The Bank Committee reported to the City Council on January 8th 1924:
Your Committee report that the opportunity has been secured
of acquiring freehold property situate at Nos 38 and 40, Spring Hill, with vacant land adjoining and behind, and a disused chapel
at rear. When the matter first came to your Committee's notice, they ascertained that a portion of the property came within a street
widening scheme of the Corporation. They accordingly approached the Public Works and Town Planning Committee with a view to a joint
purchase for the respective purposes of the two Committees, and are pleased to report that the Public Works and Town Planning Committee
agreed to co-operate with them in acquiring the property.
The premises consist of two small shops and dwelling houses, No 40 (which
is a little larger than No 38) being let on an annual tenancy at a rental of £38, the tenant paying rates; No 38 being let at a weekly
rental of 11s., inclusive of rates. The disused chapel standing at the rear has an assembly room of 44ft by 45ft, and a height of
17ft, wood laid floor of parquetry pattern, with heating and lighting arrangements.
Your Committee attach no importance to the shops
and dwelling houses as buildings, as they are only in poor condition, but taking the site as a whole they are satisfied that the property
is one which the Council should acquire in view of subsequent street widening developments, and the Public Works and Town Planning
Committee concur in this view.
As a result of your Committee's negotiations, the price at which the property can be acquired has been
reduced to £2,100. Your Committee having consulted a Valuer, and considered his opinion, have confidence in recommending that the
property should be acquired at this sum.
It has been agreed between the two Committees that the purchase should be effected, subject
to the approval of the Council, on the following terms:
1 Such portion or portions as come within the requirements
of the Public Works Department for street widening to be paid for by the
Public Works and Town
2 The remainder of the land and premises to be paid for by the Bank.
So far as your Committee
are concerned, they propose, with the approval of the Public Works and Town Planning Committee, to erect a temporary Bank on the vacant
land fronting to Spring Hill, and to pay an annual sum as ground rent to that Committee. The chapel and remaining land would be retained
by the Bank as a site for a permanent Bank when the widening scheme is proceeded with, using part of the chapel in such connection,
or demolishing same, as may be deemed desirable after having professional advice thereon.
The approval of the Council is now asked
to the purchase, the cost of which, so far as your Committee's share is concerned, will be defrayed out of the funds of the Bank.
the event, a temporary branch was not employed, and a permanent branch was opened on July 25th 1925
, by the Lord Mayor (Alderman Percival Bower),
and commenced as a full-time daily office, the Lord Mayor pointing out that the Committee were providing daily facilities straight
away without working up a depositorship by means of a part-time, evening branch. The Lord Mayor impressed upon his audience that the
Bank existed for the benefit of the small saver, and he pointed out the great value which attached to the Bank's home safe facility.
The address of the new branch was 34 Spring Hill
, Birmingham 18 (phone: EDGbaston 2503). The new premises were designed by Gerald
, and the work carried out by W Sapcote & Sons at a cost of £1,389.
Also attending the opening ceremony was Oswald
Moseley, at that time a Parliamentary candidate for the Ladywood division of Birmingham (and later the Member of Parliament for Smethwick).
He warmly commended the Bank to his audience, saying that it was an excellent institution, which reflected great credit on those who
had the management in their hands. He advised the people of Spring Hill to roll up and become depositors.
By the time of the
Second World War, the former chapel premises were being used as a Billiard Hall, as the following General Manager's report dated January
16th 1943 mentions. The report also details a problem arising from the exigencies of the War.
It was reported to me on the 9th January
that the iron gates across the passage leading to the Billiard Hall at the rear of our Spring Hill premises had been removed on the
6th January by Messrs W Sapcote & Sons, on the instructions of the Ministry of Works and Buildings. No notification of intended
removal was served on the Bank and no receipt given for the removal. On the 11th January I called on the Ministry of Works and Buildings
for an explanation. The Ministry state that a notice of intention to remove the gates was handed to someone at the Billiard Hall,
and that the officials of the Ministry were not aware the gates belonged to the Bank. The Ministry further state the gates were scheduled
for removal by the Birmingham Local Authority, and as they did not come within the category for which exemption could be made, they
were removed. In the circumstances, owing to shortage of labour and materials, no replacement can be made. The Ministry regret the
notice was not served on the Bank so that representations might have been made for retention before the gates were removed.
previous cases schedules have been sent by the City Surveyor and have been carefully considered by the Chairman, who has given directions
in each individual case, but no reference has been made to the gates at Spring Hill.
Owing to damage done to the Billiard Hall through
persons breaking into the premises about Christmas, the Police were notified and are investigating the matter. The question of security
to the Bank's premises, as well as to the Billiard Hall, arises in this connection.
(Note: three months after this report, the
City Surveyor gave his opinion that no grounds existed for the Bank objecting to the removal of the gates, and he did not consider
the security of the Bank to have been impaired. Many railings etc were removed during the Second World War, ostensibly to
be melted down in a morale-boosting drive to help the war effort.)