Reader column: ‘It was the best move we never did’
In this week’s column we hear from Martin Braybrook, who spent years working at Cromer’s Barclays bank, which is due to close its doors for the last time on December 7.
I’m 70 years old and I live in Furze Hill. I was transferred to Barclays Cromer in 1966 as a cashier - we must have had a staff of about 15. I remember the manager, Ray Clarke, who was very much a law unto himself; the chief clerk, Ron Tilson, who lived in the flat above the branch and the chief cashier, Maurice Sainty, who was always quoting poetry.
I remember getting a frightful telling off from the manager for wearing brown winkle picker shoes and white socks.
All the male staff had to wear suits in those days, although on Saturday mornings we were allowed to wear sports jackets.
The manager used to bring his dog in on a Saturday morning which would sprawl across the floor in his office. Ron Tilson was a lovely man and since I was a teenager living in ‘digs’ he used to take me out for a drink quite often in the Red Lion. He always called me ‘Lofty’.
I was transferred to Bungay in 1968 and thought no more about Cromer until January 1979, when married with a young daughter and living in Cambridge, I was appointed manager of the Cromer branch. I always remember my proud father saying: “Well, Martin, now you’ve made it.”
I stayed at the Ship Hotel - now M&Co - for three months while we were looking for a house to buy - we eventually found one and are still living in it.
It was a bad winter for snow and one weekend Cromer was virtually cut off and I couldn’t get home.
I had a good bunch of staff working for me - several of whom still live in the town - and we involved ourselves in the local community entering floats in the Cromer carnival and dressing accordingly on carnival day. I always tried to help customers whenever I could and many are still friends today.
I later transferred to Great Yarmouth and then to Norwich, before returning to north Norfolk as corporate manager with a desk in Aylsham before taking early retirement at the end of 1999. I went onto become bursar at Beeston Hall School before finally retiring in 2010.
When I was transferred to Yarmouth I fully intended to move house but we were settled in Cromer, had two young daughters, a nice house, a good circle of friends and Cromer was just such a nice place to live. I was (and still am) heavily involved with the tennis and squash club and the cricket club and there was no real reason to move.
I often say it was the best move we never did.
Favourite pubs: The Red Lion, Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.
Best meals out: Bolton’s Bistro, The Red Lion, The Rocket House
Takeaways: Park Chippy in Suffield Park