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18 Curdale Road, Birmingham, B32 4HB
021-475 8454

Bartley Green, located about 5 miles southwest of the city centre, became part Birmingham in 1911 when the city expanded to include the parish of Northfield. Although Bartley Green was no more than one of a number of small villages in the area, the Bank opened an Evening Branch on May 2nd 1921. The location used was the Church Schools, with a 1-hour service being provided on Mondays from 19:30 to 20:30. The branch would have had a staff of two, recruited solely for the purpose - probably from another Corporation department. After twelve months, only 21 accounts had been opened.


This unsatisfactory level of performance continued for the next two years. At a meeting of the Bank's General Purposes Sub-Committee on May 12th 1924, the General Manager "called attention to the unsatisfactory arrangements prevailing at Bartley Green and Quinton Branches owing to it being impossible to send out members of the permanent staff on the present evenings of opening. He recommended that in these cases the opening should be on Friday night instead of Saturday or Monday and it would then be possible to arrange for a permanent Bank officer to be sent to each Branch." The Committee resolved that the General Manager be authorised to alter the days of opening at Bartley Green and Quinton Branches accordingly.


The office was removed to the local Public Library on July 5th 1924, and the opening hour was switched to Friday Evenings. It was probably at this time that the hour of opening was amended to 19:00 to 20:00.


At this date the branch had only about 50 accounts and when the General Manager submitted a report of business transacted in December 1924 it was stated that "With reference to Bartley Green, it was pointed out that very little business was transacted at this Branch, and the General Manager was instructed to consider the question of transferring the branch to California, where the population was more concentrated than at Bartley Green, and to furnish a report thereon."


The following month (at the Finance Sub-Committee meeting on February 9th 1925) the General Manager reported as follows:

"At the last meeting of the Committee the General Manager was instructed to report on the question of transferring the Bartley Green Branch to California.


"The number of depositors at the present time on the books of Bartley Green Branch is 56, of whom all are resident in Bartley Green except four who reside at Woodgate. These 56 depositors have to their credit 2,596. 9. 10d. That represents the position of the Branch after four years' working.


"During the past twelve months the amount deposited per week averaged 19. 7. 0d., and the amount withdrawn averaged 9. 12. 0d. per week. 19 new accounts were opened during the year, and 13 accounts were closed. The number of transactions during the year works out at an average of 7 per week.


"The suggestion to transfer the Branch to California has little to commend itself beyond the fact that the population is more concentrated. There are, roughly, about 100 houses in what is termed California. Bartley Green is about two miles from Harborne Branch, and California lies approximately mid-way. There is an absence of shopping in both areas, and, as far as I can gather, little prospect of development either in houses or shopping. The natural shopping centre is Harborne, but I am told many go to Bearwood.


"Since the Bartley Green Branch was opened there has been an extension of traffic facilities, the Tramways Department now running a regular bus service from Harborne to Bartley Green, and thus the residents can quickly reach Harborne.


"The cost of working the Bartley Green Branch is 9/-d. per week in remuneration to the two officers engaged, and a rent of 5 per annum is paid to the Public Libraries Committee for the use of a room. In addition there is the cost of stationery, supervision, etc.


"The suggested transfer is not one which commends itself to the General Manager. The district of Harborne and its surrounding villages does not indicate any particular keenness in the Municipal Bank, and a considerable increase in business will have to take place in Harborne itself before the Branch is self-supporting. The General Manager, therefore, does not favour the proposal to transfer the Bartley Green Branch to California, but rather recommends that it be transferred to Harborne, and the expense saved. These small villages could, with advantage, be developed by the Home Safe method of saving, which was introduced to meet such cases as Bartley Green, California, etc."


The Committee then resolved: "That the General Committee be recommended to instruct the General Manager to discontinue the arrangements for special attendance at Bartley Green, and to take the necessary steps for the accounts concerned to be dealt with at the Harborne Branch."


The branch was closed, and the business transferred to Harborne, on March 31st 1925. Deposits in just 51 accounts at this date totalled approximately 2,500; total transactions in the period the branch was opened were 1,442. (See: Statistics for this period.)


Later in 1925 the Bank received a letter from the Bartley Green, Woodgate and California Village Council asking for the re-opening of the Bartley Green branch. The General Manager reported to the December 14th meeting of the General Purposes Sub-Committee that he had met the representatives of the Council and explained the reasons which had led to the discontinuance of the branch. The Committee directed the General Manager to inform the Council that the Bank could not see their way to re-open the branch at present.


In 1928, by damming the valley of Senneleys Brook, the Bartley Green Reservoir covering 46 hectares, was constructed. Its purpose is to give the city at least a week's supply of water in case of a fracture of the main pipeline from the Elan Valley reservoirs in Wales from where the water is gravity-fed over some 70 miles to Birmingham.


The next major construction project in the area came almost immediately after the end of the Second World War. Over a number of years a mixture of private and council housing was built including the Athol Farm council estate - a development by the city council that included five tower blocks (since demolished). This development of Bartley Green led to another part-time branch being opened (in conjunction with West Heath) in 1966, that was located in a small shopping precinct in Curdale Road, Bartley Green. The hours of business were:
   - Monday ............10:00 to 15:00
   - Wednesday ..... 10:00 to 15:00
   - Friday .............. 10:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 19:00
   - Saturday .......... 10:00 to 12:00


The branch became a full-time office in 1969; it was closed on June 10th 1994 and the business transferred to Weoley Castle branch.
the unit that was once occupied by Bartley Green branch from 1966 to 1994, now houses a supermarket
OpenStreetMap contributors
= location of the permanent branch at 18 Curdale Road
1922 - W Beckett
1966 - N A Monk
1967 to 1969 - S W Fairey
1970 to 1972 - W M Eley
1972 to 1974 - M J Davenport
= location of the temporary branch at Bartley Green Library
Bartley Green Library - the premises used as a temporary branch on Friday evenings from July 5th 1924 to March 31st 1925. The 1905 building was designed by William F Edwards for the Kings Norton & Northfield Urban District Council, and was paid for by the Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
A plaque affixed to the Library records that Jane Bunford was born and lived in a cottage opposite. With a height of 7' 11", she is remembered on the plaque as "the tallest woman the world has ever known".