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NE 
 HANDSWORTH
20
13th
SW
SE
162 Soho Road, Birmingham B21 9LN
021-554 0710
H
1924
 
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No alternative accommodation to the Council House was initially available, as J P Hilton's book Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank records:
This district proved a difficult one, so far as finding premises were concerned, and the nightly queue of depositors gave the committee anxiety. Queues on wet nights do not tend to encourage a second visit to a Bank, but even such adverse conditions have their amusing side. Going round on a tour of branch inspection one wet Saturday night, the writer found the usual crowd waiting to gain admission to this small room. Attempting to enter the building he was roughly pulled back by an irate depositor and told to take his blankety turn in the blankety queue! Recognition caused our irate friend to apologise as profusely as he had previously imprecated. Fate decreed that our friend should arrive at the part of the Bank counter where the writer was giving a helping hand. With a very determined intention to prove the sincerity of his apologies our friend announced he would double his deposit!
The vacant plot of land at the corner of Grove Lane and Soho Road, surrounded by a tall hoarding and used for no better purpose than the storage of old skips and boxes, was purchased jointly by the Bank and the Public Works and Town Planning Committee, the latter being desirous of effecting a street widening at this point. These negotiations were successfully carried through, and on that land was built the first Municipal Bank in this country. The widening of the street was carried out by the Public Works Department at the same time as the new Bank was erected.
The opening of this branch took place on the 17th May, 1924, Councillor Appleby, the chairman, performing the ceremony. He was very pleased with his position that day, and not without cause. It does not fall to many to open the first building of its kind in a country; such a distinction cannot be conferred again. Councillor Appleby predicted great developments in what he described as the service side of the Bank's activities, viz, the collection of gas, water and electricity accounts. Such facilities would, in his opinion, effect considerable economies in the administration of the city, an opinion which found sympathetic expression in the assembly.
Ex-Councillor Darlington appears to have been well-pleased at the erection and opening of the Bank, for he wrote to the Handsworth Herald a letter, from which the following is an extract:-
'When entering the Council House, Soho Road, on Saturday last, my thoughts went back to the time when its foundation stone was laid, and the fact that during the night following some person or persons from Birmingham came and annexed the gold, silver, and other coins that had been placed underneath the stone. When I thought of 1911, when some person came from Birmingham and annexed the whole foundation upon which our corporate body was to have been built; and I was sorry because "they took us in." However, we are thankful to-day that Birmingham has added to our honours, in that they have given us a building which is the first specially built Municipal Bank. It is now for Handsworth men and women to make it the most successful and prosperous of its kind.'
 
The erection of the branch did not get off to a smooth start. The Bank's Committee originally accepted a tender from a Mr W E Flavell of Waterloo Road, South Yardley to erect the branch plus dwelling accommodation for the sum of 3,650. That tender was subsequently withdrawn, and the Committee then accepted a tender from Messrs T Elvins & Sons at 3,697. In addition to being the first purpose-built branch, Handsworth became the Bank's thirteenth permanent branch
The newly built premises in 1924 - Grove Lane is on the left
below left:
Assembly at the official opening of the branch: May 17th 1924  -
see Newspaper Report of the occasion
 
below right:
The Bank's Chairman (Councillor Appleby) speaking at the opening
left:
Councillor Appleby performing the opening ceremony  on the branch doorstep - a fact recorded on a Tablet inside the branch.
Two interior views of the branch in 1924
2009:
The premises are now a branch of Lloyds TSB
Handsworth is located two miles northwest of Birmingham's centre, on the main road (A41 - Soho Road/Holyhead Road) to West Bromwich. During the 19th-century, it became a fashionable area for the wealthy citizens of Birmingham to live in rural surroundings. Middle-class housing followed, encouraged by the opening of railway stations at Perry Barr and Handsworth & Smethwick. Subsequent developments provided low-density housing in the north of the district at Handsworth Wood, and working-class housing near the Soho Road.
Handsworth amalgamated with Birmingham in 1911, and the Bank looked to the commercial area of the Soho Road to locate a branch. A room in the Council House of the pre-amalgamation Handsworth Urban District Council, on the Soho Road, provided temporary premises for a full-time daily branch from September 1st 1919.
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1921 - 70,284
1926 - 368,529
1946 - 1,989,485
1947 - 2,064,582
 
Number of Open Accounts at March 31st:
1920 - 1,509
1927 - 10,674
1947 - 14,599 (Savings: 14,505; Mortgage: 94)
 
Average Weekly Transactions:
1920 - 244
1927 - 1,211
Annual Transactions
- Year Ended March 31st 1947: 85,279
 
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Two early 20th-Century views of the Soho Road, Handsworth:

Left: the imposing tower of the Council House is on the right - the location of the temporary branch
 
Right: trams negotiating the recently widened junction of Soho Road and Grove Lane and passing the permanent branch 
Managers:
1919 - T J Ladbrooke

1926 to 1928 - T J Ladbrooke
1929 & 1930 - A N Ling
1931 - H J Sutherland
1934 - J E Chapman
1958 to 1960 - H Huggins
1961 to 1963 - F M Thompson
1965 to 1969 - T H Mallett
1970 to 1971 - R J Fryman
1972 - N Alsop
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of Handsworth branch at the corner of Soho Road and Grove Lane
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