153 Weoley Castle Road, Birmingham B29 5QH
The 1939 Annual Report stated that: Plans have been approved for new Branch Banks at Weoley Castle and Shirley, to take the place
of existing buildings. The approved plans for Weoley Castle, prepared by Mr E C Bewlay of Messrs Peacock and Bewlay, architects, were
for a single-storey branch at an estimated cost of £2,400. Two alternative plans for premises including flats, at an estimated cost
in each case of £3,000, were rejected.
The intervention of the Second World War threatened progress with the building contract. In
October 1939, with practically no work done, the contractor expressed his desire to give seven days' notice terminating the contract
in accordance with its War Risk Clause.
The replacement contractors were Messrs John Harris, Ltd., and the new premises
were opened by Alderman Harrison Barrow on March 7th 1941, with the Bank's Chairman, Alderman Morland, presiding at the opening ceremony.
Lord Mayor (Alderman Wilfrid Martineau), who was called upon to address "our future depositors", said that most of those who were
present at the branch's opening ceremony were children, and he had found that children everywhere were interested in his chain of
office and especially in the fact that on the chain there were "two diamonds and that the chain is made of real gold." He suggested
that the children of Weoley Castle should save their pence so that they might, if they so desired, eventually become possessed of
diamonds and real gold.
New premises for Weoley Castle branch in 1941, prior to the Bank's name being affixed
below (March 7th 1941):
The Lord Mayor (Alderman Wilfrid Martineau) arrives for the branch's opening. Alderman Harrison Barrow performs
the opening ceremony for the new premises. On his left are the Lord Mayor and the Bank's General Manager (J P Hilton)
the interior of the branch - customer side of the counter in 1941; staff side in 1974
following the opening ceremony, the Lord Mayor transacts some deposits, and then sits on the counter to speak to a group
The front of the branch photographed in 1974
(by Steve Barber) & 2008.
Further photographs by Steve Barber: Image 047
Situated about 4 miles to the southwest of the city centre, the Weoley Castle Estate was built in the early 1930s when some 2,000
council houses were erected, including the City's 40,000th council house which was opened by Neville Chamberlain on October 23rd 1933.
The layout of the estate featured a central green surrounded by a road called Castle Square. The estate's shops were located here,
as in due course, was the BMB's Weoley Castle Branch.
A report in the Birmingham Post dated June 25th 1935 stated that Representations
have been made by residents on Weoley Castle Estate for banking facilities, and the [Bank] committee decided to make the necessary
arrangements with the Estates department for the transfer of a plot of land fronting to Castle Square, with a view to the establishment
of a branch for this estate.
Castle Square, Weoley Castle in the 1930s. Most of the shop units built on Castle Square were to this design. The Bank's premises,
however, were located in a purpose-built detached property on another side of the square.
On January 3rd 1936, a part-time branch (in a wooden building) was opened at 153 Castle Square, Weoley Castle, to service the needs
of this new housing estate.
Hours of business were:
- Mondays ..... 18:00 to 20:00
- Fridays ........ 18:00 to 20:00
1955 to 1960 - W Brown
1960 to 1964 - F Hood
1965 to 1966 - H Wheelock
1967 - H I Madeley
1969 - J King
M J Taylor
1971 to 1974 - W H Hughes
= location of branch at 153 Weoley Castle Road
At a lunch after the opening ceremony, the Lord Mayor presented Alderman Barrow with a silver salver as a memento of the occasion.
He said there was now close co-operation between the Bank and the National Savings campaign in Birmingham, and that had very largely
been brought about by Alderman Barrow's efforts. A War Weapons Week savings campaign had been held in Birmingham. It was not enough
to make such an effort and then to forget all about the savings movement. A very serious continuous effort was before them to finance
the war. Every section of the community should be encouraged to save so as to defend the right to be free. Savings, no matter how
small, were of very great value. The war would be won by self-sacrifice, and probably the most difficult form of sacrifice was that
which occurred in the trivial round and the common task. He hoped that the new branch of the Bank would be another stepping stone
towards victory over Hitler.
Councillor Cooper (a member of the Bank's Committee) said that during the years when Alderman Barrow
was Chairman of the Bank Committee he did not open a branch in the city and the committee was very pleased that he had opened a branch
in a district which he knew so well.
Probably due to wartime staffing problems, a daily opening service was not immediately provided at the new premises. It was the practice
of the Bank during the War to provide 'half-week opening' for pairs of the quieter branches (see Combination of Branches
). It appears
that Weoley Castle was opened on this basis, its hours being 10:00 to 15:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays only. Normal daily
opening appears to have commenced from 1942 or 1943.
Initially, the branch's address was listed in Annual Reports as either just 'Castle
Square' or '153 Castle Square. It is not until 1970 that the branch's address is listed as 153 Weoley Castle Road.