familiar to many members and I was sorry to hear of his passing in November of last year. Starting at Middlesbrough in 1949 his early days were all spent in the N.E and his first managerial post was at Selby in 1963. Post merger he came to Rose Lane Canterbury where he rapidly gained the confidence of the Local Directors. Thereafter he managed two of the largest branches in the old Maidstone District Rochester and St George’s Canterbury. Des was particularly at home amongst the farming community of Kent by whom he was both liked and respected. Following retirement, he once again returned to Yorkshire and finally settled in the delightful town of Helmsley. On behalf of the club I have offered condolences to his widow Brenda and his family




I have had a reminder from John Jones that the bank’s free probate service for pensioners was due to finish at the end of December 2016.  He made a note five years ago that the charge from 2017 onwards would be 70% of the rate applied to customers.  I have not noticed any reminder from the bank about this either in Connection or to me as Hon. Secretary.  If this affects you, it would be advisable to make further enquiries.




Dennis Webber rang to find out when we were likely to be told the amount of our pension increase.  I told him that his guess was as good as mine.


He then reminisced about his time at Oxford Circus in the late 1950s when Bob Beaumont, as Chairman of the Staff Association, complained that there was nowhere in the West End for the staff to get lunch.  The Manager ordered accommodation to be prepared on the 4th Floor and a canteen set up.  Originally they had a Baby Belling cooker but that ‘blew up’ and the enterprise was suspended.


Dennis was given the task of setting up new facilities and he recruited Mrs Bondi to run the canteen, where cooked lunches were served.  When it was fish and chips the smell penetrated adjoining buildings as the ventilation was inadequate to the task.  Staff from neighbouring branches flocked to the place.  There was an unfortunate case of multiple food poisoning when Mrs Bondi kept a chicken dish warm for too long before serving it.  Plus ca change !




I hope to be writing to you again in March with details of the Spring Lunch.  If you have any news or contributions to send me I shall, of course, be delighted to hear from you.  In the meantime keep warm and well.


With best wishes,


Ros Edwards

Hon. Sec.



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18TH May 2017


2ND July 2017


2ND November 2017


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