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21 Birmingham Street, Oldbury, Warley, West Midlands B69 4DT
021-552 1011
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The town of Oldbury is located about five miles to the west of Birmingham city centre; the milestone (right) is located near the junction of Birmingham Street and Church Square. The rapid growth of Oldbury during the Industrial Revolution resulted in it being given the status of an Urban District Council in 1894, followed by the granting of borough status in 1935. Oldbury joined with the nearby towns of Smethwick and Rowley Regis in 1966 to form the County Borough of Warley. In 1974, the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell was created when Warley merged with West Bromwich County Borough.
Oldbury was the first BMB branch to be established outside Birmingham's boundaries, under the provisions of Sections 56 and 57 of the Birmingham Corporation (General Powers) Act, 1929. Negotiations were conducted between the Bank and Councillor Wallace (Chairman of the Finance Committee) and Mr A Culwick (Clerk) of Oldbury UDC to enable the branch to be established in premises situated in a commanding position at the corner of Birmingham Street and Church Square.
The premises were previously occupied by HM Office of Works as a Labour Exchange; they were purchased and refurbished for joint use by the Bank and the District Council. A suite of six offices above the branch was occupied by the Oldbury Education Department, with its own separate entrance in Birmingham Street. To the rear of the premises, fronting to Church Square, a block of offices was also erected.
below (April 30th 1932):
The Chairman of Oldbury Urban District Council (Councillor H Edwards) performs
the opening ceremony for the new branch in the presence of a large crowd
Depositors crowd into the branch on its first day of opening
Interior of the branch in 1932
the premises are now occupied by Lloyds TSB. The original doorway has been retained, and the modern door appears to have had the original door's boss incorporated into it
The branch's banking hall, measuring 50 feet long by 28 feet wide, was larger than that provided in many previously built branches. Building work was carried out by Messrs A J Teall & Son Ltd (of Birmingham) under the direction of Mr H Stewart Evans of Colmore Row, Birmingham. The sub-contractors included: Messrs Ellis of Leicester (artificial stone); Jaconellos of Birmingham (tiled terrazzo flooring); Hewitsons of Hull (oak wood-block flooring); Birmingham Gas Department in conjunction with Oldbury Gas Department (gas-fired hot-water heating system); and Richard Hunt of Great Brook Street, Birmingham (Honduras mahogany fittings).
Oldbury branch was formally opened on April 30th 1932, by the Chairman of the Oldbury Urban District Council (Councillor H Edwards, JP). The Lord Mayor of Birmingham (Alderman J B Burman, JP) presided at the opening ceremony, which was preceded by tea being taken in Oldbury Town Hall (see Image 083). Speaking at the Town Hall, Councillor Edwards said that when he was asked what good the Municipal Bank would be to Oldbury, his reply was: "It has done Birmingham people good, and what is good for Birmingham is good for Oldbury." He addded, that they had received a guarantee that Oldbury people would be dealt with on the same terms as Birmingham people. Having referred to the extent to which the House Purchase Department of the Bank had been utilised, Councillor Edwards said a portion of the money deposited in the branch at Oldbury would be used for agreed local purposes. The Bank's Chairman (Councillor R R Gelling) presented Councillor Edwards with a silver inkstand as a memento of the occasion.
An extension was made to the rear of the property, as detailed in these two reports made by the General Manager to the Bank Committee:
January 16th 1943:
The Oldbury Education Department have asked for additional accommodation to be provided for their purpose at the rear of the Bank premises. Plans of two proposals were submitted and discussed on the site by the Chairman and myself with the Education Officer and Surveyor, for the Oldbury Council. One scheme provided for using a part of the Banking office, but this was not acceptable. The Chairman made alterations in the plan for an extension at the rear, which have been considered by the Oldbury officers. A fresh plan is now submitted incorporating the suggestions of the Chairman. Oldbury are prepared to go ahead with the scheme, and suggest that the work be done by the Surveyor's Department. The estimated cost is 270, and if the Bank Committee consent to the extension, the cost would have to be defrayed by the Bank and recovered by way of increased rental.
The Oldbury Council pay a rental of 137. 10. 0d per annum for the premises they occupy.
April 16th 1943:
The Oldbury Council have agreed to the rental of the premises being increased by 10% of the cost of the extension and alterations to the premises. The work will be carried out by a contractor to the directions of the Oldbury Borough Surveyor, who will himself supervise the work involved. The Town Clerk of Oldbury is preparing an Agreement covering the position and will forward same to the Town Clerk of Birmingham in due course.
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 distinguished guests assemble prior to the opening ceremony
1932 - J Baker
1934 - A N Ling
1937 - C Danks
1958 to 1961 - F W Hearne
1963 to 1969 - G A Ridley
1970 & 1971 - D Crowley
1972 to 1974 - R C T Wozencroft
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch at 21 Birmingham Street
Two views of the reconstructed premises: April 1932