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 SPARKHILL
58
30th
482 Stratford Road, Birmingham B11 4AE
021-772 1366
SP
1928
The branch was formally opened on July 21st 1928, by the Lady Mayoress (Mrs A H James).
 
Commencing on Friday, March 11th 1932, extensive alterations were made to the branch. During this reconstruction work, the business of the branch was conducted at the Sparkhill Junior Commercial School, at the corner of Stratford Road and Newton Road - just opposite the permanent branch. These alterations appear to have continued through April and May, and were the source of complaints by the Bank's neighbour at 476 Stratford Road (Sydney Edwin Wilson, a house furnisher, who owned the properties at 472, 474, 476, 478, and 480). Mr Wilson complained that the workmen had entered his premises, demolished part of his boundary wall and raised its height from 9ft 8in to 19ft 10in. He further complained that slates had been removed and disturbed from his roof, refuse had been deposited in his garden, his gate and back steps had been damaged, a tree had been cut down, and light had been obstructed from entering his premises. As a result, he alleged that his buildings were rendered unsafe, dark, damp and unwholesome. At a court case brought by Mr Wilson, the Official Referee described the Bank’s actions as high-handed, and awarded Mr Wilson the sum of £335 as compensation.
 
The Bank's property - numbers 482 and 484 - was leasehold, part of a ground rent of £7 10s 0d in respect of properties 472 to 484 Stratford Road. The opportunity was taken in 1933 to purchase these ground rents for the sum of £130, probably as a consequence of the dispute with Mr Wilson that occurred during the previous year's reconstruction work.
 
Despite the alterations in 1932, the premises were far from ideal and the Bank, in 1939, investigated the possibility of purchasing the nearby 458 Stratford Road - a property at the junction of Inglewood Road. The purchase of the freehold interest for £550 was agreed, but it was not possible to buy the leasehold interest, and the transaction lapsed.
 
A solution to the branch's poor accommodation was again sought, after the War, as the following report by the General Manager in  1945 describes:
Accommodation is very limited. The building has been altered on two occasions to the full extent of our boundaries. The space available for the public is insufficient, and staff conditions worse than at any other branch. The strong room had to be constructed in the basement, which necessitates transfer of books and cash to the ground floor in the morning and vice-versa at the close of business. The mess room is on the first floor and prevents the use of the room above the bank for residential purposes.
The premises are leasehold, and although we have made efforts in the past to obtain the freehold, we have been unsuccessful. If the adjoining premises could be obtained we could provide adequate accommodation, but we should still have leasehold premises. It would be better to consider purchasing another site in the near vicinity, and having regard to extensive war damage in this district, the time may be opportune for making such an effort.
 
No other premises were found and the branch does not appear to have been extended. Bank staff who worked at the branch in the 1970s recall that the strongroom was still in the basement, and that the basement was subject to periodic flooding. Ledgers were transferred between the basement and ground floor by means of a book lift. The mess room remained on the first floor, but a residential flat was created at some date, indicating that a scheme was adopted to better utilise the existing restricted accommodation.
Two views of the branch shortly after completion of building works in 1928 -
Shakespeare Street is on the right of the photograph
below (July 1st 1928):
A crowd assemble to witness the opening ceremony performed by the Bank's Chairman (Percival Bower - in the centre of the doorway)
left:
Interior following alterations in 1932
below (2010):
the premises are now occupied by 'The Bass Bin'
Branch Deposit Balances at March 31st:
1946 - £1,285,909
1947 - £1,346,906
 
Number of Open Accounts at March 31st:
1947 - 10,751 (Savings: 10,685; Mortgage: 66)
 
Annual Transactions
- Year Ended March 31st 1947: 74,421
 
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Located on the main road from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon, the Sparkhill area grew as a residential extension out of the city from Sparkbrook. Originally part of Yardley Rural District Council, Sparkhill became part of Birmingham in 1911. By this date, the area had become a district of working-class residences built in long rows of terraced houses. During the 20th-century, Sparkhill became a popular area for immigrants from Ireland, the West Indies, and the Asian sub-continent.
 
The branch was created by the rebuilding of an unusually shaped unit at the junction of Stratford Road and Shakespeare Street, 2½-miles southeast of the city centre. The name 'Sparkhill' was originally allocated to a branch further out of the city on the Stratford Road - that branch was renamed as Springfield when this new office was opened close to where the medieval Sparkhill Farm had once been located.
Managers:
1929 to 1931 - W J R Tooby
1934 - A T Guest
1958 to 1960 - A Morgan
1963 - T A E Wilner
1965 - J W Smith
1966 to 1972 - H E Shaw
© OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch at 482 Stratford Road
below:
the interior of the premises in 1928, including the unveiling of the Commemoration Tablet
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