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 HALESOWEN
18
59th
SE
65 High Street, Halesowen, West Midlands, B63 3BQ
021-550 1516
HN
1940
 
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The Bank's depositors were advised of the situation in the 1939 Annual Report which stated that the policy of opening branches in areas adjacent to the City of Birmingham was being continued, and that arrangements had been made with the Local Authority in Halesowen to open a branch.
 
An architect, Mr Bewlay, was directed to prepare a scheme for the erection of a suitable one-storey branch, after demolition of the existing buildings, which were considered to be too worn out to be adapted by reconstruction. The architect estimated that the cost of the work to be 2,500. Mr Bewlay was satisfied that, despite the War, builders could be found to carry through the work; it was also his view that any extra cost for labour and materials over pre-war figures would be less at the current time than would be the case if the erection was deferred until the end of the War.
 
On January 15th 1940, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee reported to the Bank Committee:
It is understood that the Worcestershire County Council desire to purchase the back land of the property acquired at Halesowen at the price of 1 per square yard, on the understanding that the completion should not take place until the land is required for road widening purposes. The General Manager has been instructed to intimate that the Bank would be prepared to enter into a contract for the transfer of the land at the price in question on the undertaking that completion of purchase takes place within a period of five years.
 
The new building was erected by Messrs Dare & Son, and was formally opened on December 17th 1940 by Halesowen's Mayor (Councillor W Hodgetts) as a full-time, daily branch. Following the official opening, a luncheon was given at Halesowen's Council House. The Bank's Chairman (Alderman O Morland) presented to the Mayor of Halesowen a siver salver to commemorate the occasion. Tributes were paid to Neville Chamberlain, who had died the previous month. The proceedings were reported in the local newspaper, The County Express.
 
During part of the Second World War, the branch was one of twenty-two offices that were opened on a restricted basis due to a shortage of staff. Details at Combination of Branches
 
The architects for the new building were Messrs Peacock and Bewlay, Chartered Architects of 83 Colmore Row, Birmingham. The address listed in the Annual Report was 20 High Street, Halesowen. The building's address was amended to 65 High Street in 1967.
right:
The newly constructed premises in 1940.
Presumably due to the lack of materials during the Second World War, the Bank's name has not been added to the premises

December 17th 1940: the distinguished guests gather for the branch opening ceremony, including (below) Birmingham's Lord Mayor (Alderman Wifrid Martineau - holding a top hat) and Halesowen's Mayor (Councillor Walter Hodgetts).

Branch interior (1940) where the Tablet
commemorating the official opening is located
2008:
the building now houses a Betting Shop,
but retains the original doorway and the roof ornamentation
below:
Halesowen's Mayor performs the branch opening; and Councillor Mrs E M Harrison presents a cheque on behalf of Alderman J B Downing, OBE, in order to open the branch's  first account. Mrs Harrison was the daughter of Alderman Downing, the Charter Mayor of Halesowen. Mr Downing was unable to attend the opening ceremony due to illness - but he was visited at his home by Birmingham's Lord Mayor - see Image 81
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1946 - 406,036
1947 - 487,454
 
Number of Open Accounts at March 31st:
1947 - 1,980 (Savings: 1,979; Mortgage: 1)
 
Annual Transactions - Year Ended March 31st 1947: 6,817
 
Home
 
Halesowen is located about six miles to the southwest of Birmingham, and is now largely an urban residential area for commuters to Birmingham and the Black Country. Originally on the Birmingham to Kidderminster route, the town now has a bypass that forms its boundary to green belt land and the Clent Hills. There are Victorian and Edwardian terrace houses, but the majority of residents occupy private houses built in the thirty years after the end of the Second World War. Traditionally part of Worcestershire, Halesowen is now part of Dudley Metropolitan Borough in the West Midlands Metropolitan County. When the Bank was negotiating with the Local Authority to open a branch in the town, Halesowen was a Municipal Borough.
 
Extensive enquiries were made by the Bank in the late 1930s with a view to securing suitable accommodation for a branch in Halesowen. The initial focus was for a site in the Church Street/High Street area, and at a Bank Committee meeting on June 19th 1939, it was agreed that property at 20 High Street be purchased for 1,075. The site extended to 660 square yards, but it was noted that some land at the rear was required by Worcestershire County Council for road widening purposes.
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch in Halesowen town centre 
Managers:
1946 - W Brown
1958 - A H F Giddings
1959 to 1969 - D Crowley
1970 - W Porritt
1971 to 1972 - N A Monk
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