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Thread: Martins Bank, Water Street

  1. #1
    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Default Martins Bank, Water Street

    I mentioned in my recent post about the Queensway Tunnel that Herbert J Rowse was, in my opinion, Liverpool’s greatest architect. His four great Liverpool buildings are: India Buildings (1923) Mersey Tunnel (1925-34) including George’s Dock Building Martins Bank, Water Street (1927-1932) Philharmonic Hall (1933-39) Of these, Martins Bank is probably his masterpiece – a cathedral to commerce which would [...]

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    Smurf Member scouse smurf's Avatar
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    When did Barclay's leave the building ? I always thought I'd gone in a fancy Barclays that was on the other side of Water St

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    excellent Colin

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    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    They left about 3 years ago (I am not sure when exactly). Barclays were definitely in the building (I banked there for a while just because I liked the building so much).

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    Smurf Member scouse smurf's Avatar
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    Well it would have been there I went in. Was with a mate who banked there about 15 years ago so I couldn't be totally sure.

    Out of interest, what was the building on the other side of the road ??

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scouse smurf View Post
    When did Barclay's leave the building ? I always thought I'd gone in a fancy Barclays that was on the other side of Water St
    The history of the building is that Martin's Bank was taken over as a company by Barclay's so that all branches that had been Martin's banks in Liverpool became Barclay's.

    I put a note on Colin's website to note that I worked in that building on Water Street in the Cash Center in 1968 when it was still Martin's. It must have changed to Barclay's pretty soon after that though because I kept an account at Martin's when I left to go to college in the U.S. and I found that I was dealing with Barclay's Bank very shortly after I re-emigrated to the United States.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Great photos Colin. Thanks again.

    Your claim of Herbert J. Rowse, being "Liverpool's greatest architect" [forgive me, as you did say it's an opinion]. I'd like to throw a challenger into the ring:

    John Foster Junior - Custom House; St Luke's Church [part]; St John's market [now demolished]; St Andrew's Scottish Church, Rodney Street; St Michael's Church, Pitt Street; Rebuild of St. George's Church, Derby Square; Public Baths, St George's Dock; The [New Brighton] Rock Lighthouse; Aintree racecourse grandstand; The Moorish Arch; The Necropolis Cemetery [Anglican Cathedral site].

    ----




    St Martin's Bank - I wonder if the ceiling sculptural relief was inspired by the Sailor's Home? Anyone notice the elephant in the room? The figure of an African child chosen as subject matter for the sculpture.

    Remember the African child reliefs in the entrance vestibule which was covered in a previous thread - Barclay's (Martin's) Bank Doors Linked to Slavery?.



    Picture credits:
    http://www.liverpoolmonuments.co.uk/gates/pooley11.html
    http://streetsofliverpool.co.uk/mart...-water-street/
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hi Dazza

    You make a good point that the design of the mermaid in Martin's Bank could have been inspired by the mermaids at the Sailors Home. There is an interesting discussion of mermaid lore and art here: "LUSTY LADIES: MERMAIDS IN THE MEDIEVAL IRISH CHURCH" by the late Patricia Radford, Curator/Lecturer Oklahoma State University. The author shows a photograph of a two-tailed mermaid found at Pompeii.

    And by the way, John Foster Junior might have built a lot of stuff qualifying him as being "Liverpool's greatest architect" over Herbert J. Rowse, yet did either of them build Liverpool's greatest buildings? Might Harvey Lonsdale Elmes (St. George's Hall) and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (the Anglican Cathedral) not tower over both of them? Or are we talking about an architect having to be a resident of the city to qualify as "Liverpool's greatest architect"?

    Cheers

    Chris
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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quite right Chris, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott are both very worthy suiters to the title of Liverpool's greatest architect, and I liked your "tower over both of them" postscript. I don't think we should limit the title to Liverpool born and bred, nor how many completed or surviving works there are.

    Mermaids, those lusty ladies was an interesting link, thanks - although the Martin's bank mermaid looks surprizingly like a boy, and an African boy at that?

    Daz
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Aye the Martins Bank image looks more like a Merman than a Mermaid. Interesting depiction of the mythical water entity. The African look of the figure is indeed also intriguing.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Martin's bank sculptured reveal panels in the entrance vestibule.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Martins Bank.jpg 
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    Also covered here - Barclay's (Martin's) Bank Doors Linked to Slavery.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    John Foster Jnr is a worthy challenger but the contest is a little bit uneven. Rowse's works are well documented whereas there are many works that have been attributed to Foster, yet cannot be proven because no documentation is extant.

    These include:

    Lime Street Station (demolished), possibly Liverpool Road Station (Manchester) and Gambier Terrace.

    John Foster Jnr was also responsible for illuminating the entire Town Hall, Old Dock and Exchange for the visit of HRH The Prince Regent in 1806.

    Saying that, Rowse's work is more in my taste.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    My suggestion that Herbert J Rowse is Liverpool's greatest architect is, of course, just a matter of opinion. Certainly there are good competition including John Foster Junior, who has been treated shabbily by succeeding generations. Also Alfred Waterhouse, born in Aigburth in 1830 and one of the great figures of the Gothic Revival. His Manchester Town Hall is one of the great buildings of the nineteenth century - although we are talking about Liverpool here (where he is well represented with his familiar use of terracotta brick).
    Elmes I am less sure about - he died too soon for his talent to develop after St George's Hall. Giles Gilbert Scott's Cathedral is to me one of the great buildings of the twentieth century - albeit in an outmoded style. I'll post some more of Rowse's work on Friday to try and convince you.

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    Martin hmtmaj's Avatar
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    Great thread.
    Isn't this where the Gold was kept during WW2 ?
    The Bullion Boys is the film about it
    Mart
    Started the Old Swan Website:

    http://oldswan.piczo.com/?cr=5

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Herbert J Rowse's firm still survives today under the guise of Bradshaw Rowse Harker.

    And thanks Colin, I'm looking forward to seeing some more photos of Rowse's works.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Interesting facts fortinian, so the Prince Regent had paid a visit. The scope of works undertaken by earlier architects always surprises me. Dock surveyor, in the John Foster Jr's case. Not to mention lighting specialists as well.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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