Martins at War - Gentlemen the ladies.jpg

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1946 Trials of the Returned Warrior MBM-Sp46IFC.jpgStart as you mean to go on…

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This cartoon is the very first item to be published in Martins Bank Magazine, whose debut in the spring of 1946 gets straight down to the business of the Bank finding its way through the post war world.  As hundreds of men return from war duties at home and abroad, the army of women who have so capably taken their place for so long is about to be pensioned off and sent back to the “woman’s place” – the home.

 

This is an excellent start for Martins Bank Magazine - its willingness to tackle head on the issues of the day, from returning soldiers in 1946, to conquering the staff’s fear of new technology in the 1960s is what makes it such a fantactic historical record – reflecting each of the decades in which it appears in such a way as to show life both inside and outside the world of banking.

 

Our good friend Michael Brown, who is of the third generation of his family to work for Martins Bank, reminded us of the importance of the army of wartime lady managers, clerks in charge and cashiers.  He wrote:

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1958 Mr M P M Brown MBM-Au69P12.jpg“My father entered the Bank of Liverpool and Martins and served for 43 years including his service in North Africa and Italy during the war. It was this latter aspect which made me peruse again the first Martins magazine which was issued in the Spring of 1946. I saw my father's name listed with those men who were returning from the war.

 

It struck me then the huge impact the war had had on the staffing of the Bank. In the four quarterly editions of the magazine issued in 1946 a total of 1156 men were listed as reporting back from H.M.Forces. Of these  half had been taken out of Liverpool and Manchester Districts and 227 from London. To maintain a banking service women were recruited and comment is made via our magazine of the valuable role these ladies played to keep the wheels turning. Special articles were written in the  magazine and whilst quite a number of photographs were shown, it was stated that to pay a proper tribute to the ladies no less than 1500  photos would have had to be shown! Today there are more women than men in the Bank which is a vast transformation from years gone by.  How things change”…

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Secret Army

As more and more of the Bank’s male staff are called up for active duty, their places are taken by an army of women, many of whom have both war duties AND home responsibilities.  In the Winter of 1946 and the Spring of 1947, Martins Bank Magazine presents three galleries as a tribute to the women who have kept the Bank going in the dark days of World War two.  Around forty images are published across the three articles, and we have reproduced just twelve of them here.  Bear in mind as you read on, the times in which these words were written, the social and working status of women – quite different to today -  and the undoubted sincerity with which this tribute was originally made…

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Gentlemen: - The Ladies

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1946 03.jpgThe country did not put them into uniforms; they were not given medals or decorations; unobtrusively they took over jobs left vacant by the men who joined the forces. Quietly they are returning to their former posts or leaving to make homes for their returning menfolk.  Not all of them took up front-line positions - there were those who carried on the jobs they had always done. There were also those on whom the limelight did not shine because their most valuable service in the national danger was rendered in key positions behind the scenes. Through the darkness of many a weary night they performed their civil defence duties and were at their posts as usual in the morning. Many of them kept their homes together and looked after aged relatives in addition to their banking duties.

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1942 to 1945 Miss B R Wilcockson Clerk in Charge MBM-Au46P29.jpg

1943 to 1946  Miss W Booksby Clerk in Charge MBM-Au46P28.jpg

1943 to 1946 Miss Sybil Coope Clerk in Charge MBM-Au46P28.jpg

1943 to 1946 Miss E M Webster Pro Manager MBM-Au46P28.jpg

1943 to 1945 Miss M C Grice Clerk in Charge MBM-Wi46P10.jpg

1942 to 1943 Miss Anne Shuttleworth Clerk in Charge MBM-Wi46P11.jpg

Miss B R Wilcockson

Clerk in charge

PUDSEY

1/4/42 to 4/11/45

Miss W Rooksby

Clerk in Charge

WALLASEY ST HILARY

15/6/42 to 30/6/46

Miss Sybil Coupe

Clerk in Charge

SEVENOAKS

1/2/1943 to 1946

Miss E M Webster

Clerk in Charge

LONDON LOWNDES ST

1/3/43 to 30/6/46

Miss M C Grice

Clerk in Charge

NESTON

1/6/45 to 1/9/46

Miss Anne Shuttleworth

Clerk in Charge

HIPPERHOLME

1/4/42 to 1/9/43

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It is altogether fitting that we should pay tribute to them at this time when their special responsibilities are coming to an end. And so, we are letting you see what manner of “men” they are. Addressing ourselves more especially to our colleagues who joined the forces we want to show you the photographs of the ladies who did your jobs while you were away. And just as we all faced the same dangers and stood equal in the face of the fire and steel of the enemy, without thought of precedence or position, so do we introduce these ladies to you. We have observed no sort of order in choosing the first selection and it is our intention that no one who performed special duties shall be left out, whether their work gave them the respon­sibility of managing a small branch or of performing special duties in some other capacity.

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1945 to 1946 Miss K M Jones Clerk in Charge MBM-Wi46P11.jpg

1941 to 1946 Miss May Jones Clerk in Charge MBM-Wi46P11.jpg

1943 to 1946 Miss Nora L Towers Clerk in Charge MBM-Sp47P25.jpg

1945 to 1946 Miss R W Everitt Cashier MBM-Sp47P25.jpg

1943 to 1946 Miss M A Lonsdale Clerk in Charge MBM-Sp47P24.jpg

1942 to 1946 Miss E M Law Clerk in Charge MBM-Sp47P23.jpg

Miss K M Jones

Clerk in Charge

ALLERTON RD LIVERPOOL

1/11/45 to 30/6/46

Mrs May Jones

Clerk in Charge

OLDHAM WERNETH

1/11/41 to 31/5/46

Miss Norah L Towers

Clerk in Charge

BISPHAM

1/8/43 TO 30/4/46

Miss R W Everitt

Cashier

LONDON 68 Lombard St

15/1/45 to 1/5/46

Miss M A Lonsdale

Clerk in Charge

BESSES ‘O TH’ BARN

13/10/41 to 31/5/46

Miss E M Law

Clerk in Charge

STACKSTEADS

1/6/42 to 30/4/46

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The example they have set is indeed a shining one.  Gentlemen, in this and the past two issues we have endeavoured to pay a worthy tribute to the girls who “held the fort” while you were away on active service.  We lay down our pen with the feeling of having performed our task very inadequately. For one thing, to have done the job thor­oughly it would have been necessary to have published about 1,500 photographs instead of under 40 ; but the few we have selected must be regarded as representative of them all. They were chosen because they shouldered responsibility of a special nature which would never have fallen to their lot in peace-time, but we are very conscious that their service was no more meritorious than that of other girls who kept the system running by faithful daily attendance, despite air raids, destroyed homes, illness and shopping difficulties. The tribute is to the lady members of our war-time staff as a whole, and these front-line girls have been chosen to receive it on behalf of all of you. Let us then honour them. Gentlemen – “The Ladies” To them we say: - “You did a grand job. We are proud of you. We salute you”.

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