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When the BMB commenced business on September 1st 1919, it did so with its Head Office located in temporary accommodation in the City Council’s Water Department in Edmund Street, and with a network of eighteen branches, all in temporary locations. The necessity of utilising temporary accommodation stemmed from the lack of time to find permanent premises (a special meeting of the Bank’s Committee to discuss the Bank’s options was held as late as June 23rd 1919) and the more relevant fact that the Bank commenced operations without any working capital and therefore had no funds to purchase or lease property. When premises were found that were deemed to be suitable for conversion as permanent branches, the City Council initially purchased these in the name of the Housing & Estates Committee until the Bank was able to defray the cost from the profits generated by its operations.

 

The Bank’s decision to operate with a network of branches resulted (a) from the experience of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank, which utilised factories and other places of employment as branches, (b) the practicality of providing a service to a large population (almost 1 million) that the Council was planning to disperse over an enlarged city, and (c) the knowledge gained from a visit to the Manchester & Salford Savings Bank.

 

The temporary premises initially utilised included rooms at Institutes and Council properties, the front rooms of houses, the former premises of a butcher and a public house, the ticket office at a public baths, and a fireman's hut. When property was subsequently purchased, the typical premises obtained were shops with dwelling accommodation behind - as that accommodation usually had a tenant with occupation rights provided by the Rent Restrictions Act, the Bank was restricted to creating a branch in the confined space of a small shop.

 Branch
 Temporary
Address(es)
 Date
Opened
Permanent
Address 
 Date
Opened
(or work done)
 Architect(s)
Builder(s)
 Sparkbrook  163  Stratford Road  1/9/1919  161 Stratford Road
 25/7/1921
 Gerald McMichael  F J Briley
 Kings Heath
 (1) Kings Heath & Moseley Institute
 (2) 73a High Street
 1/9/1919
 25/6/1920
 73 High Street
 73 High Street
 24/4/1922
 2/6/1928
 Gerald McMichael
 City Surveyor
 Baker & Son
 George Mobbs
 Balsall Heath  148 Mary Street  1/9/1919
 526 Moseley Road
(incorporation of
    528 Moseley Road)
 4/9/1922
 
    (1927)
 Gerald McMichael
 
 Gerald McMichael
 Baker & Son
 
 Richard Fenwick Ltd
 (1) Green Lane Baths
 (2) 417 Coventry Road
 1/9/1919
 8/10/1919
 479 Coventry Road
   - initial structure
   - extension
 
 25/9/1922
(1924/5)
 
 Gerald McMichael
 Gerald McMichael
 
 F J Briley
 F J Briley
 Selly Oak  Selly Oak Institute  1/9/1919
 523 Bristol Road
(enlargement)
 10/2/1923
(1931)
Gerald McMichael 
 H Stewart Evans
 F J Briley
 EM Squire
 Aston  Aston Council House, Albert Road  1/9/1919
 22 High Street
    - initial works
    - extension
 
17/2/1923
(1929)
 
Gerald McMichael
 H Stewart Evans
 
 S Surman & Son
 E M Squire
 Duddeston  117 Great Lister Street  1/9/1919
 117 Great Lister Street
    - initial work
    - extension
 
 17/3/1923
(1926)
 
Gerald McMichael
 City Surveyor
 
 S Surman & Son
 A Pearce & Son
 Aston Cross  1 Park Road  1/11/1920
 99 Aston Road North
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 
28/4/1923
(1925)
 
Gerald McMichael
 City Surveyor
 
 F J Briley
 Richard Fenwick Ltd
 Rotton Park
 (1) 368 Dudley Road
 (2) 157 Dudley Road
 (3) 7 Heath Street
 1/9/1919
 9/7/1920
 28/12/1922
 157 Dudley Road 
 16/6/1923
 Gerald McMichael  W Sapcote & Sons
 Stirchley
 (1) 299 High Street
 (2) Stirchley Council School
 (3) 1516 Pershore Road
 (4) 1471 Pershore Road
 5/12/1919
 5/11/1920
       ?
       ?
 
1507 Pershore Road
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 
 
 29/10/1923
(1930)
 
 City Surveyor
 (H H Humphries)
 W Norman Twist
 
 
 Public Works Dept
 George Mobbs
 Hockley
n/a
n/a
 2 Soho Hill
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 
19/1/1924
(1925)
 
 Gerald McMichael
 Gerald McMichael
 
 T Elvins & Sons
 S Surman & Son
 Harborne
 Harborne Library, High Street
 2/2/1919  283 High Street
 2/2/1924
 City Surveyor
 Public Works Dept
 Handsworth
 Handsworth Council House, Soho Road
 1/2/1919
 162 Soho Road
 17/5/1924
 Gerald McMichael
 T Elvins & Sons
 Ladywood
 299 Monument Road
 1/2/1919
 300 Monument Road
 14/6/1924
 City Surveyor
 P W Cox
 Lozells  270 Lozells Road
 1/9/1919
 116 Villa Road
 7/3/1925
 City Surveyor
 Richard Fenwick Ltd
 Hay Mills
 1087 Coventry Road
 1/9/1919
 1176 Coventry Road
 21/3/1925
Gerald McMichael
 F J Briley
 Saltley
 Corner of Alum Rock Road
      and Bowyer Road
 2/9/1919
 156 Alum Rock Road
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 
 16/5/1925
(1932)
 
Gerald McMichael
 W Norman Twist
 
 E M Squire
 R Fenwick Ltd
 Acocks Green
 former Police Station, Warwick Road
 1/9/1919
 1111 Warwick Road
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 
 27/6/1925
(1932)
 
 Gerald McMichael
 Harold Scott
 
 F J Briley
 A Pearce & Son
 Edmund Street
 Water Department, Council House
 1/9/1919
 6 & 8 Edmund Street
 6/7/1925
 City Surveyor  Maddocks & Walford
 Spring Hill
 n/a
 n/a
 34 Spring Hill  25/7/1925  Gerald McMichael  W Sapcote & Son
 Erdington
 (1) National School, High Street
 (2) Church House, 177 High Street
 1/9/1919
3/1/1921
 154 Gravelly Hill North  27/3/1926  City Surveyor  J T Harris Ltd
 Ward End
 674 Washwood Heath Road
2/5/1921
 684 Washwood Heath Road
 10/4/1926
(1934)
 Gerald McMichael
 John B Surman
 Maddocks & Walford
 J Emlyn Williams
 Northfield
 (1) Northfield Institute, Church Road
 (2) 756 Bristol Road South
1/9/1919
1/1/1920
 701 Bristol Road South
 1/5/1926
 Gerald McMichael  S F Swift & Sons Ltd
 Bordesley Green
 n/a
 n/a
 122 Bordesley Green
 30/10/1926
 Gerald McMichael  A Pearce & Son
 Nechells
 n/a
 n/a
 410 Nechells Park Road
 7/5/1927
 City Surveyor  W & J Webb
 Witton
 228 Witton Lane
15/11/1924
 228 Witton Lane
 3/9/1927
 City Surveyor  W & J Webb
 Moseley
 n/a
 n/a
 176 Alcester Road
    - initial alterations
    - extension
 10/9/1927
(1928)
 City Surveyor
 H Stewart Evans
 George Mobbs
 A Pearce & Son
 Broad Street
 n/a
 n/a
 Broad Street  27/11/1933  T Cecil Howitt  W J Whittall & Son
 
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Extracts from the Minutes of the Bank’s Management Committees detail the processes followed to establish the temporary premises and the subsequent search for permanent facilities. The Minutes also illustrate the protocols it was necessary for the Bank to follow to obtain the City Council’s sanction to the relevant expenditure, etc., as required by the Bank’s Rule 10 which stated that “The Committee of Management may from time to time open and maintain Branch Offices for transacting the business of the Bank elsewhere than at the Head Office, and for that purpose may acquire the tenancy of any premises, or, with the consent of the Council of the City of Birmingham, may purchase or erect any premises.”

 

The tasks of finding and then administrating the acquisition of properties were greatly assisted by the Bank’s valuer: Frank Wilde.

 

The Bank experienced many problems in relation to finding premises in its early years; these included a lack of suitable properties and the difficulty of obtaining vacant possession. Other problems included the provision of lighting and heating to the branch premises - electricity was rare, unreliable and expensive; and the Bank attempted to install innovative central heating systems. These problems are detailed in the Minutes reproduced for each branch.

 

Minutes covering topics that relate to the  whole of the branch network are reproduced separately.

 

As required by local bye-laws,  Building Plans were submitted to Birmingham's City & Engineer's Office prior to construction work.

 

(NOTE: Until October 1922, the Bank's General Manager (J P Hilton) held the title of 'Manager', and Branch Managers were known as 'Branch Superintendents'.)

 
Building Plans