65 High Street, Halesowen, West Midlands, B63 3BQ
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 architect for
the new building (Mr Bewlay) was a partner in 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
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
the building now houses a Betting Shop,
but retains the original doorway and the roof ornamentation
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
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
= location of branch in Halesowen town centre
1946 - W Brown
1958 - A H F Giddings
1959 to 1969 - D Crowley
1970 - W Porritt
1971 to 1974 - N A Monk