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161 Sherlock Street, Birmingham 5
Although premises for the branch were purchased (from the Gooch Estate for 800)  in 1927, demolition of the existing property and erection of a purpose built branch, was not commenced until 1928, and the office was not formally opened (at 161 Sherlock Street) until January 12th 1929, by the Lord Mayor (Alderman W Byng Kenrick). Contractors wishing to tender for the work of demolition and subsequent erection of the new premises were able to inspect plans and specifications at the office of the City Engineer and Surveyor (W H Humphries, M.Inst.C.E); the City Architect supervising the project. The acquisition of the site and construction of the branch did not go smoothly - the negotiations with the Gooch Estate were protracted; and the building's design had to incorporate a one-storey 'temporary' front section to allow for possible future road widening. The construction of the branch was carried out by Francis H Smith at a cost of 3,850.
During the Second World War, a number of the Bank's properties suffered bomb damage. Sherlock Street branch seems to have narrowly avoided this fate - the following report of the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee to the Bank Committee, dated February 16th 1948, refers to damage incurred by the properties on each side of the branch:
In April 1947, a report was submitted to the Committee that, during a gale on Sunday evening, the 16th March 1947, the gable end which remained of the adjoining demolished property No 163 Sherlock Street, was blown on to the flat roof over the Sherlock Street branch, carrying with it the Bank's own parapet. In its fall, it broke through and completely destroyed one of the lantern lights (6' x 8') on the flat roof, together with the laylight below, causing also considerable damage to the plaster ceiling and to 12' of counter and certain counter fittings.
Mr Surman negotiated with the War Damage Commission, who, agreed to pay the cost incurred in making good and rendering waterproof the surface of the wall of the Bank premises exposed by the collapse of the wall above referred to. They did not, however, consider the other repairs to be consequential War Damage.
Certain external repairs were executed as soon as possible to render the premises waterproof.
The claim to be submitted by Mr Surman to the War Damage Commission will be approximately as follows:

External works executed

155 - 8 - 4

Internal works not yet executed (side passage)

  31- 16 -2


187 - 4 - 6

The Town Clerk reported to the Committee in October last that, in his opinion, the Gooch Estate, to whom the adjoining site in question belongs, must be held responsible for the repair of the damage, other than that to be met by the War Damage Commission.
The cost of these repairs, subject to variation in current prices, is approximately as follows:

External works executed

177 - 14 - 1

Internal works not yet executed

 177  -  3 - 8


354 - 17 - 9

The Bank Committee, at their meeting on October 20th, instructed the Town Clerk to take all requisite steps to enforce the claims of the Bank.
The Town Clerk is of the opinion that proceeding with the internal work would not prejudice any claim against the Gooch Estate. In view of the present unsatisfactory condition of the banking hall, the architect has been instructed to have the outstanding internal work executed and to notify the Gooch Estate accordingly.
The Committee will remember that a report was submitted at their meeting on the 1st December, that No 159, Sherlock Street, the property on the other side of the branch, is to be demolished under a contract led by the Public Works Department, and the War Damage Commission have agreed to meet the cost of making good any part of the Bank premises affected or disturbed during the demolition.
Mr Surman, who is watching the Bank's interest, informed the General Manager on the 19th January, that the contractors had already begun the demolition and that he would advise him of further development as necessary.
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.
After surviving the War, the branch became a victim of the clearance of slum housing in the 1950s, and the consequent reduction of the area's residential population. These factors resulted in the closure of the branch on May 31st 1960. All remaining open accounts were transferred to Horse Fair branch.
below: Two views of the new premises in January 1929
below (January 12th 1929):
The Lord Mayor performs the branch's official opening ceremony. On his right are the Bank's General Manager (with newspaper) and Alderman H Simpson, a member of the Bank's Committee. Following the ceremony, customers enter the branch, marshalled
 by six police officers
Branch interior in 1929
A circular from Head Office, dated March 11th 1960, informs branches of the decision to close Sherlock Street, and instructs how passbooks and deposits for the branch should be dealt with.
A rubber stamp was provided for Horse Fair branch to mark ledgers and passbooks accordingly
1929 to 1931 - H E Martin
1934 - G H Humphries
1958 to 1960 - E B Spencer
The Bank purchased premises in both Sherlock Street and nearby Bristol Street (for Horse Fair branch) in 1927. Located just south of the city centre, these two streets run as almost parallel links from the city's central area to two of Birmingham's major arterial roads: Pershore Road (A441) and Bristol Road (A38). This was a densely populated area, and examples of the area's back-to-back houses survive nearby, courtesy of the National Trust.
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of Sherlock Street branch
= location of Horse Fair branch
The above interior photograph is taken from near the customers'  entrance to the branch. Natural light is provided by skylights in the single-storey front section of the building. The City Surveyor suggested the branch be designed with a single-storey, 30-foot depth that could be removed if the area was required for road widening.
The wall behind the counter features the Commemoration Tablet that records the official opening of the branch, and a poster encourages depositors to purchase their house through the Bank.
Advertisements attached to the cashiers'  desks promote Home Safes, and (in the foreground) copies of J P Hilton's book (Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank) are displayed.
The property next to the branch is owned by a Miss Doody who made a number of unsubstantiated claims for losses incurred to her business during the construction work (see Premises: December 17th 1928).