Portrait of John Biddulph Martin (1886).
Portrait of John Biddulph Martin (1886).

John Biddulph Martin (10 June 1841 – 20 March 1897) was an English banker and statistician.

Early life

Martin was born on the 10th of June 1841, in Eaton Square, London, the second son of Robert Martin, of Overbury Court, Tewkesbury. He was educated at Harrow School and Exeter College, Oxford, graduating from the latter in 1862.[1][2]

Banking career

Martin worked for the family business of Martins Bank from 1864.[3][2]


His paper on "Our Gold Coinage", 1882, an able statistical inquiry into its defective condition at the time, with extremely careful statements showing the depreciation of the coinage from 1817, the date when UK gold coinage was resumed, was of great service in promoting the late 19th century reform of the gold currency.

This paper appeared in the Journal of the Bankers' Institute, to which, as well as to the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, he was a frequent and valued contributor. He was President of the last-named Society at the time of his death.[3] His article on "The Evolution of our Banking System" in the Economic Journal for 1891 is a very able sketch of the growth of the business, written as it only could have been by a man who had an accurate knowledge both of the history of the past and of the practice of present times.[3]

The most important work by John Biddulph Martin was "The Grasshopper" in Lombard Street, a history of Martins Bank. The bank was at one time the property of Sir Thomas Gresham, whose crest, the Grasshopper, the name commemorates.[3]


Martin played football for Wanderers F.C. between 1865 and 1870.[4] He played for "London" in the historic London v Sheffield football match of 1866, scoring a goal and a touch down.[5][6] At the time of his death, he was president of the London Athletic Club.[2]


Martin's elder brother, Richard B. Martin, was a Member of Parliament for Droitwich from 1892 to 1906.[1] In 1883, Martin married American suffragist Victoria Woodhull.


Martin died of pneumonia on the 20th of March, 1897, at Las Palmas, Canary Islands.[1] He was survived by his wife Victoria.



  1. ^ a b c Rawson, Rawson W. (1897). "John Biddulph Martin M.A.". Bulletin de l'Institut International de Statistique. Rome: Imprimerie Nationale. x (2): 155–157. hdl:2027/osu.32435063002018.
  2. ^ a b c "Mr John Biddulph Martin, M.A.". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. 60 (2): 434. 1897-06-01. JSTOR 2979802.
  3. ^ a b c d Palgrave, Robert Harry Inglis (1910). Dictionary of Political Economy. London: Macmillan and Co. pp. 753–754.
  4. ^ Cavallini, Rob (2005). The Wanderers – Five Times F.A. Cup Winners. Worcester Park, Surrey: Dog N Duck Publications. p. 91. ISBN 9780955049606.
  5. ^ "Sheffield v. London". Supplement to the Sporting Life: 2. 1866-04-07.
  6. ^ n.a. [Geoffrey Green] (1953). History of the Football Association. London: Naldrett Press. p. 42.
  7. ^ "Review of 'The Grasshopper' in Lombard Street by John Biddulph Martin". The Investors' Review. I: 321–322. 1892.