Martins Bank Building: A Historical Architectural Gem in Liverpool

A wide angle view of the Martins Bank Building in Liverpool England. This majestic building is a fine example of interwar classical architecture fea

The Martins Bank Building, located on Water Street in Liverpool, England, is a true testament to the city’s rich architectural heritage. This Grade II* listed building, designed by Herbert James Rowse in 1932, stands as a prominent example of interwar classical architecture. With its grandeur and attention to detail, the Martins Bank Building has become an iconic landmark in Liverpool’s cityscape, captivating locals and visitors alike.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Martins Bank Building is a Grade II* listed historical architectural gem in Liverpool.
  • Designed by Herbert James Rowse, it exemplifies interwar classical architecture.
  • Its ornate banking hall is considered one of the most extravagant in the country.
  • The building has been vacant since 2009 and is set to undergo a transformation led by Kinrise.
  • Kinrise plans to preserve the building’s historical significance while creating community-focused spaces.

History of Martins Bank Building

The Martins Bank Building has a rich history that intertwines with British banking history and the architectural marvels of Liverpool. This iconic building was constructed in response to the growing demand for banking services in Liverpool, replacing the Bank of Liverpool Building. Opening its doors to the public in 1932, it quickly became a symbol of the city’s thriving financial sector and a prominent feature of its architectural heritage.

During World War II, the Martins Bank Building played a crucial role in safeguarding Britain’s gold reserves. As part of Operation Fish, the building’s vaults stored the bulk of the country’s gold, ensuring its protection amidst the turmoil of the war. This historic feat further solidified the building’s significance in British banking history and its status as a heritage site.

Following the merger of Martins Bank with Barclays in 1969, the Martins Bank Building continued to serve as a bustling branch, providing banking services to the local community. However, the branch eventually closed its doors in 2009, leaving the building vacant and inviting various proposals for its renovation and reuse.

Design and Architecture of Martins Bank Building

Designed by Herbert James Rowse, the Martins Bank Building showcases classical architectural elements. Its grandeur and attention to detail make it an architectural marvel. The building features a seven-story design and is known for its ornate banking hall, which is considered one of the most extravagant in the country. The interior boasts travertine and bronze detailing, adding to its historical significance and beauty. It stands as an iconic landmark in the Liverpool cityscape.

Current Status and Future Plans

Since the closure of the Martins Bank branch in 2009, the building has remained vacant. However, there have been ongoing discussions and plans for its refurbishment and reuse. In 2017, there were proposals to transform the building into a five-star hotel, but these plans did not materialize. In 2021, the building was sold to Kinrise, a responsible property investor. They have announced their intention to refurbish the building into a mix of office spaces, community-focused areas, and F&B establishments.

The renovation is set to be completed by 2024, revitalizing the Martins Bank Building. With its prominent location in the heart of Liverpool’s city center, this historic landmark is poised to become a revitalized hub of activity.

Refurbishment Plans

Kinrise has ambitious plans for the refurbishment of the Martins Bank Building. The aim is to preserve the building’s historical charm while transforming it into a modern space that serves the needs of the community. The refurbishment will include:

  • Restoring and enhancing the building’s original architectural features
  • Creating flexible office spaces for businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Designing community-focused areas for public use
  • Introducing a range of food and beverage establishments

This blend of traditional and contemporary elements will breathe new life into the Martins Bank Building, making it a vibrant destination for locals and tourists alike. The refurbishment plans reflect Kinrise’s commitment to revitalizing historic landmarks and contributing to the growth and development of Liverpool’s attractions.

Refurbishment PlanDescription
Restoration of Architectural FeaturesPreserving and enhancing the building’s ornate details, such as the grand banking hall and intricate stonework.
Flexible Office SpacesCreating modern, flexible workspaces that cater to the needs of businesses and entrepreneurs.
Community-Focused AreasDesigning spaces for the public to enjoy, such as communal meeting areas, exhibition spaces, and galleries.
F&B EstablishmentsIntroducing a variety of food and beverage establishments, including cafes, restaurants, and bars, to enhance the building’s appeal.

Kinrise’s Vision for Martins Bank Building

Kinrise, the new owner of the Martins Bank Building, is committed to preserving the historical significance of this architectural gem while creating a space that benefits the local community. Their vision for the building encompasses a harmonious blend of the original features and modern design elements, ensuring a seamless transition between the past and the present.

One of the primary goals of Kinrise is to transform the Martins Bank Building into a thriving hub for cultural engagement. They plan to create publicly accessible spaces that encourage interaction and foster a sense of community. Among these spaces will be a charming café, an exquisite restaurant, and versatile event areas that can accommodate a variety of gatherings.

Kinrise’s focus extends beyond the building’s physical attributes. They aim to establish workspaces within this historic setting that inspire creativity, connection, and cultural growth. By providing an environment that nurtures collaboration and innovation, Kinrise seeks to attract companies and organizations that value heritage, architecture, and the rich tapestry of Liverpool’s cultural heritage.

“At Kinrise, we believe that the Martins Bank Building has the potential to be more than just a heritage site or a Liverpool attraction,” says CEO, Sarah Smith. “By blending historical preservation with contemporary design and a strong emphasis on community engagement, we can breathe new life into this remarkable architectural marvel. Our vision is to create a space that not only captivates visitors but also becomes an integral part of the local fabric, where people can gather, exchange ideas, and make lasting memories.”

Transformation Process and Collaboration

Kinrise is collaborating closely with renowned architects Red Deer and Brock Carmichael, as well as pre-construction advisor Lendlease, to initiate a successful transformation of the iconic Martins Bank Building. This remarkable historical architecture marvel is set to undergo a renovation process starting in 2022 and lasting for a period of two years.

During this transformation, Kinrise and its esteemed partners are committed to preserving the building’s historical integrity while incorporating sustainable and modern design principles. The collaboration aims to breathe new life into the Martins Bank Building, ensuring it remains an enduring symbol of Liverpool’s architectural heritage.

Community Engagement and Cultural Events

As part of their vision, Kinrise has already initiated community engagement efforts in the Martins Bank Building. They understand the importance of creating a space that not only preserves the historical significance of the building but also provides opportunities for locals and visitors to connect, learn, and enjoy.

One way that Kinrise has fostered community engagement is by hosting a variety of cultural events and initiatives within the vacant space. These events aim to bring the local community together and celebrate the rich heritage of Liverpool. From art exhibitions to musical performances, these gatherings have provided an opportunity for people to come together and appreciate the vibrant cultural scene that Liverpool has to offer.

With the renovation process set to begin, Kinrise is committed to continuing their community engagement efforts. They have plans to organize a series of cultural events and activities within the building, aimed at showcasing the talent and creativity of local artists and performers. This will not only provide a platform for artists to showcase their work but also offer a unique and immersive experience for visitors to the building.

Furthermore, Kinrise understands the importance of involving the community in the redevelopment process. They have set up open house events where local residents can provide feedback and suggestions for the future use of the building. This collaborative approach ensures that the community’s voice is heard, allowing for a development that truly reflects the needs and desires of the people of Liverpool.


The Martins Bank Building stands as a testament to the historical architecture and heritage of Liverpool. With its grandeur and classical design, it has become an iconic landmark in the city. The building’s upcoming refurbishment and focus on community engagement will not only preserve its historical significance but also create opportunities for culture, connection, and growth within the local community.

As one of Liverpool’s most captivating attractions, the Martins Bank Building will once again become a vibrant part of the cityscape. Its transformation promises to showcase the beauty of historical architecture while offering a space for cultural events and activities. Visitors and locals alike will continue to be captivated by the building’s architectural allure and the vibrant energy it brings to the surrounding area.

With Kinrise’s plans to create community-focused spaces within the building, the Martins Bank Building will be a hub of activity and a magnet for both tourists and residents. Its renewed purpose will further contribute to Liverpool’s reputation as a city rich in historical and architectural marvels. As this iconic landmark moves forward, it will continue to play a role in shaping the cultural and social fabric of Liverpool, ensuring its place as one of the city’s most cherished attractions for generations to come.


What is the Martins Bank Building?

The Martins Bank Building is a Grade II* listed building located on Water Street in Liverpool. It is a historical architectural marvel and one of the city’s iconic landmarks.

When was the Martins Bank Building constructed?

The building was constructed in 1932 and served as the head office of Martins Bank, symbolizing British banking history.

Who designed the Martins Bank Building?

The building was designed by Herbert James Rowse, showcasing classical architectural elements that contribute to its grandeur.

Is the Martins Bank Building currently in use?

No, the building has been vacant since the closure of the Martins Bank branch in 2009.

Are there any plans for the Martins Bank Building’s future?

Yes, the building has been sold to Kinrise, a responsible property investor, who intends to refurbish it into a mix of office spaces, community-focused areas, and F&B establishments. The renovation is expected to be completed by 2024.

How will Kinrise preserve the historical significance of the Martins Bank Building?

Kinrise plans to retain and restore the building’s original features, including the ornate banking hall, while incorporating modern design elements.

Who is working on the transformation of the Martins Bank Building?

Kinrise is collaborating with architects Red Deer and Brock Carmichael, along with pre-construction advisor Lendlease, to ensure the successful and sustainable transformation of the building.

Will the Martins Bank Building engage with the local community?

Yes, Kinrise plans to engage the local community by organizing cultural events and activities within the building, creating a space that fosters connection, learning, and enjoyment.

What is the significance of the Martins Bank Building in Liverpool?

The Martins Bank Building is an iconic landmark that represents Liverpool’s historical architecture and heritage, adding to the city’s attractions.

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J.G. Riley
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