At first glance, Martins Bank does seem to have the East Coast pretty well covered, but despite the push to fill gaps in the branch portfolio as late as the Summer of 1969, the Bank is unable to populate East Anglia with anywhere near the number of branches held by its biggest rival. Barclays in the East of England is like Martins in the North – branches EVERYWHERE. This position is inherited through Barclays’ amalgamation with and takeover of many small banks throughout the Eastern Counties, which is a process similar of course how Martins achieved its own dominance of the North and the smaller banks there. The legacy of the Quakers gives the City of Norwich its own large and comprehensive network of Barclays branches, similar in coverage to Martins’ domination of Cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Even as far west as King’s Lynn, Barclays can respond to Martins’ one solitary little branch with FIVE of its own, and a further four along the coast road of The Wash to Hunstanton! Barclays is also well respresent across Fenland to Peterborough. With a proven track record of FIRSTS Martins does actually manage to be the first to open a branch in the Eaton and Cringleford area of Norwich, but by the time the new building is completed, the keys are handed to Barclays who still have the branch today. Hindsight, and “what might have been” are useless commodities after the fact, and lovely as it would be to think that Martins had gone on to fill East Anglia with its own rival network of Branches, time was against the Bank, and resources already beginning to dry up. As we know however – especially in the early part of the Twenty-First Century, branch closures, first slowly in the 1980s and then in unstoppable waves from the early 2000s onwards, have put paid to any Bank’s hopes of East Anglian domination! Our rather unscientific map fails to show Martins Bank Colchester (photo, above left) – Martins Bank’s only representation in Essex, which was once a flagship branch. With a larger branch just around the corner, and two more in the town, Barclays has no need for this imposing building at the time of the merger…