Although not justifying a full-time daily branch at September 1st 1919
, the inner-city Duddeston area provided sufficient demand for
opening hours in excess of the weekly four-and-a-half hours of the part-time evening branches. By the same staff working in conjunction
branch, an alternate daily branch was conducted at 117 Great Lister Street
: Mondays; Wednesdays; Fridays
: Tuesdays; Thursdays; Saturdays). Great Lister Street was a main thoroughfare in a district densely populated with poor
quality, back-to-back houses.
In contrast with the sober surroundings of private houses, institute rooms, and a library, as used
for temporary accommodation by other early branches, Duddeston had the distinction of starting life in a former public house. The
brass rails, high bar counter, the familiar seats, the old bar-parlour and smoke-room, and embossed trade designs in the windows,
all provided reminders that this used to be the Highland Laddie. When the opportunity arose to purchase the old pub and the adjoining
house, it was possible to make slight alterations to provide more room, but nothing substantial was possible, owing to the operations
of the Rent Restrictions Act.
But the branch developed rapidly, and the hours were extended, from April 12th 1920, to:
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.....10:00 to 14:30
- Saturdays...................................................10:00 to 13:00
Monday and Saturday Evenings..............17:30 to 19:30
Tuesdays were then added to the days of business, and from November 1st 1920,
Duddeston (and from the same date, Saltley) became a full-time daily branch.
With depositorship still progressing, a substantial
reconstruction scheme was decided upon. Building Plans
were lodged with the City's Engineer & Surveyor on July
4th 1922. During these alterations (which commenced on September 1st 1922
), business was conducted in the front room of 119 Great
Lister Street. The Bank having paid £1,000 for the freehold, the alterations cost an additional £1,115 (architect: Gerald McMichael;
contractor: S Surman & Son). Upon completion of the reconstruction, the branch was formally opened on March 17th 1923
the Lady Mayoress (Mrs David Davis), in the presence of a large crowd. The Lord Mayor and Neville Chamberlain also attended the opening
ceremony. Duddeston became the Bank's seventh permanent branch.
Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank included the following,
regarding the opening ceremony:
Speaking on this occasion, the Vicar of Duddeston appeared in the role of prophet, for he said that
in a few years the deposits in the Bank would be ten million pounds. Well, we have not quite reached that figure, but we are in sight
of eight million, so the Vicar can congratulate himself on his forecast.* A generous and public-spirited action must be recorded in
connection with this opening ceremony. Mr Alfred Ford, a well-known builder, had announced his intention of opening accounts for eighty-two
boy scouts, who were lined up near the entrance doors. As soon as business commenced these scouts filed up to the counter to receive
from the hands of the Lady Mayoress, the Lord Mayor, and Mr Neville Chamberlain, their pass books.
(* Total Bank balances
due to Depositors passed £10 million in February 1929.)
In 1926, the Bank obtained possession of the adjoining dwelling accommodation
and the City Surveyor prepared a plan for an extension of the branch; this work was carried out (at a cost of £1,800) by A Pearce
& Son - the work being completed in 1927.
1963 Annual Report stated that 'The present Duddeston Branch in Great Lister Street is shortly to be demolished under the Nechells
Green Re-development Scheme and the business will be transferred to premises in the new Vauxhall Road Shopping Centre.' The new address
was 52 Revesby Walk; the modern design incorporated a feature previously unheard of - carpets! The new premises were formally opened
by Councillor Mrs E L Hobson on July 26th 1963.
Replacement premises: 1963
The party assembled for the opening
of the new office includes (from left):
first - Jack Raftery
(Deputy General Manager);
third - Mrs E L Hobson (Chairman);
fourth - Jack Sutherland (General Manager)
of the branch, viewed from
the staff side of the counter (below - left)
Interior of the branch, viewed from
the customer side of the
counter (below - right)
The window behind the counter proved to be a design fault from a security aspect - robbers smashed through
it, traumatising the staff,
in the 1980s.
The branch's Commemoration Tablet can be seen on the left wall, just behind the counter. The
wording of this Tablet reflected the history of the branch premises:
'THE ORIGINAL DUDDESTON BRANCH WAS OPENED ON 17th MARCH 1923 AND
AS A RESULT OF REDEVELOPMENT OF THIS
AREA THE BUSINESS WAS TRANSFERRED TO THESE PREMISES WHICH WERE OPENED BY COUNCILLOR MRS E L HOBSON,
JP, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON 26th JULY 1963'