206 Rookery Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9PY
021-554 2688

The premises at 206 Rookery Road were purchased for 1,500 in 1923, and a part-time branch was opened on July 2nd that year: Monday and Saturday Evenings - 18:00 to 20:00. Within four years, the part-time branch had 1,513 depositors, and at March 31st 1927 there was 26,312 standing to their credit. During the conversion of the temporary premises into the permanent branch, the business of the bank was carried on in the Primitive Methodist Church in Farnham Road. Following the alterations, the premises were opened as a full-time branch (by the Chairman's wife - Lady Bower) on October 15th 1927.

The occasion was reported by the Erdington News:

The new permanent premises of the Birmingham Municipal Bank, situated at 206, Rookery Road, Handsworth, were opened on Saturday by Lady Bower in the presence of a large gathering. Preceding the opening, tea was served at Rookery Road P.M. Church Hall, after which the Lord Mayor (Alderman A H James) presided over a meeting.

Among those also present were Alderman Sir Percival Bower (chairman of the Bank Committee), the Lady Mayoress, the Chief Constable (Sir Charles H Rafter), Mr J P Hilton (general manager of the bank), Councillors A H Cooper, C H Clutterbuck and G F McDonald, the Rev J Scarlett (minister of Rookery Road Church), Messrs S Darlington, E J Thomas, and other members of the West Bromwich Board of Guardians.

Prior to presenting Lady Bower with a silver cake dish, the Lord Mayor said that there were 1,513 depositors in the Farcroft Branch, despite the fact that it had been only a temporary branch, and the amount standing to their credit was 25,436. It seemed to him that nothing would stem the progress of the bank, as it had firmly gained the confidence of the Birmingham public. They in the City Council had risen to be proud of Birmingham's latest trading undertaken, and their thanks were due to those who had helped to build it up. Birmingham was the only city in the United Kingdom to enjoy the privilege of a Municipal Bank.

Alderman Sir Percival Bower urged the desirability of extending municipal banking facilities. He said Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, and Swansea, to mention only a few towns, had promoted Parliamentary Bills, included in which were provisions for the establishment of Municipal Banks, but for reasons best known to themselves, the Local Legislation Committee of the Government thought it wise to turn down those particular clauses.

He submitted that if there had been no demand in Birmingham for facilities such as the bank provided, it would never have prospered as it had done. It had been said that the existing thrift facilities could have served all the purposes of the Municipal Bank. One was entitled to ask whether the joint stock banks and other thrift institutions had really made an effort to secure the type of depositor that the Municipal Bank had catered for.

By the establishment and continued success of the bank, they were serving a great social needed and purpose which the other institutions to which he had referred could not possibly meet. Why should the facilities they in Birmingham enjoyed be denied to other municipalities? Was it vested interest?Birmingham had clearly made it possible for any Government to extend those facilities with ample safeguards to other municipalities. He would go further and say that any Government could only resist public opinion up to a stage, and beyond that public opinion would sweep them away.

No Government could afford to continue to stand in the way of the demand of large, well-governed municipalities who were steadily insisting upon the same facilities being given to them as Birmingham enjoyed, and he was hoping, whatever might be the outcome of the enquiry which had been held in the matter, the Government would take its courage in both hands, and, despite opposition that might be forthcoming, grant to other municipalities equal, if not more extensive facilities. If this Government did not move speedily in the direction he had indicated, they would find some other Government who succeeded them might be prepared to give even wider powers to municipalities than those that would at the moment satisfy them.

He urged the Government not to deny those municipalities what he believed was the establishment of a medium for thrift which was going to work not only to the personal advantage of depositors, but, what was equally as important, to the advantage of the locality, and of the nation generally.

Temporary premises at 206 Rookery Road
The permanent branch following reconstruction of the same site in 1927
The official opening of the reconstructed premises on October 15th 1927
The premises are now known as Lombard House, and are occupied by a firm of Solicitors
Farcroft branch was opened to serve a residential area in the Handsworth suburb of Birmingham, 3-miles northwest of the city centre. Handsworth branch (opened 1919) and Sandwell branch (opened 1931) were located less than a mile away, on the main thoroughfare (A41) from Birmingham to West Bromwich.
The branch's location was just north of this main road, in Rookery Road. The name of the branch appears to derive from a nearby housing estate, although The Farcroft is a well-known public house near to where the branch was built.
(Right: The Farcroft, also in Rookery Road, was opened in the same year as the branch.)
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of 206 Rookery Road
1928 - J C W Brown
1929 - W K Robottom
1930 & 1931 - F H DeVille
1934 - E J Cope
1937 - W James
1958 - L A Instone
1959 to 1961 - L F Dobson
1963 to 1967 - N R Barnsley
1969 to 1970 - R C T Wozencroft
1971 - G H Pardoe
1972 to 1974 - A E Young
1974 - A Radburn
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Branch interior (1927)