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27 Tower Hill, Birmingham B42 1LG
021-357 1805
At a meeting of Birmingham City Council on March 9th 1937, approval was given to the purchase of land at Tower Hill by the Public Libraries Department. The Bank then began negotiations with the Libraries Department for a portion of this land that was surplus to the requirements for a library to be transferred to the Bank. It was agreed that 984 square yards be transferred to the Bank at a cost of 7s 6d per square yard (£369). A Bank Committee report noted that arrangements have been made to erect a fence round the temporary building to prevent access to the road by stock belonging to the adjoining tenant.
An Evening Branch (Mondays and Fridays: 18:00 to 20:00) was opened in temporary wooden premises at 17 Tower Hill on February 14th 1938. The Bank's Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee reported on February 21st 1938 that in order to meet the wishes of the Public Works Department, who desire to preserve three large trees in a central reservation, it is proposed to transfer 25 square yards of land belonging to the Bank .... to the Public Works Department and to instruct the General Manager of the Estates Department to fix the transfer value, taking into account roadmaking charges of £31-14s-0d for which the Bank would be liable.
At a meeting of the Bank's Committee on June 19th 1939, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee reported that In view of the considerable increase in business at Tower Hill evening Branch, your Sub-Committee consider provision should be made for daily Bank facilities and for the erection of a one-storey building. The General Manager has accordingly been authorised to invite Mr Bewlay, Architect, to prepare a plan therefor. The following month, a plan prepared by the architect was approved and authority was given for tenders to be obtained.
In October 1939, however, it was decided (owing to the War) not to obtain tenders, but standard daily opening hours were adopted in 1940.
During, and immediately after the Second World War, the branch made rapid progress:
The opening ceremony for the new premises: April 28th 1961.
The first photograph shows the Bank's General Manager (H J Sutherland) on the right, and his Deputy, J W Raftery, on the left
Two images of business being conducted on
the day of the official opening of the branch
In July 1945, the Committee again considered the question of erecting a permanent building. Post-War building restrictions meant that only premises including some element of dwelling accommodation would receive favourable consideration, so although the office space was insufficient for the level of business, the architects (Messrs Peacock and Bewlay) were asked to put the matter on hold.
The branch therefore continued to conduct business in temporary wooden premises that were a target for break-ins:
A newspaper report dated September 2nd 1943 stated that An eight-year-old boy bank robber, and another boy of the same age, said to be a member of a gang led by a six-year-old girl, were dealt with at Birmingham Juvenile Court yesterday, the former stated to have broken into the Birmingham Municipal Bank's branch at Tower-hill, Great Barr, and stolen 1s. 8d., being bound over for six months, the other boy being fined £2. A detective-sergeant said that while the police were investigating the bank robbery the boy charged stood watching them. The detective asked the boy if he would mind being lifted through a broken window, through which entry had been made, to unlock an inner door to facilitate the police entering without forcing it. The boy did so, and also gave the them the name of another boy who, he said, he had seen in the bank. He also showed them a hole in a near-by field where 9d. in a 'copper' bag was hidden. He later admitted it was he who had broken into the bank by smashing the window with his hammer.
Another newspaper reporting the same court case stated that the boy who stole the 1s. 8d., had gone to the pictures the same evening with some of the money. Presumably the cinema he attended was the local Clifton, referred to in another newspaper report (dated April 28th 1948): The Tower Hill, Perry Barr, branch of the Birmingham Municipal Bank was entered during the night by thieves, who forced the door and made a crude attempt to open the safe. No money was taken. The discovery was made by a police officer on patrol duty early to-day when he noticed that the door of the bank was open. The bank building is a wooden structure facing the Clifton Cinema and adjoining other hutments which are the new headquarters of The Beeches Squadron, Air Training Corps. The matter is in the hands of the Birmingham CID.
The branch's address was amended to 27 Tower Hill with effect from December 8th 1958, but it was not until April 28th 1961, that a permanent branch was formally opened (by the Chairman of the Bank: Councillor Seymour J Brown) at that address. The branch's business was conducted from temporary premises for 23 years - only Kitts Green branch (25 years) waited longer for a permanent office.
The branch was closed after 1979 and the building was subsequently used as an ambulance station.
Year Ended
March 31st 
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.
This area of Great Barr, four miles north of the city centre, came into Birmingham in 1928. Housing development followed on each side of the Birmingham to Walsall road - well supported by a frequent bus service between the two towns. The Booths Farm Estate and the Tower Hill Estate provided a mixture of detached and semi-detached houses, built in the 1930s.
1958 & 1959 - W A Camwell
1960 to 1963 - W G T Gray
1965 to 1967 - J W Walker
1969 to 1972 - A J Smith
1974 - W M Eley
© OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of branch in Tower Hill, Great Barr
Temporary premises