Friday 27 November 2009

Martins Bank

Dear Sir,

Do you know where Martins Bank in Liverpool City centre is?  I have searched local maps but I am unable to locate the building and suspect it may no longer be around.


Peter Faulk


During the Second World War, a large part of Britain's gold reserve was stored in the Liverpool branch of Martins Bank. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Peter,
    thankfully it is still around for us to enjoy and is situated next to Liverpool Town Hall in Water Stree,talthough it is currently vacant and awaiting a sympathetic developer.

    Former Martins Bank (now Barclays), built 1927–32, is the work of Herbert J. Rowse, and among the very best interwar classical buildings in the country and Won in a competition judged by Charles Reilly, the design perfectly expresses the American classicism promoted through Reilly’s Liverpool School of Architecture, where Rowse studied before travelling in Canada and the United States. Portland stone on a steel frame, ten storeys, the upper ones set back. Ornament is judiciously concentrated at top and bottom, more emphasis being placed on beauty of proportion than on surface decoration. Interior more opulent. The central entrance leads to a majestic top-lit banking hall, with island counter and vaulted arcades on four sides. Travertine walls, floor and columns (the latter hollow, threaded on to the frame), relieved with gilding, bronze and coloured marbles. Every detail, down to the stationery holders, was overseen by Rowse. Circular corner lobbies, those at the SW and NE giving access to lettable offices on the upper floors. These cantilever out over the banking hall, up to the skylight edges. The eighth-floor board room is like the hall of a Renaissance palace, with large chimneypiece and painted, beamed ceiling. On the roof are penthouses for lift machinery and a flat for the manager, linked by colonnades enclosing a roof garden. Interior and exterior sculpture, illustrating themes of money and the sea, is by Herbert Tyson Smith, assisted by Edmund Thomson and George Capstick. The flat, linear style is influenced by the Paris Exhibition of 1925. The main bronze doors are specially notable.


    Rob Ainsworth

    Programme Secretary/ Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society