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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 editor, Ros Edwards at the email address shown below.

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GRASSHOPPER PENSIONERS’ CLUB

 

randjedwards2013@gmail.com

 

September 2016

Dear Fellow Members,

 

Summer is merging into autumn and, after a great Menorcan holiday with the family, our batteries are charged up again.  I hope yours are too.  Our last Grasshopper event was the Lazy Sunday on the River, and Mike Sharp sent me this summary of our experiences:

 

On Sunday 3rd July a party of 54 took advantage of “speedy boarding” on to the Bateaux Symphony at Embankment Pier.  I had booked tables in the bow section (for those non-nautical “front”) of the boat for maximum visibility.  Attentive staff then took our menu choices and served drinks before our departure. 

 

It was high tide and we therefore had insufficient head room to go further up river than Westminster Bridge.  However this worked to our advantage as we took a different route from last year, venturing down river past the Tower of London, though Tower Bridge, past Canary Wharf, the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory, turning just short of the O2 Arena.  “The World” cruise ship was passed to starboard as some members began to wonder if passports were required.

 

Throughout our trip a 3 course lunch was served, followed by tea or coffee as a live jazz band played at the rear of our cabin.  Wine was included in the ticket price.  Just over 3 hours after boarding we returned to Embankment Pier while a rare sight this summer (the sun) continued to shine.

 

LONDON LUNCH

 

Bill Webb has once again made arrangements for our annual London Lunch at the Royal Overseas League on Thursday 3rd November.  The menu and reply slip are attached to the back of this letter.  Although Bill is obliged to specify only one choice of starter, main course and dessert, it is possible to ask for a vegetarian alternative if necessary.  Dietary requirements can also be catered for on request.

 

The Royal Overseas League have recently opened a new entrance to their function facilities which we have been asked to use.  It is situated immediately adjacent to the right of the main entrance which will continue to be used by ROSL members.  It will have the advantage of a stair lift to the floor where the Princess Alexandra Hall is situated from where the luncheon room and other facilities can be accessed via internal lifts.  This should be very helpful to those of our members who had found the old staircase access rather difficult. There will also be a new secure cloakroom beside the entrance to the Princess Alexandra Hall. Taken together we believe that these new features should be a welcome improvement.

 

 

QUESTIONNAIRE

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Our chairman writes:

 

On behalf of your committee I would like to thank all those who returned the questionnaire seeking guidance on the future of the club after its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017.  Our mailing list contains 370 addresses from which there were 226 replies’.  It confirms what we had already believed to be the case regarding the age profile of the membership which in round figures was

12% (60-70 )            40%(70-80)              and     48% (80+)

 

As to the future there was a substantial majority in favour of continuing beyond 2017 under the auspices of a new committee, with support for continuing with a similar structure of events.  The annual London Lunch remained particularly popular.  We will, of course be sharing this information with those who have volunteered to form the backbone of the new committee and we hope it will be possible to make a further announcement at the forthcoming London Lunch

 

Bill Webb

 

RECENT DEATHS

 

1965 Mr W E A Sewell MBM-Wi65P18ANDREW SEWELL

 

Glenda, his wife, wrote to let us know that Andrew died on 2nd May at the age of 87.  They were married 51 years.  He joined Martins Bank in Liverpool in 1960 and started working at Tothill Street in London shortly afterwards.  He then moved to Gloucester Road with David Bradley.   Andrew took early retirement from Barclays when he was 54 and spent many years happily sailing his yacht in northern waters.  The highlight of his sailing career was when they both sailed to St Petersburg in 2000.  Andrew was a Master Mariner before he joined the bank.

Andrew and Glenda always came to the London Lunch every year.

 

1961 Mr D Russell Managers Course March  - Michael Jaques MBADOUGLAS RUSSELL

 

Douglas’s daughter, Mrs J Lambourne, wrote to say that her father died on 12th May.  He began his banking career at 80 Gracechurch Street, where he was later to become Assistant Manager at the Chief Overseas Branch, progressing to Departmental Manager (Inward Collections) at Barclays, Fenchurch Street. He drew his pension for 36 years (almost as many years as he was employed).  He moved to Cornwall on his retirement to be near his only daughter and two grandsons, and he liked to keep in touch with the Grasshoppers through the newsletter. Mrs Lambourne enclosed a letter signed by Mr Jaggard dated 17 June 1965 appointing him Pro Manager at Chief Overseas Branch at an annual salary of £1,650.

 

ROY ELLIS

 

Iris Ellis (nee Brown), his wife, rang to say that Roy died in February 2016.  He had worked in Manchester before retiring to Kirkudbrightshire in south-west Scotland.  Iris also worked in Martins Bank, first at Tothill Street and then at South Audley Street in London.  She then transferred to Manchester for another four years.

 

May they rest in peace.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

I was very glad to hear from Arthur Thorpe who wrote to explain that he was 93 in August and felt he should not vote in the Questionnaire, due to the fact that he cannot attend any functions.  He said “I have the fondest memories of Martins Bank and, although we may have been one of the smallest Clearing Banks, we were certainly the best”.  We will all agree with that.

 

I have also heard from Betty Salmon’s nephew to say that she has now transferred to the Sunrise care home in Weybridge.  She is now 96 years old.  You may remember her as Betty White who worked with Frank Belcher in Staff Department at 68 Lombard Street.

 

NEW MEMBERS

 

In the last newsletter I introduced Richard Mashiter as a new member.  The subscription was paid by his wife as a surprise, and shortly afterwards he sent me a letter of thanks.   He told me that he is the proud possessor of a complete set of the wonderful Martins Bank  quarterly staff magazines, having inherited the earlier editions when his father died.  When at a loose end he often opens the archive box and has pleasure looking back in these magazines, particularly the quarterly features on different branches.  He now also goes to the website to revive old memories. Before the merger he worked at Martins Leeds District Office as assistant to Philip Lister.   Later it became Barclays Regional Office with Phillip Lister still in charge as Senior Local Director, because Martins were stronger in Yorkshire than Barclays. Even though Richard was not a graduate he was placed on the Barclays graduate fast track and then held many positions in Barclays in places as far afield as Leeds, Lincoln, Ipswich and London.  He retired as Regional Corporate Director with The Co-operative Bank, fortunately before the much-publicised scandals that hit that bank.

 

BANKING 1947 STYLE

 

I am glad to say that I have room this time for another extract from the memoirs of John Davies, who was the last Manager of 68 Lombard Street Branch, having worked there continuously since 1954.  This takes up his story soon after he joined Martins Bank at the age of 17 in 1947.

 

After a few weeks in Waste Department I was posted to Clearing Department, which was situated on part of the third floor of 68 Lombard Street. 

 

Clearing had been moved to Stoke on Trent during the war and, when it returned to London, a number of the girls came with it.  They were known as “the Stoke girls” in the department.  All in all there were about 40 clearing girls and a few male clerks.  The Head Clearer was Mr D. Stevens, a veteran who limped from his First World War wounds and was close to retirement.  The Head Clearing Girl was the redoubtable Grace Tucker, who looked after her girls like a very stern but kindly mother hen. 

 

I was a walks boy;  unlike the big five banks, who ran their own walks clearing, Martins and the other smaller clearing banks were members of the Bank of England amalgamated walks.  Our first job was to sort the inward sundries remittances from the branches into order of the twelve walks, after which we walked to the Bank of England, where the walks room was in the basement under the supervision of a senior Bank of England clerk.  Each of the participants provided two lads with the Bank of England itself handling the Paymaster General warrants

 

(Government cheques).  At 10.30 am we each started our walk to deliver the charges (cheques and bills of exchange) drawn on the non-clearing banks in our round, returning at 2 pm to collect the payment or returns, after which it was back to the Bank of England and then to Clearing Department with the settlement statement.

 

Initially I was given Walk 6, which included the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, a gloomy building at 9 Gracechurch Street, where the cashier sat in a steel cage just inside the entrance.  After a few weeks the walks were rotated and I was given Walk 12.  Ah bliss, this was the Pall Mall walk and, in addition to our bus fare, the Bank of England gave us 2/6d. a day for our lunch – riches indeed.  On Walk 12 I would finish the morning deliveries by about 11.30 and then had a long lunch break until the payment run at 2 pm.  My stay on the walk lasted for some six months, after which I was posted to 79 Edgware Road branch as junior.

 

AND FINALLY…

 

I have received a notification from Bank Workers Charity, which took over the Spread Eagle Foundation last year.  They are publicising their Christmas Grant, which is a one-off payment available to those who need additional financial support over Christmas.  The deadline for applications is 28 October 2016 and there is a free helpline to call on 0800 0234 834.  Their Client Advisors can also help with health, caring responsibilities, bereavement and much more. This charity applies their current grant criteria when assessing needs.  They have given me no indication of what those criteria are but a call to the helpline would give all the details of course.

 

I hope you will be able to come to our next lunch on November 3rd.  We are lucky to be able to keep the price the same as last year due to a generous bank subsidy.  Perhaps I will see you there. 

 

Meanwhile, keep well.

 

With best wishes,

 

Ros Edwards

Hon Secretary

 

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

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LONDON LUNCH

3RD November 2016

SPRING LUNCH

18TH May 2017

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