16 Poplar Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3AB
The Bank's 1933 Annual Report commented that:
Negotiations have been successfully concluded for the establishment of a Branch or Branches
of the Bank in the area of the Solihull Urban District Council, and it is to be hoped during the present year to make such provision.
Those negotiations followed the passing of a consensual vote by Solihull’s councillors at a meeting on April 4th 1933. Not all the
councillors, however, were in favour of the Bank establishing branches in Solihull, as the following newspaper report of the council
Although there was a big majority at the Solihull Urban District Council meeting yesterday in favour of consent
being given to the Birmingham Municipal Bank to establish a branch bank in the Solihull area, the spirited discussion on the matter
was marked by a vigorous attack on Birmingham’s alleged annexation designs.
Councillor R J Turner, who proposed that consent
be given, said that a good many ratepayers in the district were already contributors to the bank, and therefore anything the Council
could do to assist the ratepayers should be done. Councillor F J Ward seconded.
Councillor Lieut-Col W T Brain, former Postmaster-Surveyor
of Birmingham, vigorously opposed the idea. It seemed, he said, to be quite smart on the part of the Birmingham Municipal Bank to
offer to give facilities for the payment of water rates, but that was no justification for pushing a branch on Solihull. “We want
to keep Solihull as Solihull,” declared Lieut-Col Brain. “We don’t want Birmingham to come into it. It is another attempt on the part
of Birmingham to get their foot in. It is the thin edge of the wedge, and we should resist it. We don’t want anything that belongs
to the municipality of Birmingham.”
Councillor H W Nock also opposed, and pointed out that there were branches of four large banks
in Solihull. They had saving associations and the Post Office Savings Bank. The Municipal Bank, he thought, enabled the Birmingham
City Council to borrow money at low rates and spend more freely on things they could do without in Birmingham. He believed they went
into a lot of schemes because they could borrow money. “Birmingham,” declared Mr Nock, “has even municipalized the building of its
banks. It is finding outlets for the sons and relatives of a good many officials and leaders in Birmingham, and from that point of
view it is a good thing, but from the point of view of the country I don’t think they should be allowed to go any further.”
T Scott said Birmingham was looking ahead in the Solihull district. Birmingham electricity, Birmingham gas and Birmingham water were
already in Solihull, and now Birmingham wanted Solihull’s money. In districts that were now part of the city Birmingham first got
in with sewers and with water.
Councillor H Pedley remarked that Solihull took Birmingham water, gas, and electricity because it suited
them. Councillor B Davis pointed out that Mr Neville Chamberlain had recently said that the Municipal Bank was one of the finest things
done for the country. It had been a wonderful thing for Birmingham. There were millions of the money of workers invested in the bank,
and use at a low rate of interest for the purpose of developing Birmingham.
The Chairman (Councillor C Robinson) said that the thin
end of the wedge referred to had been in the district a long time. He was not afraid of being absorbed by Birmingham. He had seen
two large absorptions by Birmingham, and the absorption was very much to the interest of the districts absorbed. “If the time comes
that we have to be absorbed by Birmingham it will be to our advantage. “But I don’t think the time will come if we show ourselves
capable of governing ourselves well. I think we are fortunate in having a neighbour like Birmingham.” He added that if the Municipal
Bank was wanted it would prosper; if it was not wanted it would die a natural death.
In replying to the discussion, Councillor Turner
said the annexation and amalgamation of all the outlying areas around Birmingham had been to the welfare and for the good government
of those districts. There was no doubt some of them would see the time when Solihull would be annexed. There was no city in the world
better managed than Birmingham.The motion to consent to the bank was carried by 14 votes to five.
The following year's Annual
Report then stated that:
By arrangement with the Solihull District Council the activities of the Bank now extend to the area of such
Council, and Branches have been opened at Shirley and Solihull. Residents of these areas are invited to make use of the two Branch
Offices and are reminded that the guarantee of the Birmingham Corporation in respect of deposits and interest thereon applies to these
external Branches to the same extent as it applies to Branches within the area of the City of Birmingham.
In the 1930s, the population
of Solihull was growing as people moved into the town from Birmingham. Housing expanded in the town by infilling between the three
major roads that ran through the borough: the routes from Birmingham to Coventry, Warwick, and Stratford. The two main shopping areas
for the town were established in Solihull's town centre, and (3 miles away) at Shirley.
Temporary premises at 20a High Street, Solihull: April 28th 1934
Site for new premises (previously: Harold Nock - Estate Office)
New premises: 1938
Councillor Miller (right of doorway) officially opens the new office. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham (Coun. E R Canning) is on
the left of the photograph. Others present are Coun. Wilfred Martineau (double-breasted suit) and J P Hilton (extreme right of photograph)
The crowd assembled to witness the opening ceremony
(Below): Two views of the branch interior in 1938, including the first day of business
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1946 - £1,239,399
1947 - £1,359,193
Open Accounts at March 31st 1947:
Mortgage Accounts - 121
Total - 5,380
- Year Ended March 31st 1947: 31,094
In common with many other
redundant BMB offices, Solihull
branch is now a restaurant
1958 to 1961 - W Buxton
1963 to 1967 - N L Newcombe
1969 to 1971 - G P Copsey
1972 - J A Cox
The Bank's authority to establish branches outside Birmingham's boundaries under the provisions of Sections 56 and 57 of the Birmingham
Corporation (General Powers) Act, 1929, allowed the Bank to follow its depositors to this dormitory town for the city's workers. The
two branches were opened, both initially on a part-time basis, at temporary premises. The Solihull temporary office was located at
20a High Street, and was probably opened on April 28th 1934, the hours of business were:
Mondays ..... 10:00 to 14:30
and 18:00 to 20:00
Tuesdays .... 10:00 to 14:30
Saturdays .... 10:00 to 13:00
The two branches appear to have been operated
by the same staff, as each was opened on three days a week; Shirley
was open on Wednesdays to Fridays.
The Bank's 1937 Annual
Report stated that:
Premises have been purchased in Poplar Road, Solihull, with the object of providing more accommodation than is
possible in the existing temporary premises. When the new premises are ready daily Bank facilities will be arranged. These premises
were the Estate Office of Harold Nock.
The reconstructed premises in Poplar Road were formally opened at 5:30pm on Wednesday,
July 20th 1938 by the Chairman of Solihull District Council (Councillor H W Miller), in the presence of Members of the Solihull
Council, Members of the Birmingham City Council, and others who included C H Cook (Clerk to Solihull Council), C R Hutchinson (Surveyor),
C H Budd (Treasurer), H Parker (Rating and Valuation Officer), the Rev A E Fraser (Rector of Solihull), J B Surman (architect for
the new premises), S Freeman (builder), Frank Wilde (valuer) and B Hunt. Mr Miller was presented with a souvenir of the
occasion by Councillor W Martineau, acting Chairman of the Bank. Daily banking facilities were provided as from that date - the address
of these new premises was 31 Poplar Road. The new premises commenced with nearly 2,000 accounts (with balances amounting to £180,000)
opened in the temporary premises; the first account in the new location was opened by Mrs Miller on behalf of the Solihull Maternity
and Infant Welfare Association. Following the formal opening ceremony, the branch stayed open for business until 8pm.
at a social occasion at Solihull Council prior to the opening of the new premises, the Lord Mayor (Councillor E R Canning, JP) recalled
the history and progress of the Bank, and then advised factory and office workers who had an interest in holiday and Christman
clubs that they would be wise to see that the weekly collections are handed over to the care of the Municipal Bank. Every year when
holiday times come round there are one or two cases where members of 'diddlum clubs' lose their money and hope of a well-earned holiday.
Their distress was very real and it could be averted if their savings had gone into the bank. He stated that the success of the Municipal
Bank was due largely to the personal interest that Birmingham men and women have in it. The amount of money saved by the working classes
is remarkable and is a guarantee of the future security of the country, he concluded. Mr Miller spoke of the Municipal Bank's 'simplicity
of operation - it gives a fair rate of interest, and behind it is the guarantee of one of the greatest cities in the world'.
The Bank's lease (from Solihull United Charities) on the temporary premises at 20a High Street, which ran until September 1944,
was assigned for £100. The flat above the new premises were let to a dentist (Mr G S Hoggins) on an initial lease of 7 years
at a rental of £50 per annum, the tenant to be responsible for rates, water charges, and internal repairs.
Without any explanatory
comment, the Bank's 1950 Annual Report amended Solihull's address to 16 Poplar Road. (Branches were advised by a Circular dated November
11th 1949.) At the same time, Shirley's address was also amended slightly, suggesting that addresses in the Solihull area were subject
to a re-numbering exercise.