Branch Index
131 Lea Village, Birmingham B33 9SH
021-783 2843
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The Bank's 1939 Annual Report stated that: A site has been secured in the Kitts Green area, and in the very near future banking arrangements will be provided for this district. Kitts Green branch was opened in temporary wooden premises (see Image 009) at 131 Lea Village on April 1st 1940. Daily opening was provided until September, when the opening days were reduced to three: Mondays to Wednesdays (10:00 to 15:00).  It was not until September 1944 that a telephone was installed (STE 2843). The temporary wooden building utilised just a part of the Bank's land, and the following report (dated October 21st 1940) by the Bank's Finance and General Purposes Committee shows that good use was made of the remaining part of the land during the War:
Permission has been given to the City Surveyor to erect a public shelter for 100 people on part of the land belonging to the Bank. No rental will be charged, but the ground will be reinstated when the shelter is no longer required. The remainder of the land is being let to Mr V O Chester for cultivation as an allotment at a rental of 10/- per annum.
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 progress of the branch was the subject of a report by the General Manager in July 1945:
This branch was opened in April 1940 with daily facilities, and continued as such until September 1940. During this period transactions averaged 399 per month, of which 344 were purely Bank transactions.
To overcome staffing difficulties, openings were reduced to half-week, and the branch was run in conjunction with other branches until 25th March 1942. During this period transactions averaged 607 per month, of which 423 were purely Bank transactions.
From March 1942 to March 1943 daily openings were provided, and during this period transactions rose to an average of 1,070 per month, 783 being purely Bank transactions.
Once again we experienced difficulties in staffing, and reverted to running the branch with Heybarnes, which arrangement continues. During this period transactions have dropped to an average of 891 per month, 669 being purely Bank transactions.
Yearly progress of the branch has been:
Two views of Kitts Green branch in 1965
See Image 112    re Kitts Green branch in 1967
The Bank's Chairman (Councillor Mrs E L Hobson) speaking at the branch's opening ceremony on July 23rd 1965. On her right is Sir Joseph Balmer;
the Bank's General Manager (Stanley Guy) is on the extreme right
Sir Joseph Balmer presents a bouquet to Mrs Hobson, with Stanley Guy looking on. Above Mr Guy's head is the light unit that illuminated the strongroom door overnight. Behind Sir Joseph Balmer is a bound ledger of customers' accounts.
This photograph shows the Commemoration Tablet unveiled
by Sir Joseph Balmer
Branch interior in 1965
Year Ended
March 31st
The branch has not had a fair chance to develop in comparison with other branches, and I consider a case exists for daily openings. There is a large residential population sufficient to justify daily openings. Our land is sufficient to provide a bank and a shop, with two flats, similar to Brookvale, and I think we should now proceed to make such provision. The architect Mr Surman is of the opinion that favourable consideration would be given by the consenting authority, if dwelling accommodation is included in our proposals, and he has been asked to prepare and submit plans.
I recommend daily openings being provided.
Permission to construct a permanent building was not forthcoming - however, daily opening recommenced from January 1st 1946. By March 31st that year, the branch's deposit balances had grown to 90,192. The branch's statistics for the following year were:
As the estates developed, the business of the branch grew, and the basic wooden hut was replaced by larger, but still temporary premises, in the 1950s.
By 1964, extra accommodation was urgently required and permanent premises were opened on the same site by Alderman Sir Joseph Balmer, JP, on July 23rd 1965. The Annual Report stated that the new building provided greatly improved conditions for both depositors and staff.
Year Ended
March 31st
Birmingham's last major enlargement, in 1931, brought a large area of land to the city's eastern boundary. The Kitts Green and Lea Hall Council Estates, 5 miles from the city centre were built on this land from the 1930s. Other estates built nearby included Shard End (to the north), Tile Cross (to the east), and Garrets Green (to the south). The Kitts Green and Lea Hall estates were split by the railway line from Birmingham to Coventry and London, but were linked by the Meadway dual carriageway. The area included some industrial development amongst the 3,500 houses built by the City Council, including Birmingham's 50,000th.
The Bank was originally allocated a site on the Meadway, at its junction with Lea Hall Road. However, the Public Works Department subsequently decided that this site was required for other purposes and offered the Bank an equivalent piece of land at the junction of Kitts Green Road and Lea Village. The General Manager visited the district and noted that shopping facilities already existed at the new site, that further development was anticipated, and that the replacement site would be more suitable for the Bank's requirements. At a Committee meeting on December 19th 1938, it was agreed that the Bank would accept the alternative site in substitution for the one previously allocated. The Ministry of Health District Valuer fixed the price of the approximately 1,010-square-yards at 21/- per square yard. The Bank purchased the land, at the centre of the Kitts Green and Lea Hall Estates, in 1939 at a cost of 1,060.
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch at 131 Lea Village.
1958 & 1959 - F C Batstone
1960 to 1963 - J L Gregg
1965 - J E Ager
1966 & 1967 - N C Goddard
1969 to 1972 - P H Baulcombe
In 1947, the Bank agreed to a plan submitted by the City's Public Works Department that a site be reserved on the nearby Garretts Green Estate for the purpose of establishing a branch. This was a standard procedure whereby a site was allocated to the Bank on the development of a new council housing estate. No branch was ever opened; instead the estate was served by Kitts Green, Wells Green, and Yardley branches.
Sir Joseph Balmer speaks before declaring the new premises open
Sir Joseph Balmer speaks before declaring the new premises open