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73 Station Road, Erdington, Birmingham B23 6UG
021-373 1450
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.
In opening 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:
At 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.
Two views of the new premises in 1930 -
Station Road on the left; Gravelly Lane on the right
the large building that housed the former
branch is now called Stuart Court, and is used
by the Probation Service. Some of the architectural
features of the branch are still recognisable.
Station Road is to the left of the photograph,
Gravelly Lane to the right.
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.
Although 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.
1930 & 1931 - E J Cope
1934 - C E Harper
1937 - J A Smith
1958 - A Bower
1961 to 1970 - L F Evans
1971 to 1974 - J L Gregg
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch at 73 Station Road
below (January 4th 1930): The branch opening ceremony
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.