Ansells not only permitted the hut to remain on their land for a number of years, but also did not charge
the Bank any rent. Business commenced in these temporary premises on September 2nd 1919
, with openings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and
Saturdays. These alternate days were worked in conjunction with Duddeston
branch's Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
located in a small hut, the branch became very popular and Mondays were added to the opening hours from April 12th 1920, to become:
and Tuesdays - 10:00 to 14:30
Thursdays and Saturdays - 10:00 to 13:00
Monday and Saturday Evenings - 17:30 to 19:30
commenced on Monday, November 1st 1920, for both Saltley and Duddeston.
The close proximity of the Bank's hut to another wooden building
that belonged to the Young Women's Christian Association, created some confusion - such as the time a young lady walked up to the
Bank counter and requested a bath! In addition to causing confusion to the public, using a hut as a branch created a number of problems
including these detailed in a report dated October 10th 1921: The arrangements for bringing cash down to a safe at Duddeston do not
give one confidence. The safe can only be kept in the inner room at Duddeston, and is in a very exposed condition. Despite the views
of the Guarantee Society, the [General] Manager is of opinion that there is less risk in leaving the cash at Saltley Branch
than there is by transferring it to Duddeston as at present. The likelihood of burglary at the Hut is less than under the present
arrangements. Water has now been connected to the Hut, and a lavatory basin installed. The difficulty of WC accommodation still remains.
The roof has been leaking, and instructions have been given for the necessary repairs.
Following this report, it was decided
that the daily system of transferring cash between Saltley and Duddeston was unreasonable and constituted a personal risk to the officers
concerned. The solution was for a large safe (described as 12 corner bent steel) to be fixed in position under the counter at
Saltley, and the existing inadequate safe returned to the makers in accordance with a contractual agreement for returns at the current
market price. At this date, the branch had been operating in the hut for some two years - apparently without water or a toilet, presumably
relying on the co-operation of neighbouring premises to provide basic facilities.
In 1923, premises at 219 and 221 Alum Rock
Road were considered as a possible site for a permanent branch but it was decided they were not in the most favourable position. Instead,
attention was turned to another property on the same road, opposite Edmund Road and nearer to the city centre. The 696-square
yard leasehold property (with 67 years to run) comprised two shops and a dwelling-house at 154 and 156 Alum Rock Road. The purchase
of these properties did not proceed smoothly as the following report of January 11th 1924 indicates:
On the 19th November by Minute
No 1575 the Bank Committee approved of the purchase of the .... premises for a sum not exceeding £2,000. At this time it was
anticipated the property might then be purchased, but suddenly the owner of No 156 declined to sell to the Corporation at all, and
transferred his instructions from one Solicitor to another.
The Chairman (Councillor Appleby) and the General Manager made every
effort to get the property placed on sale again through the offices of Mr Upton, Solicitor, into whose hands the business had been
transferred, and were at last able to come to an arrangement that the purchase price of No 156 to be £1,000. This price added to the
£1,050 already agreed upon in respect of No 154 brings the total to £2,050 or £50 more than was originally authorised. It was felt,
however, that the Bank could not risk the loss of this property, having regard to the conditions under which the Saltley Bank is conducted
and to the fact that we have no tenancy. The Chairman and the General Manager therefore undertook to purchase at the price named.
The contracts in each case have been signed, and the deposits paid in respect of No 154 by Mr Wilde who has purchased on the understanding
that he will be reimbursed. So far as No 156 is concerned, the purchase has been effected in the name of the Chairman (Councillor
Appleby) as the only possible way to get a definite contract entered into. The Committee are asked to sanction the steps taken, and
to give directions for negotiations to be commenced for the purchase of the freehold.
So far as No 154 is concerned, possession
can be obtained in six months' time, but so far as No 156 is concerned the purchase is subject to the present lease which expires
in March 1926.
In view of the difficulties of altering one shop at a time, and the extra expense involved in such alterations,
and as there would be a period of one year and nine months during which No 154 would be vacant, the General Manager recommends that
efforts be made to come to terms with the present tenant of No 156 for earlier possession to be obtained, thus enabling the structural
alterations to be made to both shops together.
In April 1924, negotiations were concluded for the surrender of the lease of 156
Alum Rock Road at a cost of £225, with the tenant to give vacant possession by July 31st. At the same time, agreement was made with
Mr F W D Pinney, acting for The Trustees of Lord Norton's Estate, to purchase the freehold of numbers 154 and 156 for the sum
of £222, plus Solicitor's and Surveyor's costs, in lieu of a ground rent of £7 8s 0d per year. Building Plans were lodged with the
City's Engineer & Surveyor on August 12th 1924. By October 1924, a contract had been placed with a Mr E M
Squire to adapt the premises to the Bank's requirements and the Bank's seventeenth permanent branch was formally opened on May
16th 1925, by the Lord Mayor (Alderman Percival Bower). The Architect for the reconstruction of the premises (which cost £1,270) was
Gerald McMichael. Further enlargement was made in 1932 when R Fenwick Limited tendered £1,540 for work designed by W Norman Twist.