Branches
 
NE 
 ASTON CROSS
 05
8th
99 Aston Road North, Birmingham, B6 4DA
021-359 0285
AC
1923
 
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The opportunity to purchase 101 Aston Road North (which was then the main A38 road, prior to it being bypassed by the Aston Expressway in 1972) came at an auction in March 1922, when the Bank's valuer (Frank Wilde) obtained the property, the vendor being a Mr Woodward. A reconstruction scheme was subsequently carried out. The purchase of these premises were reported by the Bank Committee on July 4th 1922 as follows:
Your Committee report that they have been able to secure premises suitable to meet the future requirements of the Bank in the Aston Cross district. The premises are situate at number 101 Aston Road North, in a prominent shopping centre, and comprise a large shop and dwellinghouse. Vacant possession has been given and the premises can be adapted forthwith for the purposes of the Bank. The property is leasehold, with 52 years unexpired, and your Committee have agreed to the purchase at the sum of 1,020, which amount will be provided from the funds of the Bank. In accordance with No 10 of the Bank Rules, the Committee now ask for the approval of the Council to their action.
After reconstruction by F J Briley for the sum of 862, these new premises were officially opened on April 28th  1923, by Councillor R R Gelling. Before the opening ceremony, the guests of the Bank Committee took tea at St Mary's (Aston Brook) War Memorial Hall. Addressing the gathering, Councillor Gelling said he was sure the residents of Aston Cross would support the Bank in just a keen a manner as residents were doing in other areas; the more so as they now possessed reasonable premises in which to transact their business. Mr Gelling opened the new premises with a silver key presented by the committee, and then unveiled the branch's commemoration tablet. The Bank still held the lease on 1 Park Road, but were able to sub-let to a Mr Hatwell at the same rental being paid by the Bank.
 
The space available for the public at 101 Aston Road North measured just 16 feet by 9 feet, but by 1925 transactions were increasing at a rate of 47 per week towards an annual total in 1924/25 of 43,866. After the refurbished premises were opened in April 1923, the branch's rapid development necessitated an increase in staff from two to three and later from three to four. The following table shows the progress since the branch was opened in the temporary premises:
 
 
Aston Cross branch after the reconstruction in 1923 of 101 Aston Road North.
Councillor Gelling speaking at the official opening of the permanent branch.
left:
The branch after it was extended to include 99 Aston Road North
(December 11th 1926). The extension is on the right
The interior following a third set of alterations - date unknown
The medieval Aston Cross was originally located at the junction of Lichfield Road, Park Lane, and Rocky Lane, 1-miles north of Birmingham's centre. The ancient preaching cross was replaced by a clock tower towards the end of the 19th-century, as the area was developed for housing (Right).
 
Ansells Brewery and the HP Sauce factory were built near the landmark clock tower, plus small factories and more houses; the latter mainly consisting of tunnel-back terraces. The Bank sought to open a branch in this densely populated district in 1920.
 
In contrast with the method adopted for early branch sites at the commencement of the Bank, Aston Cross was opened immediately as a daily (full-time) office on Monday, November 1st 1920. Despite the fact that Aston branch (also a full-time office) was less than a mile away, the normal practice of testing demand with a part-time opening was not followed.
 
A small shop at 1 Park Road, Aston was the site for this experiment of gauging demand based solely on the surrounding density of population. The bold policy paid off, and it was soon necessary to find larger premises.
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1921 - 14,942
1925 - 154,605
1926 - 198,157
1946 - 1,268,245
1947 - 1,309,796
 
Number of Open Accounts at March 31st:
1921 - 576
1925 - 5,795
1927 - 8,279
1947 - 14,490
 
Average Weekly Transactions:
1921 - 131
1927 - 1,047
 
Annual Transactions
 Year Ended March 31st
   1922: 9,655
   1925: 43,866
   1947: 65,115
 
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OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of Aston Road North. The area where Aston Cross branch was located is now overshadowed by the Aston Expressway (A38(M)) that connects Birmingham's city centre to the M6 motorway. A nearby roundabout carries the Middleway Ring Road over the Expressway.
Managers:
1926 - F H Whitehouse
1928 - W I Wynn
1929 & 1930 - H J Sutherland
1931 - S A Guy
1932 - H J T Bayliss
1934 - T J Ladrooke
 
1958 - J C W Brown
1959 & 1960 - F M Thompson
1961 to 1963 - A H Bower
1965 to 1967 - F Hood
1969 to 1971 - J W Walker
1972 - L S Bellmore
1975 - L D Webber
1976 - M G Crofts
right:
Temporary premises at 1 Park Road,
used from 1920 to 1923
Councillor Gelling performs the branch opening ceremony, watched by Councillor Appleby.
 
Branch interior in 1923.
 
Deposits
 
Withdrawals
 
No. of
Transactions 
No. of Accounts
Opened 
Deposit Balances
@ March 31st
 5 Months ended March 31, 1921
 11,482
2,351 
2,745 
610 
14,942 
Year ended March 31, 1922 
27,949 
 15,714
9,655 
823 
29,319
   "         "           "     31, 1923
45,546 
23,795 
16,375 
1,198 
52,164 
   "         "           "     31, 1924
83,567
37,077
31,416
2,445
101,133
 11 Months ended Feb. 28, 1925
100,126 
54,477 
 38,989
2,193 
154,605
As with other early branches, the Bank was able to purchase the adjoining leasehold shop/dwelling house (number 99). The existing tenant used the premises as a coffee house and had a lease until September 1926. The asking price for the leasehold premises was 1,450, and although the Bank was able to secure them for 1,200, it required a payment of 250 to obtain possession from the sitting tenant. Fifty-two years remained on the lease, and the ground rent was 12 per annum. The flat above the branch was let at 12/6d  per week, inclusive of rates, to a policeman - Inspector Rowe.
 
Early in 1926, tenders were received for carrying out the alterations to amalgamate 99 and 101 Aston Road North: R Fenwick & Son - 2,153; A Pearce & Son - 2,170; Maddocks & Walford - 2,179; P W Cox - 2,247; E M Squire - 2,275; F J Briley - 2,485; W Sapcote & Sons - 2,989; W & J Webb - 3,125. As the amounts of these tenders exceeded the estimate of 1,550 provided by the City Surveyor, he was interviewed to ascertain the reason for the discrepancy. From this interview it emerged that 435 (furniture and fittings 335; contingencies 100) needed to be added to the original estimate, and the tender of R Fenwick & Son at 2,153 was accepted. In addition, Messrs Allbright and Wilson were requested to apply a stone preservative - presumably as an attempt to protect the branch's exterior Hollington stonework from the inner city's smoky atmosphere.
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Plan of plot purchased in 1922. The adjacent property (No 99), purchased in 1926, was on the southern side of No 101
 
Depositors'
Ledger