116 Villa Road, Birmingham B19 1NN
J P Hilton's book Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank records the beginning of Lozells branch as follows:
In the lock-up shop, No
270 Lozells Road, the business of this branch was commenced on the 1st September, 1919. The shop had in turn been a second-hand depot,
a railway ticket office, and a restaurant, to mention only three types. When first investigated we found volumes of the Birmingham
Corporation blue book, which prompted the suggestion that they had been deposited by some disgusted ratepayer! For several years these
premises served for the Bank, although the accommodation resulted in the depositors, at certain times, being uncomfortably pressed
into the restrictive space. It was impossible to consider the premises from the point of view of a permanent Bank, because they could
not be suitably enlarged. The committee, therefore, purchased the furniture shop and premises situated at No 116 Villa Road, which
The freehold property at 116 Villa Road was purchased in 1924 for £2,250, and the reconstructed premises
(the Bank's fifteenth permanent branch) were formally opened by the Lord Mayor (Alderman Percival Bower) on March 7th 1925, who described
the building as:
another landmark in the development of the Bank, and one more addition to the assets of the city. He had always held
the view that one of the ways in which they could secure stability in this country was by developing a condition of things under which
every man could become the owner-occupier of his house. He believed men and women became better citizens for that reason. The reconstruction
of the premises were completed by R Fenwick Limited, under the supervision of the City Surveyor, for the sum of £2,599.
date of transferring the business of Lozells branch to a permanent office, there were 6,249 open accounts with balances amounting
to £254,890 (an increase during the year of £40,439). The number of annual transactions was 35,672.
right: Temporary premises at Villa Cross - the corner of Lozells Road (No. 270) and Barker Street. This unit housed the branch
from September 1st 1919 to March 6th 1925
To provide larger accommodation, the shop unit at 116 Villa Road was acquired ....
.... and reconstructed as shown in this 1925 photograph
The Lord Mayor (Percival Bower) performed the official opening of the permanent branch on March 7th 1925. He is flanked by the Bank's
Chairman (left - Councillor Appleby) and the Bank's General Manager (J P Hilton)
Interior of Lozells branch in 1925
Later alterations of the branch included lengthening and straightening the counter
(By 2009, the premises had been demolished, and the site occupied by a terrace of modern housing)
The district of Lozells is located 1½-miles north of Birmingham's centre, and by the end of the 19th-century was completely urbanised
with housing that had spread northwards from the city centre towards Aston and Handsworth. Densely populated, the district contained
a mixture of good quality houses and some back-to-back courts. Villa Road and Lozells Road passed through the district connecting
Handsworth, to the west, with Aston to the east. The commercial centre of Lozells developed where this road had junctions
with Hamstead Road, Hunters Road, Heathfield Road, and Barker Street. It was in this location that the Bank chose to establish a branch.
Two early 20th-Century views of the Lozells area.
Left: Villa Road near the junction with Barker Street. The Bank established a temporary
office at the corner of Barker Street (see below).
Right: Villa Road from the opposite direction. The Villa Cross Hotel can be seen
in the distance, near the junction of Barker Street. The
branch was eventually located in the premises immediately to the right of the gas lamp on the right-hand side of the road.
1919 - A J Smith
1922 - W I Wynn
1926 - F Fitzpatrick
1928 - L E Smallwood
1929 - J C W Brown
1930 & 1931 - W K Robottom
- E R Jennings
1937 - H E Martin
1958 to 1961 - P J Condon
1963 - R T Piper
1965 to 1971 - S C Wilson
1972 - J Pardoe
1973 - J Ward
1974 - A E Young
1979 - T J Lafford
= location of permanent branch at 116 Villa Road
= location of temporary branch at 270 Lozells Road
Premises and branch staff in 1979
John Lafford (Manager)