Martins Bank – Foreign Exchange
Here I was in my element. I had know all the relevant and changing regulations, for the Bank of England in those immediate post war years and days of currency restrictions closely monitored our activities and that of our customers. In this I had my own business accounts to deal with and personal customers – many of whom I knew from Mr Gee’s practice – who came to the bank for currency and credits. I had to watch carefully apply the rules, matching them to the customer’s needs, know and keep abreast of all the relevant exchange rates and do the arithmetic, liaise with the Bank’s Liverpool sub office, and keep all the relevant accounts in ledgers that had to be balanced each day before I left the bank. And I might add, without the help of calculators and computers. So my days were busy with satisfying work that required all of my attention.
And as with every other job I relished the day to day tasks, most of all the personal contact with my customers and the camaraderie within the bank. To better fit me for these banking activities and the examinations of the Bankers Institute, I attended night school and studied banking and commercial law. Rather a change from my studies at Hutton many years previously. But I found it just as interesting.
A New Social Life
Besides enjoying the work, I enjoyed by fellow workers company outside of the office. With friends from within the bank I regularly went to concerts at the Royal Philharmonic Hall, to plays and the ballet at the Royal Court Theatre and participated in the banks choral and drama societies, singing with others in the bank choir and appearing in small roles in their dramatic productions.
At other times I spent as much time out of my home as I could. To that end, and because I liked the traditional architecture and atmosphere of St Clare’s Church in Sefton Park, I attended there joining the choir that sang from high in the chancel. The Latin drummed into me at Belrive Convent soon came back through this singing. For social reasons I also participated at the Franciscan run St Anthony of Padua Church in Mossley Hill even though I did not care for its modern design and architecture. It was here I was prevailed upon to take on the post of Akela, that is to be the adult Cub Scout leader, of their Wolf Cub pack. My grown children today get a lot of mileage out of the fact that their mother was the cub scout leader for Paul McCartney of the Beatles. In some ways this is remarkable, but in others not, I was the right age to be leader and this was Liverpool after all. I recall that my uniform included a nicely fitting and swinging kilt. I had a lot of fun and a few heart stopping moments with these Cubs for they were a lively and energetic bunch of Liverpudlian lads, especially when I took them on excursions by bus or ferry, counting them continually to ensure I hadn’t lost any along the way!
I also joined the cycling club and rode regularly with them at weekends when we often got out into Wales, and always on the return journey stopped at a cyclist’s café. There were many in those days that catered for cyclists and served superb high teas, for by then we had worked up a healthy appetite. I signed on with the Red Cross working as an auxiliary in the hospitals, and volunteered for duty as a hostess at the Catholic Atlantic House hostel for seamen, where the priests in charge kept a very close eye on the men’s behavior.