The new office was the Bank's 38th permanent branch; it was formally opened on January 4th 1930, by the Lord Mayor (Alderman M L Lancaster).
The opening ceremony was preceded by an assembly of guests at the Wesleyan Schoolroom, where tea was served. The Chairman of the Bank
Committee (Alderman Sir Percival Bower) presided, and among those present were Lady Bower; Sir Charles and Lady Rafter; Alderman Gregory,
Alderman Simpson; Councillors C J Simmons, R R Gelling, R W Brosch, Harrison Barrow, J R Jones, A H Cooper, Tillotson, and Poole;
the City Treasurer (Mr J R Johnson); the Bank's General Manager (Mr J P Hilton); the Bank's Assistant General Manager (Mr F Ellison);
Messrs H G Wright (the Bank's Branch Controller), Waller Smith, S J Gateley, G C Hart, H C Chamberlin, and H W Alderson.
a new daily branch without first testing the district with an Evening Branch, the Committee had been influenced, said Sir Percival
Bower, by the development in housing which had taken place in that particular part of Erdington during recent years. The distance
between the new premises and the branch at Six Ways, Erdington, was not great, but from a survey of the district, it was felt that
many residents who had not enrolled themselves as depositors at the Erdington branch or elsewhere would take advantage of the Bank
if premises more conveniently situated were available. Sir Percival added that they were satisfied that further demands for banking
facilities existed in the district. In addition to the usual banking facilities, the residents would be able to pay their Corporation
accounts, such as rates, gas, water, and electricity, at the new branch.
The Lord Mayor congratulated the Chairman, Committee,
and officials of the Bank on its wonderful success. He had recently been asked by some distinguished visitors to the city, of what
branch of municipal activities he was most proud, and he had replied unhesitatingly, "The Municipal Bank." They were, of course, he
continued, proud of their great gas, electricity, and tramway undertakings; of their Art Galleries and Libraries; but the unique feature
of the Bank was that no other town had anything to compare with it. They could congratulate themselves that no fewer than 300,000
of the citizens were depositors with the Bank, and had standing to their credit nearly £11 million. He did not agree with those who
said that money would have been saved elsewhere if the Bank had not been in existence. He felt the Municipal Bank had opened a new
strata of thrift, and had rendered an extremely useful piece of public service.
The official opening ceremony was closed with
a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor and Sir Percival Bower, proposed by Councillor R R Gelling, seconded by Councillor R W Brosch,
and supported by Councillor C J Simmons, MP for Erdington.
A contemporary report in the Birmingham Evening Despatch described
some of the good-humoured banter between the Lord Mayor and the Bank's Chairman that featured in the opening ceremony:
the outset the Lord Mayor suggested that the Technical Education Sub-Committee of the Education Committee would do well to institute
classes to train Lord Mayors in the ways in which banks should be opened. They would have no difficulty in finding a professor to
instruct such classes, for Sir Percival Bower had become an expert in the art. He had attended the opening of many branches of the
bank and knew exactly what to say and how to say it. Sir Percival, in his reply, let out one of the secrets of bank opening ceremonies
which has intrigued many beholders for a long time. When in the early days, he said, he was asked to open branches of the bank he
was presented with souvenir keys of all sorts. None of these, however, would open the bank. With the souvenir key he was always handed
a small key by the manager or other official, who took care to see that it was handed back when the bank was opened. "We have with
us this afternoon," he added, "the Chief Constable Sir Charles Rafter, and I am now going to present you (the Lord Mayor) with a souvenir
key." The audience enjoyed the joke, but the Lord Mayor had the last word. "There is no need," he said, "for you to call attention
to the presence of the Chief Constable. I have already tried the souvenir key and it will not open the bank. I have also been given
a key that will open the bank, and I have also been told that immediately the bank is open I must return it"
The building's design
incorporated some architectural features that were also used at Billesley
branch, which was opened a few months later.
Erdington became part of Birmingham in 1911, and a BMB branch was established in the area from the Bank's commencement on September
1st 1919. Attempts were initially made to locate Erdington branch in the local High Street, but a very large office was eventually
opened at Six Ways on March 27th 1926. That branch became one of the Bank's busiest offices, and it may have been an attempt to relieve
the pressure of business at Erdington, that led to a branch being opened little more than half-a-mile to the north. The location chosen
was at the junction of Station Road and Gravelly Lane, close to Erdington railway station and not far from High Street, Erdington.
the branch at 73 Station Road was named Short Heath, the office is located on the extreme eastern edge of the district of that name
- a largely residential district that was mainly developed during the inter-War years, between Perry Common to the north and west
and the rail line between Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield to the east.