Barclays branch in Penny Lane, Liverpool

From the archives: Barclays in Liverpool

25 May 2018

In the build-up to the Champions League final, contested between Liverpool and Real Madrid, we look back through the Barclays archives at the bank’s connection with the northern city through the decades – from inspiring a character in The Beatles’ song Penny Lane in the 1960s to backing Liverpool FC during their seventies and eighties heyday.

Barclays Bank Water Street, Liverpool

Barclays building at 4 Water Street, Liverpool, c. 1960

This shot, with the iconic Liver Building in the background, shows the Water Street head office of Martins Bank, which merged with Barclays in 1969. In the heart of the city, half a mile from the Albert Dock, the impressive building was completed in 1932.

Barclays Bank Water Street (interior), Liverpool

The interior of Water Street, Liverpool, c. 1960

Water Street’s grand interior featured marble-lined walls, decorative stone floors and a boardroom with a walnut ceiling carved and painted with figures reflecting Liverpool’s connection with the sea. As this image shows, the banking hall was particularly impressive. In the 1940s, with the threat of a German invasion looming, Martins Bank was chosen to guard Britain’s most valuable asset. The bank looked after 280 tons of gold for over a month, before the decision was made to transport the gold by ship to Commonwealth ally Canada. 

Barclays Bank Penny Lane, Liverpool

Barclays branch in Penny Lane, Liverpool, 1963

Barclays played its own small part in the meteoric rise of the city’s most famous export, The Beatles – it is believed that employee Harold Yates of the city’s Penny Lane branch was the inspiration for the “banker with a motorcar” in the band’s 1967 hit.

Martins Bank and Barclays Bank signs, Liverpool

Martins Bank merges with Barclays, 1969

This notice and bank sign tell the story of Barclays’ merger with Martins Bank in 1969, the same year that the The Beatles released Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road.

Liverpool FC manager Kenny Dalglish

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish raises the trophy at the Barclays League Division One, the forerunner of the Premier League

The seventies and eighties brought unprecedented success on the pitch for Liverpool Football Club. Between 1976 and 1990, the club won an incredible four European Cups and nine league titles, including being crowned the Barclays Division champions in 1989.

Gordon Brown and Steven Gerrard at Anfield Youth Club

Gordon Brown and Steven Gerrard at the Anfield Youth Club in April/May 2005

The year 2005 saw the city become the first beneficiary of the Barclays Spaces for Sport community sponsorship programme. At a ceremony attended by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and then Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez, the bank invested £600,000 in Anfield Youth Club. Marking the occasion, the future Prime Minister hailed the “excellent” partnership between the Football Foundation and Barclays.

Barclays Eagle Lab Mann Island

Entrepreneurs in the co-working space at Barclays Eagle Lab, Mann Island

In 2007, Water Street was closed and Barclays moved its flagship branch just half a mile away to Lord Street, following a £2 million refurbishment. The bank has also invested £13 million in the customer service focused Skybranch at Wavertree, as well as £150,000 in the new Liverpool Eagle Lab, which is located at Mann Island overlooking the historic waterfront and offers a 200-seat co-working space for the city’s next generation of start-ups and entrepreneurs.