Saturday, September 19, 2020

Dire Straits, Market Harborough and the decline of branch banking

Over to Leicestershire La La La:

Multi-platinum Dire Straits’ bassist Jon Illsley was born in Leicester on June 24, 1949. He spent five years in the city before his father accepted the post of Westminster Bank deputy manager in Market Harborough and the family moved to Shrewsbury Avenue, Little Bowden.

Surrounded by fields and once fond of fishing for sticklebacks in the nearby River Jordan, Jon had what he described as an “idyllic” childhood. No, it doesn’t sound very rock, does it? Dire Straits formed in John’s flat in London in ‘76 in the middle of a punk revolution. Back then Pick Withers, another Leicester native, was their drummer.

Regular readers will be familiar with the Jordan, but here is Shrewsbury Avenue.

What interests me about this report is that

  • the Westminster Bank was once an independent concern (it merged with the National Provincial Bank in 1968)
  • local branches once had not only managers but deputy managers too
  • the job paid so well that you could afford to live on an unadopted road

Years ago, when I had an important letter to post I had a superstition that led me to climb the hill and use the little box you see in the photo above.

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