Premises - Edmund Street
The following Minutes have been extracted from the records
of the Bank's General Committee and its Sub-Committees.
The Minutes cover the period when the Bank's Head Office was initially located in part of the Water Department's offices  in Edmund Street (a legacy of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank), as more suitable premises were sort in the city centre. It was not until 1925 that Head Offices were established nearby at 6 & 8 Edmund Street.
The Bank's first permanent Head Offices were opened by
Neville Chamberlain on July 6th 1925.
Edmund Street

Bank Committee: August 29th 1919


316 RESOLVED:- That the Chairman be requested to interview the new Chairman of the Water Committee with reference to the Head Offices of the Bank and to endeavour to obtain improved provision and better arrangements generally.


Bank Committee: October 6th 1919


On Minute No 316, the following letters were received from the Water Department:


October 2nd 1919:

Dear Sir,


Office Accommodation.


The various discussions as to the accommodation for the Bank in these Offices have now reached a point for formal approval by the Water Committee, and will come before them for that purpose this afternoon. The arrangements proposed are:


1. In addition to the rooms already occupied by the Bank, the Bank to have the use of a length of 35ft. 3in. of Counter, measuring from the East end wall, with the corresponding space behind the counter up to the office screen, and the use for their customers of the corresponding space at the front of the Counter. The space behind the Counter thus made over to the Bank to be left clear for the use of the Bank.


2. The screened office of the Chief Water Rates Accounts Clerk (Mr E F Harper) to be made over for the use of the Bank Manager.


To give effect to the above arrangements the following alterations are required:


(a) The cash drawers at the end of the Counter retained for the use of the Water Cashiers to be altered, so as to lessen the space between them.


(b) A new screened-off office to be made for the use of the Chief Water Rates Accounts Clerk.


(c) Two of the swing doors between the Bank space behind the Counter and the General Office to be blocked up. The doors opposite the Water Department's portion of the counter to be made to open inwards only, that is, away from the counter.


(d) A screen to be fixed to divide the Water Department from the Bank, starting from the existing screen at a point 35ft. 3ins. from the East end wall of the office and running at right-angles across the counter to a point on the public side of the counter within 3ft. of the wall.


(e) The Conference Room to be given up for the use of the Service Clerks; and, to make room for their books etc. behind the Conference Room Counter, that counter to be brought forward 4ft. This involves removing the screen and door of the Conference Room, and throwing the room open. The present door to the Assistant Superintendent's room to be blocked up and a new doorway to be made leading into the General Office.


It is arranged that the work shall be carried out at the cost of the Bank, and I enclose herewith copy of Messrs William Sapcote & Sons' approximate estimate.


Please let me know in time for the meeting of my Committee this afternoon whether you approve.


Yours faithfully,

E Antony Lees, Secretary.


October 3rd 1919

Dear Sir,


Office accommodation.


This matter came before my Committee at their meeting yesterday afternoon, but I had not heard from you in reply to the letter I sent you in the forenoon, enquiring whether the structural proposals set out therein are acceptable to your Committee, and whether you wish an order to be given to Messrs Sapcote to carry them out.


The Finance Sub-Committee had instructed me to consider the subject of rent to be paid by the Bank for the accommodation occupied by them and for the additional accommodation now proposed; the rent to include also heating, lighting, rates and taxes, with use of lavatories, etc, it being recognised that all these services must be administered for the entire premises, this being in fact the basis on which the tenancy of the Salvage Department is settled.


The Committee accepted my calculations, which show a rent of £270 per annum for the basement premises and £330 for the portion of the General Office indicated in the scheme of alterations submitted to you. These terms include the administrative services and rates, and the outlook being so uncertain, it is felt that they should be open to review after a short period, and it is suggested that they shall be reconsidered after three years.


The rent will, of course, begin from October 1st.


Kindly let me know as soon as you can what your Committee decide, as it is of importance to us that, if the Bank is to be housed in our General Office, the alterations shall be carried out without delay.


Yours faithfully,

E Antony Lees, Secretary.


339 RESOLVED:- That the question of repairs and alterations to office fixtures be referred to the Chairman, Councillor Appleby, and the Manager to deal with, with authority to spend up to £200, also that the Chairman be requested to interview the Chairman of the Water Committee with a view to obtaining a reduction in the rent required.


Bank Committee: November 3rd 1919                                        


The Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee presented the following report:


Branch Bank Premises.


With reference to Minute No 339, your Sub-Committee report that Mr Neville Chamberlain has had an interview with the Chairman of the Water Committee with a view to obtaining a reduction in the amount of the rent asked by the Water Dept for the use of a portion of their offices. The Committee will remember that the amounts suggested by the Water Department were £270 per annum for the basement, and £330 for the portion of the general office indicated in the scheme of alterations submitted at the last meeting, making a total of £600. An arrangement has now been made whereby the Water Committee agree to the Bank having the use of accommodation referred to for £400 for the first year, £450 for the second year, £500 for the third year and £550 for the fourth year, the matter to be reviewed at the end of the third year. The Bank, however, to have the right to give notice inside three years. These rentals include rates. lighting and cleaning.


With regard to the alterations which it was estimated would cost £230 approximately, your Sub-Committee report that as a result of an interview between Mr Neville Chamberlain and the Chairman of the Water Committee, the cost of the alterations which it has now been decided to make has been reduced to £163. 16. 0. and instructions have been given to Messrs William Sapcote & Sons to place the work in hand.


Your Sub-Committee have had before them plans showing suggested alterations to the basement portion of the Head Offices which would allow of sums being locked up. The alterations would also provide a cloak room, and a private room for the Manager or a Committee Room. If these proposed alterations are carried out, it would be possible for the upstairs office to be used mainly for the purpose of receiving deposits, and would permit the downstairs portion being reserved for the Housing Dept and general bookkeeping purposes in addition to providing accommodation above referred to. Your Sub-Committee have generally approved of these proposals and they have instructed the Manager to have specification of the work prepared and to obtain and submit tender for the carrying out of same at their next meeting.


355 RESOLVED:- That the arrangement made with the Water Department as to the rental of a portion of their main office and as to the alterations to be carried out be confirmed.


Bank Committee: November 3rd 1919


Report of the Publicity Sub-Committee:


Head Office.


It is necessary to provide a sign at the Head Office giving the name of the Bank, and the Water Department have been requested to have a notice placed on either side of the entrance to the Bank, similar to the present notice of the Water Department. It is also suggested that plates shall be exhibited on the pillars outside the Head Office giving the hours of opening the Bank. The Birmingham Guild has been requested to submit an estimate of the cost of the plates, and your Sub-Committee have left the matter to the Manager to deal with at his discretion.


358 RESOLVED:- That the report of the Publicity Sub-Committee be approved.


Bank Committee: December 1st 1919


Report of the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee:




With reference to the suggested alterations to the basement portion of Head Office, they have considered estimates for the carrying out of the work from Messrs Sapcote & Son and Mr Richard Hunt, and recommend that subject to the approval of the Water Department the estimate of Mr Richard Hunt for the carrying out of the work be accepted.


The Electric Supply Department have agreed to install electric light in the basement portion of Head Office, and your Sub-Committee have instructed the Manager to have this carried out, at an estimated cost of £65.


376 RESOLVED:- That, subject to the approval of the Water Department, the Estimate of Mr Richard Hunt for the carrying out of the necessary alterations to the basement portion of Head Office be accepted.


Bank Committee: February 2nd 1920


Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee:


Alterations, Head Office.


The following resolution of the Water Committee has been received:




Read Report of the Finance Sub-Committee,


12760. That the structural alterations proposed by the Bank Committee in the offices occupied by them in the offices of this Department, as set out in their letter of the 26th November 1919, be sanctioned, the alterations to be carried out at the expense of the Bank, and the Bank to pay for the electric lighting; provided that at the close of the Bank's tenancy the Water Committee shall have the option of taking over the office as altered, or requiring it to be reinstated at the Bank's expense.


Bank Committee: May 3rd 1920


473 The following Report of the Publicity Sub-Committee was presented:


Notice signs for Head Office.

Notice signs showing times of opening etc have now been completed and put up at the entrance to the Head Office.


Bank Committee: December 20th 1920


691 The following Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee was presented:


Electric Current to Water Department.

Arrangements have been come to with the Water Department with the concurrence of the Electric Supply Department for a payment of £10 per annum to be made to the Bank for the current obtained from the Bank's installation.


General Purposes Committee: January 10th 1921


The accommodation for the Council House Branch is inadequate for the business now transacted. In view of the fact that interest will have to be credited in all pass books at the 31st March next, necessitating the consulting of the Bank Ledgers in every case, and that 15,000 accounts are involved, it is imperative that more accommodation should be provided. The Manager cannot see any other alternative than removing the House Purchase Department downstairs, though this is bound to cause inconvenience and irritation to depositors, and to arrange continuing ledger desks running parallel to the counter for the purpose of the ordinary Savings Bank business. This is an unsatisfactory arrangement, but limited as the Bank is, the Manager is unable to suggest any alternative. The lack of reasonable accommodation is productive of mistakes, not only in book-keeping but in cash transactions, and this has been emphasised during the Christmas period, when slight irregularities occurred. The Cashiers' accommodation is barely sufficient for two cashiers, whereas space is required for three cashiers to act at certain periods. The book safe is inadequate, and there is no space for another safe.


399 RESOLVED:- That the Manager's Report be approved and the recommendations therein contained be adopted.


Bank Committee: March 21st 1921


The Committee were informed that the General Purposes Committee of the City Council had under consideration the leasing of a portion of the Pitman Hotel to H.M. Office of Works. The desirability of if possible securing the front portion of the premises on the ground floor for the purpose of a Branch Bank was pointed out.


771 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to approach the General Purposes Committee  with a view to the portion of the Pitman Hotel above referred to being retained for Bank purposes; also that he be authorised to inform that Committee that as a result of certain negotiations with the Water Department, there will probably be no necessity to reserve any portion of the Paradise Street premises for the Bank.


Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee: June 20th 1921


Furniture of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank.


A resolution of the General Purposes Committee was submitted approving of the furniture purchased by the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank being allocated to the Birmingham Municipal Bank.


Report of the Bank Committee to the City Council: October 18th 1921




The question of providing more satisfactory accommodation for the Head Office has been under consideration for some time. The very limited accommodation which had to serve for the Bank imposes hardship on the general public, in addition to being very unsatisfactory from an administrative point of view. It was ascertained that the Water Department were contemplating certain alterations consequent upon a new organisation scheme, and after conferences between the two Committees a re-arrangement of the various offices was found possible. This has resulted in suitable accommodation being provided for the Bank in the General Office of the Water Department and certain rooms adjoining. The Bank have now entered into their new premises, which have been adapted to suit the purposes of the Bank and to give that security which the Institution requires; and the Bank have relinquished their former premises, which are to be taken over by the Salvage Department.



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