Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 17, 2019
Webpage updated: February 17, 2019




The origins of Martin's Bank go back to 1563, when Sir Thomas Gresham did business at the sign of the Grasshopper in Lombard Street, London.  The Bank later became known as Messrs Martin and Company and from 1891 onwards was simply Martin's Bank Limited.

In 1918 Martin's was acquired by the Bank of Liverpool, which had been founded in 1831 and had made many acquisitions in the north of England.  It thus became the Bank of Liverpool and Martin's Limited.  This rather bulky title was shortened to Martin's Bank Limited in 1928, by which time it had 560 branches.

Martin's opened a branch at 73 George Street on Monday January 2nd 1939.  The first manager was Mr Edmund Brown.

On November 8th 1950 the Bank leased the temporary premises at number 25 Westwell Street, opposite the Guildhall, into which they moved in time for the tenancy on the George Street building to be terminated on January 6th 1951.

During 1957, or early 1958, the Bank moved to brand new premises at number 50 Cornwall Street, on the corner with Armada Way.  The architects were Messrs Lucas, Roberts and Brown.

A chance conversation between Councillor W A Miller, a former chairman of the Council's Housing Committee, and Mr T Quayle, the manager of the new branch in Armada Way, brought about a new branch of Martin's Bank on the Ernesettle housing estate.  It was hoped that, as the then chairman of the Committee, Alderman H M Pattison, said 'it will foster the abandonment of the "weekly" attitude towards wages and rent payments'.  'People will not budget on a weekly basis.  They will pay their rent by cheque or even by banker's order' he continued.

The branch was in one of the terrace of single-storey shops erected by the Council fronting on Hornchurch Road although the official address was given as Hornchurch Lane.  Although it was originally announced to be opened on August 5th 1958 it did not in fact open until Monday August 11th 1958.  It was managed by Mr Quayle from Plymouth and was open on Mondays and Fridays between 10am and 2.30pm and also on Saturday mornings from 9.30 until 11.30am.

Councillor Miller's grand idea, as stated by his successor, failed, however, and the branch was closed by 1964.

Martin's Bank Limited was amalgamated into Barclay's Bank Limited in 1968.


  I am grateful to Mr Jonathan Snowden of the Martin's Bank Archive for bringing the Ernesettle Estate Branch to my attention.