It was a dark and stormy evening - a Friday evening - and the rain came down in torrents. NOT a winter setting but an evening in July - the 18th to be precise.
The rain was keeping out the usual crush of customers and the few dripping figures who came into the Branch were silent witnesses of a typical English summer - 1958 vintage!
Someone came through the swing-doors as I handed back the pass-book to a customer. My quick glance at the man revealed a rain-soaked trilby hat and a black gleaming oil-skin dripping with water. Through rain-splashed glasses he looked for the Private Office door and quickly shot through.
Big business - important business - I thought as I sidled into the Office to receive this bedraggled individual. He discarded the dripping trilby, took off his glasses to clear the rain-drops and I could now recognise the figure! It was Mr Yardley!!
My last Branch to visit he gasped as he dropped the wet coat to the floor.
Yes! his self-imposed task of visiting the sixty-odd Branches to say Good-bye personally to all his scattered colleagues was now done.
He told us that he had thoroughly enjoyed the visits, meeting people for the first time who, previously, had only been names in his records in the Accounts Department.
Well done N.Y.!!! A very fine gesture!!
Good health - Good Luck - and a Happy Retirement!!!
A Message to you from Mr N G Yardley, Retired.
Changes in fashion are usually interesting, and not the least should be a change in the fashion of retirement. For many years I personally have felt that a new approach to this matter should be made.
Upon my retirement, therefore, it is my intention to visit each Branch, not only to renew my contact with old colleagues, but to meet for the first time many members of the Bank Staff who are familiar to me in name only. This way seems to me a much more sincere way of greeting you all upon my retirement from active work with the Bank, than by the usual meeting of often quite a small number of the Staff, accompanied also by the usual speeches which I am sure at times are rather difficult to compile.
In this short and simple message to you all I am sure that you do not need to be reminded that you are serving a great Undertaking worthy of your best, and that you will continue so to serve it.
A word to the younger members of the Staff, many of whom I am sure will attain high executive and even administrative positions in the future, please remember to accept your elevation when it comes not only with justifiable pride, but with a proper sense of humility and a desire not only to serve your employer well, but to treat your Staff in the same way as you would expect to be treated by them were the position reversed. I know this advice has a somewhat biblical flavour, and at times is very difficult to follow, particularly in these days of constant aggravation between Employers and Employed.
Perhaps I can put it another way by instancing the time so many years ago when I was a very young man undergoing training for an Army Commission in the First World War. It was then impressed upon me by Senior Army Officers in charge of training that an Officers First Duty was to the men under his Command: His thoughts must be for them first and for himself last.
I have seen no reason to deviate from this principle during the whole period of my civil life since, and I have always remembered that to expect loyalty from Staff, one must also give loyalty to them in return.
In conclusion may I say that I am purposely omitting the words Farewell or Good-bye from this message. I hope to see you all from time to time at your work or at social functions for many years to come.
For the time being then,
Good Luck and Good Fortune to you all,
N G YARDLEY
Around the Branches in Eighty Days
The following article by Les Dobson (then Manager at Farcroft branch) appeared in the Autumn 1958 edition of the Banks staff magazine. It refers to Neville Yardley, who was the Banks Chief Accountant from 1928 to 1958. On his retirement, Mr Yardley also wrote an item for the magazine, and this is reproduced as the second article below.