73 High Street, Birmingham B14 7BH
At the Bank's commencement on September 1st 1919, Kings Heath was a part-time branch opening on Monday, Friday, and Saturday evenings
from 18:00 to 19:30. The location of the branch was a room in the Kings Heath and Moseley Institute in Institute Road, Kings Heath.
This location (in common with other branches where temporary accommodation in rooms etc was used) did not attract much interest. The
opportunity was taken, therefore, to purchase a nearby shop at 73 and 73a High Street. The cost of purchasing the freehold of these
premises was £1,775. The same opening hours were continued at this new location from Friday, June 25th 1920; the official address
being 73a High Street.
Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank stated that:
increased business immediately became noticeable, and
it was decided to structurally alter the premises. Owing to the Rent Restrictions Acts and the requirements of the town-planning scheme,
it was impossible, however, to carry out a complete reconstruction, but the partially altered premises were finished and opened on
April 24th 1922, by Councillor Appleby.
Speaking on that occasion Councillor Appleby said he hoped the residents of Kings Heath would
appreciate the improvement which had been effected, and that they would justify the faith the committee placed in them by using the
Bank. He pointed out that if only wage-earners would realise the enormous advantage of using the Bank, and pay cash for what they
wanted, the system of credit trading would not flourish as it did.
The architect for the reconstruction was Gerald McMichael,
and the work was carried out by Baker & Sons at a cost of £847. Kings Heath then became a daily branch with standard opening hours,
and slightly amended its address to 73 High Street. A further paragraph in Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank stated
the development of the branch has now made it necessary to provide adequate accommodation, and as further alterations would not
be likely to give the required space, the committee have decided to build a new Bank on the land at the rear, which will have a frontage
to the prescribed building line.
These reconstructed premises were given the branch's second formal opening on June 2nd 1928,
on this occasion by the Lord Mayor (Alderman A H James, CBE, JP). The branch's address remained unchanged at 73 High Street.The architect
for this second reconstruction was the City Surveyor, and the work was carried out by George Mobbs at a cost of £3,790.
The branch premises after the alterations at 73 High Street of 1922
Councillor Parnell handing the branch key to Councillor Appleby (the Bank's Chairman) at the official opening of the branch
on April 24th 1922 -
The key being handed over is a large ceremonial key that also
functioned as a memento of the occasion. A contemporary newspaper article commented:
Keys and Locks
Mr C T Appleby, Chairman of the
Management Committee of the Municipal Bank, was presented by his colleagues with a key on Monday when he opened the new branch at
King's Heath. Unfortunately, the key was many sizes too large for the lock; perhaps that was intentional. At any rate, Mr Appleby
will never be able to open the door of the King's Heath branch bank with the key he was given. When the door was touched by Mr Appleby
it responded magically, and the public entered the building to make their deposits. The secret was that the door was not locked, and
when Mr Appleby desired to enter he could only do so after a clerk inside the building had released the catch of the lock.
The interior of the branch in 1922
below right: the Lord Mayor speaking at the official opening of Kings Heath on June 2nd 1928, following the second reconstruction.
left: the Lord Mayor performs the opening ceremony. The lettering used for the Bank's name is much clearer than that used on
the first building, and the 'Key' logo is now displayed at first floor level. The small feature above the entrance door is still visible
in the 2011 photograph, below
The interior of the branch after the second reconstruction
The interior after alterations were made near the customer entrance. The notices pinned to the cashier's desks advertise the
book recently published by the Bank's General Manager (Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank) - there are several copies on display
at each desk
Kings Heath High Street - illustrated in old postcards supplied by Andy Bishop, Chairman of the Kings Heath Local History Society.
In the first, dated about 1907, 73 High Street is located just beyond the gas lamp, and is the first building jutting out towards
the road. At this date, the property was occupied by Walter Cowen, a Sanitary Engineer/Plumber. The Bank occupied the premises (right)
from June 25th 1920.
The second photograph appears to have been taken shortly after the 1928 enlargement of the branch,
and was originally captioned The Parade & Kingsway. Kings Heath branch is in the background, just beyond the Kingsway Cinema.
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1920 - £8,591
1921 - £17,450
1926 - £198,144
1946 - £1,646,185
1947 - £1,720,333
Open Accounts at March 31st:
1920 - 370
1921 - 672
1927 - 6,630
1947 - 11,978 (Savings: 11,824; Mortgage: 154)
Following the opening of a railway station in 1840, rural Kings Heath gradually saw the construction of some very large houses for
wealthy Birmingham businessmen. Housing also grew along the Alcester Road from Birmingham, and a busy shopping street was established
in what was to become Kings Heath High Street. Sixty years later, mixed types of housing developments had spread through Kings Heath
as far as Alcester Lanes End, where the Bank was to open Brandwood branch in 1933. Kings Heath became part of Birmingham in 1911,
and a number of housing estates were promoted as part of the South Birmingham Town Planning Scheme of 1925. By the 1950s, the urbanisation
of Kings Heath was complete, with the High Street becoming the commercial centre of an important suburb of Birmingham. It was in the
High Street that the Bank was to establish its second permanent branch.
= location of permanent branch at 73 High Street.
1919 - J E Chapman
1922 - E H Viney
1926 - A T Guest
1927 & 1928 - A M Hodgkins
1929 - G A Harling
1930 & 1931
- F FitzPatrick
1934 - R H Earp
1958 to 1966 - L A Wright
1967 to 1969 - B R Endall
1970 & 1971 - G Hidson
1972 - H Calver
- G H Pardoe
The Kingsway Cinema is now closed, and the branch premises are occupied by a taxi firm and an electrical goods shop
Average Weekly Transactions:
1920 - 57
1927 - 763
Annual Transactions - Year Ended March 31st:
= location of temporary branch
The narrow branch premises at 73a High Street in 1920