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NE 
 NEWTOWN ROW
35
56th
77 Newtown Row, Birmingham B6 4HG
021-359 1677
NR
1939
 
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On February 8th 1930, Newtown Row branch was opened as a part-time Evening Branch. Opening hours were from 18:00 to 20:00 on Mondays and Saturdays, and the address was 77 Newtown Row. The branch was opened, together with Wheeler Street, as replacements for the temporary Summer Lane branch. The business of Summer Lane (closed February 10th 1930) was transferred to Newtown Row. From July 31st 1931, the Saturday evening opening was switched to Fridays.
 
The 1938 Annual Report states that steps are being taken to erect a new daily bank in Newtown Row, which will take the place of the existing evening branch, and it is hoped to have the new premises ready for use in the autumn. The Annual Report lists the branch's address as 53 Newtown Row - this appears to have been a temporary location whilst the shop being used as a branch at 77 Newtown Row was demolished to enable a new building to be erected. The Bank accepted a tender from Messrs T Elvins & Sons in the sum of 3,270 to erect a branch with flat - the work to be carried out within a period of 5 months. The architect's plans for the branch resulted in a plot of about 88 square yards becoming spare land - this was retained for possible future development of the adjoining property.
The new premises at 77 Newtown Row were formally opened on January 13th  1939, by the Lord Mayor (Alderman J Crump) 'supported by Members of the City Council and others'. The branch now adopted normal daily opening hours.  A report in the following day's Birmingham Gazette stated:
In the Newtown-row district of Birmingham women - many wearing shawls - and a few men welcomed the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Alderman and Mrs J Crump) in their midst yesterday.
The Lord Mayor paid the visit to what he described as "one of the poorest quarters of the city" to open a new branch of the Municipal Bank.
He emphasised the wisdom of saving to guard against "a rainy day," and probably astonished many by revealing that while the bank had been operating on two evenings a week in one of the shops demolished to make way for the new bank, it had attracted no fewer that 2,390 depositors who had 37,868 standing to their credit.
"That," he commented, "is a colossal sum to have been saved in what is looked upon as one of the poorer districts of the city."
With the additional facilities now provided for savings, the branch, he thought, should go ahead.
(The Lord Mayor was presented with a silver inkstand as a memento of the occasion.)
 
The branch's progress was the subject of a report by the General Manager in July 1945:
This branch was opened as an Evening Branch in 1939, superseding Summer Lane Evening Branch which was opened in 1924. From January 1939 until August 1940 daily openings were provided, but owing to staffing difficulties openings were reduced to half-week [*] and the branch run in conjunction with another branch until April 1942. From April 1942 to March 1943 daily openings were again provided, but once more, to meet staffing difficulties, we had to revert to half-week openings and run the branch in conjunction with Brookvale, which arrangement continues. The following figures show the position year by year:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In response to notices such as that on the left, a crowd assembles at the branch's opening ceremony:
January 13th 1939
below:
Branch interior in 1939
 Year Ended
March 31st
Balances
 
Open
Accounts 
Transactions 
 1926
 5,308
616 
5,761 
 1927
 10,664
 988
 9,492
 1928
 17,362
1,378
 12,436
 1929
 23,299
 1,674
 13,566
 1930
 22,874
 2,041
 15,660
 1931
 25,204
 2,122
 13,622
 1932
 26,082
 2,192
 11,036
 1933
 27,484
 2,260
 11,011
 1934
 29,081
 2,324
 11,101
 1935
 33,059
 2,378
 11,262
 1936
 35,061
 2,379
 11,395
 1937
 34,659
 2,434
 10,460
 1938
 36,178
 2,429
 9,960
 1939
 41,317
 2,601
 9,495
 1940
 45,972
 2,582
 16,153
 1941
 56,643
 2,593
 12,407
 1942
 71,691
 2,692
 13,727
 1943
 92,852
 3,018
 20,346
 1944
 111,292
 3,079
 14,482
 1945
 128,689
 3,123
 13,647
A branch which has taken 20 years to build up a depositorship of 3,123 accounts cannot be regarded as satisfactory, and the question arises as to whether it should be merged with others. Wheeler Street is only mile away, and Aston and Aston Cross branches are only mile away. The district has for years been a declining residential area and I am informed by the City Surveyor that the whole area between Newtown Row, Aston Road, Aston Road North, Phillips Street and Bagot Street is scheduled for factory purposes and over a period of years all the houses in such area will be eliminated. The area covered by Newtown Hill, Lower Loveday Street, Constitution Hill, Great Hampton Street, Hockley Hill, Hunters Road, Nursery Road, Wheeler Street, Lozells Road and High Street will be dealt with as a re-development scheme under the Housing Acts, but there will be a reduction in population owing to reduction in building density - approximately one third. This development affects Wheeler Street branch more than Newtown Row, and will bring Wheeler Street branch down below its present level, which can only be balanced by taking over some of Newtown Row depositors. As things are at present it may be 5 years before effect can be given to these development schemes, but the schemes have been approved and will be carried out.
 
[* In August 1940, due to wartime staff shortages, the branch's opening hours were reduced to 10:00 to 15:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays only. See Combination of Branches.]
right:
The newly constructed premises in 1939
 
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Managers:
1934 - D W Woodcock
1958 & 1959 - C J Valeur
1960 - A W Hopkins
1963 - E M Shaw
1965 - A J Smith
1966 to 1967 - T P Cox
1969 - H J Clemmow
1970 & 1971 - D M Bickley
Just north of Birmingham's city centre, two main roads (Summer Lane and Newtown Row) commence their parallel courses northwards towards Aston. In this once densely populated area, the Bank made a number of attempts to establish a branch - firstly in Summer Lane in 1924, and then in Wheeler Street and Newtown Row. Premises were found in Newtown Row, at its junction with Manchester Street.
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch at corner of Newton Row and Manchester Street
No action appears to have been taken subsequent to the General Manager's report of July 1945, perhaps because balances had grown in 1946 and 1947 to 136,795 and 147,715 respectively. However, in 1947, Open Accounts only numbered 3,118 (Savings: 3,115; Mortgage: 3) and Transactions 13,867.
 
In the early 1960s, the branch was used to train cashiers on Thursdays and Fridays..
Prior to the opening ceremony at the branch, a tea was attended by distinguished guests, including the Lord Mayor (Alderman James Crump) who later opened the branch.
The ceremony at the branch included a speech on the doorstep by the Bank's Chairman (Harrison Barrow) and by Councillor Milne inside the branch.
below:
after listening to the speeches, business commences
below: Unett Street, Newtown
(Image courtesy of Alton Douglas:
'Memories of Birmingham'
published by Brewin Books)
= location of Summer Lane branch (Wheeler Street branch was further north)
The branch was closed in 1971, and the business transferred to Aston Newtown branch.
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