The first record of the Bank contemplating the establishment of a branch in Blackheath was in a report of the Bank's Finance and General
Purposes Sub-Committee dated December 18th 1939 that stated that the General Manager had been authorised to approach the Rowley Regis
Urban District Council with the object of obtaining permission for the establishment of a branch in the area. That initiative probably
failed due to the intervention of the Second World War.
On January 13th 1944, the Bank's Chairman reported that This District
is one in which a branch may be established, with the consent of the Local Authority. Recently, Mr G T Dudley of 42, Park Avenue,
Bell End, Rowley Regis, asked if he could become a depositor in the Bank and I took advantage of the opportunity to ask whether a
branch in Rowley Regis would be appreciated by residents in the Borough. In his opinion residents would support a branch, and he thinks
Blackheath Ward a likely area. As the matter would be of general interest, he suggests a discussion with the Mayor (Councillor E L
Fletcher, JP). The views of the Committee are desired on this matter.
The General Manager reported in July 1945 as follows:
Town Clerk of Halesowen has notified me of his Council's agreement to a branch bank being established in the part of Blackheath which
comes within the boundary of the Borough, on the same conditions as apply to the branch already established in Halesowen itself.
visits to the district have been paid by Mr Clamp with a view to finding suitable sites or buildings, and the present Mayor of Halesowen
has been helpful in discussing the matter with me, and visiting the district with me. We came to the conclusion that the premises
at the corner of Long Lane and Park Street occupied by Mr Frank Sturman, Corn Merchant, would be most suitable, and he promised to
give the matter favourable consideration as he was contemplating giving up business. There were other premises in the vicinity, but
none so favourable as the premises occupied by Mr Sturman.
Unfortunately, Mr Sturman passed away in October, and there has been delay
in getting in touch with his relatives. The matter was left in the hands of his brother, Mr Fred Sturman, who could not make up his
mind for some time whether to continue the business, or dispose of the same. He has recently told our Agent (Mr Frank Wilde) and Mr
Clamp that he had received an offer for the purchase of the business, but if nothing came of the offer he would consider an offer
from the Bank.
A further development has also taken place in respect of three small shops and houses, recently put up for auction,
and purchased by a cousin of the Mayor of Halesowen, who owns adjoining property, and wished to secure certain rights-of-way to the
rear. The Mayor of Halesowen states that his cousin has no particular desire to use the property for herself, and would probably be
inclined to dispose of such portions as might be necessary for the purposes of a bank. Mr Wilde has, therefore, been asked to discuss
the matter with the Mayor of Halesowen and to present a report on the property and his valuation.
All the properties mentioned are
in the heart of the important shopping area of Blackheath. The majority of the shopping is in the Rowley Regis area and therefore
beyond the point at which we could establish a bank, but the properties to which I have drawn attention are within the area of Halesowen.
The corner premises belonging to Mr Sturman would be best for our purposes. The other properties are old and it would probably be
more economical to demolish and build new premises rather than attempt a reconstruction scheme.
A further report will be submitted
when there is something more definite to announce.
The General Manager was authorised to negotiate for suitable accommodation
at Blackheath and spoke to a Mr Pearson regarding number 5 Long Lane. However, Mr Pearson was not prepared to let part of his premises.
It was stated in May 1947 that enquiries for other suitable premises had so far been unsuccessful, but the General Manager had been
requested to continue enquiries. No records exist of the outcome of these enquiries, and it was not until the early 1970s that the
question of a branch in Blackheath came to fruition.
With the approval of the County Borough of Warley, Blackheath branch was
opened in July 1971. The location of the branch at 394 Long Lane was almost opposite the premises of Mr Sturman at the junction of
Long Lane/Park Street that were looked at in 1945.
The code allocated to Blackheath (40) had previously been used for Pheasey
Blackheath branch was closed on February 18th 1994, and business transferred to Halesowen branch.