Branches
 
 
Home
 
Premises - Broad Street
 
The following Minutes have been extracted from the records of the
Bank's General Committee and its Sub-Committees,
and cover the period December 1926 to May 1932.
 
The Minutes commence at the time when the Bank's Head Offices were located in its first permanent office at 6 & 8 Edmund Street, which was opened by Neville Chamberlain on July 6th 1925. Those premises were soon considered inadequate and additional accommodation was obtained at 44 Easy Row, as the Committee sought a site or building that would meet the needs of the rapidly expanding Bank. A site for the building of prestigious Head Offices was eventually identified in a proposed Civic Centre in Broad Street.
 
Premises
 
 
Branch Index
 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: December 13th 1926

 

1014 On Minutes Nos 944 and 956 (Head Office Accommodation) the General Manager reported that he had gone into the question of accommodation very thoroughly with the Chairman of the General Committee and the City Surveyor. It appeared that the latter had not been able to make any progress in the way of obtaining adjoining premises, and could see no way of increasing the present accommodation. The matter had now become serious, both in regard to the accommodation for the public and to the space required for book-keeping on the ground floor, while the problem was reaching a climax in regard to the House Purchase and Accounts Departments. The City Surveyor had been asked to give urgent attention to the matter, with a view to finding other accommodation of a suitable and lasting character.
 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 10th 1927

 

On Minutes Nos 914 and 1014 (Head Office accommodation) the Sub-Committee were informed that the Chairman of the General Committee in an interview with the City Surveyor had intimated that it would be necessary in the near future for more adequate accommodation to be secured for Head Office purposes, and subsequently a suggestion had been put forward by the City Surveyor that it might be possible to obtain accommodation in the buildings taken over by the Corporation in Easy Row, opposite Paradise Street.
 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: February 14th 1927

 

1047 On Minutes Nos 944/1031 (Head Office Accommodation) - the Sub-Committee were informed that further discussions had taken place on this matter, which was engaging the attention of the Chairman of the General Committee, but no decision had yet been reached.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: March 14th 1927

 

1072 On Minutes Nos 944/1031 (Head Office Accommodation) the General Manager reported that an application had been made for the tenancy of the void premises in Easy Row which the City Treasurer had suggested could be used by the Bank to ease the congestion. No reply to the application, however, had been received, and the Chairman of the General Committee was requested to press for sanction to be obtained.

 

1085 The Sub-Committee were informed that a conference had taken place between representatives of the Public Works and Town Planning Committee and the Bank Committee relative to the sale by auction of the freehold property situate at Nos 34, 35 and 36, High Street, known as the Metropole Restaurant, and the adjoining shop. The sale in question took place on Thursday, the 10th instant, and the property was purchased by the Birmingham Co-operative Society.

 

Bank Committee: April 25th 1927

 

2675 The Chairman made reference to certain matters on which he, together with the General Manager, had that morning conversed with the City Surveyor:

 

Premises in Easy Row.

 

The Chairman referred to the negotiations which he had conducted in regard to obtaining further accommodation for the Head Office, and it was understood that subject to the confirmation of the Staff and Accommodation Sub-Committee of the General Purposes Committee there would be no objection to the Bank having the temporary use of certain accommodation at the Broad Street Chambers, Easy Row.

 

Arrangements had been made for the Chairman and Alderman Sir David Brooks, with the General Manager and the City Surveyor to visit the offices in question, and a further report on the subject would be presented after such visit had taken place.

 

Blue Coat School Premises.

 

The Chairman made reference to the fact that a proposal would shortly be submitted to the City Council for the acquisition of the Blue Coat School, Colmore Row, and the Chairman stated that he was very much impressed with the possibilities of the site from the point of view of the future Head Office of the Municipal Bank, and in the event of the purchase of the property by the City Council, the matter should receive very careful consideration in connection with the fixing of a site for the permanent Head Office.

 

2676   RESOLVED:- That the report of the Chairman be approved and the actions therein mentioned confirmed; the matters in question being referred to the General Purposes Sub-Committee for consideration and report.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: July 11th 1927

 

The Chairman of the General Committee reported that he had taken steps with a view to arranging for accommodation suitable for Bank requirements to be provided at Broad Street Chambers, and the Staff and Accommodation Sub-Committee of the General Purposes Committee had agreed that the space formerly used as a Coal Permit Office should be placed at the disposal of the Bank on terms to be fixed by the City Treasurer and the General Manager of the Estates Department. The Chairman stated that the question had been considered of utilising the premises in question as the headquarters of the Bank, but having regard to the fact that only a temporary use could be obtained of the premises, it was felt that the Savings Bank business should continue to be conducted at the  Edmund Street premises and that the new accommodation should be used for such other purposes as the General Manager considers desirable.

 

Alderman Sir Percival Bower pointed out the necessity of obtaining premises in the near future for a new central Head Office for the Bank, having regard to the fact that the arrangements for the use of the accommodation of Broad Street Chambers was only temporary and suggested that the General Manager and Mr Frank Wilde should make enquiries with this object in view.

 

1153   RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed to make the necessary arrangements for taking over the required accommodation at Broad Street Chambers, Easy Row, and to take the necessary steps for adapting the same at as low a cost as possible.

 

1154   RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed, in conjunction with Mr Frank Wilde (the Bank's Valuer) to make enquiries with a view to securing a suitable site or premises for the provision of a permanent central Head Office of the Bank.

 

Bank Committee: July 18th 1927

 

2757 The following report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee was presented:

 

Head Office Accommodation.

 

Your Sub-Committee report that instructions have been given to the General Manager to take over the ground floor premises at Broad Street Chambers with a view to relieving the congestion at Head Office. It is proposed to transfer to these premises the Accountancy Department, the Stationery Department and the Collectors and Inspectors, and to accommodate these sections as economically as possible by the erection of suitable partitions. As reported to the Committee at their last meeting, the question of rental for these premises has been referred for consideration to the City Treasurer and the General Manager of the Estates Department.

 

Your Sub-Committee understand that the premises will only be available for a limited number of years, which leaves the question of the provision of permanent accommodation for the Head Office of the Bank still to be determined. Your Sub-Committee are of opinion that the time has arrived when adequate premises should be provided for the Bank so as to meet the present and future needs of depositors and staff and consider that such premises should be worthy of the important position attained by the Bank in the activities of the City. They have accordingly instructed the General Manager, in conjunction with Mr Frank Wilde (the Bank's Valuer) to make enquiries with this object in view.

 

With reference to the question of Head Office accommodation, the Chairman outlined the present position of the matter and referred to the possibility of suitable provision being made for a new central Head Office for the Bank in connection with the proposed scheme for the development of the suggested new civic centre. It was:

 

2758   RESOLVED:- That the proposals outlined in the foregoing Report with regard to the utilisation for Bank purposes of the premises at Broad Street Chambers be approved.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 9th 1928

 

The General Manager presented his annual report for the year ended 31st December, 1927, as follows:

 

Head Offices.

 

During the year the greater portion of the ground floor premises at Easy Row have been rented, and the House Purchase and Stationery Departments accommodated therein. Whilst relieving the congestion in the House Purchase Department, the transfer has brought no relief to the Savings Bank Department at Edmund Street. This shortage of accommodation at Edmund Street makes it impossible to deal with the business satisfactorily, and is a serious drawback. The cramped space behind the counters does not conduce to accuracy, and the crowding together of depositors destroys that degree of privacy which is expected in a Savings Bank. The patience of the depositors is being tried, and we are likely to suffer in transactions. The present arrangements of part of the business being conducted at Edmund Street and another part at Easy Row, are extravagant. For Edmund Street premises we are paying 790 per year as rental, whilst for Easy Row the rental has been assessed at 650 plus 30 for heating, etc, making  a total of 1,470. For such a yearly rental we ought to have premises adequate for our needs. The City Surveyor intimated that the Blue Coat School buildings would be available in about two years' time, and I strongly urge the Committee to secure that site for the Head Offices of the Bank, so that we may have a really permanent home. It has been urged that the Bank should be in close proximity to other civic buildings, but I do not think administrative reasons should outweigh the convenience of the public who use the Bank. The Blue Coat School is centrally situated from a Bank depositorship point of view, and I venture to assert that with such a prominent site business would increase substantially.

 

As a temporary expedient in providing relied at the counter, which will be necessary at the end of March, the screening forming the private offices might be removed, but it will mean that enquiries would have to be dealt with across the open counter.

 

1219  RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed to enquire as to the possibility of obtaining possession of premises adjoining the Head Office with a view to extension.

 

1220   RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed to make arrangements for the screening dividing the counter in the Banking Hall at the Head Office to be removed so as to afford increased counter space for deposits.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: May 14th 1928

 

On Minutes Nos 1154 and 1219, the General Manager presented the following report as to Head Office accommodation:

 

Head Office Premises.

 

The shortage of accommodation for Savings Bank business at the Head Office in Edmund Street is giving me very serious concern, and I am afraid that unless more adequate accommodation is obtained in the near future, trouble will be experienced. Particulars are attached of the number of transactions which have taken place across the counters at Head Office year by year.

 

When the Bank Committee were pressed to leave the Council House, and transferred the Head Office to Edmund Street in July 1925, they were given the impression that within twelve months possession could be secured of the adjoining motor showroom, which could then be brought into the Bank. They were also led to believe that Messrs Walker & Worsey - whose premises adjoin the Bank - were about to give up business, and that further accommodation might be obtained. In the case of the motor showroom, Messrs Goodwin have been assured by the Public Works Department that they will not be disturbed unless the Corporation proceed to widen Edmund Street, and Messrs Walker & Worsey, who have been approached on several occasions, state it is not their intention to give up business or move to other premises.

 

The congestion at the counters is manifest, and the lack of space behind for book-keeping purposes is a really serious matter. Accuracy and efficiency are not likely to be secured indefinitely under present conditions.

 

Mr Wilde has made enquiries with regard to central sites, as instructed by the General Purposes Sub-Committee, but has not found anything suitable which might be obtained at a reasonable figure. The Corporation, however, having purchased the Blue Coat School, I submit that the serious position of the Bank should be laid before the General Purposes Committee of the Council, and a definite application made for those premises, or such portion as may be adequate for our needs, to be allocated to the Bank. The City Surveyor has stated that the Blue Coat School premises will be available in less than two years; and as I understand the main structure of the building is sound, it will be more economical to the Bank to structurally alter the premises to suit their purposes, than to purchase a site elsewhere and build new Head Offices.

 

The premises in Edmund Street and Easy Row, now occupied by the Bank, would be available for use by other Corporation Departments who are also suffering from lack of accommodation, but whose requirements do not call for a large area of public space such as a Bank requires.

 

Number of Transactions at Head Office for years 1919/20 to 1927/28

 

Year

Ended

Deposits

Withdrawals

Home

Safes

House

Purchase

Water

Dustbins

Electricity

Gas

Total

1920

42,314

6,690

-

152

-

-

-

-

49,156

1921

49,356

19,470

-

6,368

-

-

-

-

75,194

1922

46,481

24,717

 

12,174

-

-

-

-

83,372

1923

53,454

27,443

191

13,356

-

-

-

-

94,444

1924

71,179

33,568

1,587

15,803

-

-

-

-

122,137

1925

84,032

40,662

2,748

11,565

-

-

-

-

139,007

1926

98,459

49,295

3,711

13,610

-

-

1

-

165,076

1927

104,694

55,650

3,525

15,856

274

4

345

237

180,585

1928

117,890

60,561

4,258

17,182

673

23

665

605

201,857

 

After consideration it was:

 

1261   RESOLVED:- That the City Surveyor be directed to submit a plan of the Blue Coat School premises to enable this Sub-Committee to consider the desirability of utilising part of such premises as Head Offices for the Bank, also to inform them when possession of the property could be secured; further that the City Treasurer be asked to intimate what charges would have to be met in respect of such part of the premises as are likely to be required for Bank purposes.

Bank Committee: May 21st 1928

 

3091 The following report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee was received:

 

Head Office Premises.

 

Your Sub-Committee are concerned with the inadequate accommodation for Savings Bank business at Edmund Street and have caused enquiries to be made as to several central sites. Nothing, however, has resulted from such enquiries and as there is no prospect of extending the present premises, your Sub-Committee feel that other steps must be taken. Having regard to the fact that the Corporation will in the near future obtain possession of the Blue Coat School your Sub-Committee have asked the City Surveyor to furnish them with a plan of the building so that they may consider the question of utilising part of such premises as Head Offices of the Bank and to inform them when possession of the property can be secured. They have also requested the City Treasurer to inform them as to the charges which would have to be met in connection with any such tenancy.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: June 11th 1928

1274 On Minutes Nos 1154/1219/1261 (Premises for Central Head Office) the Sub-Committee were informed that the City Surveyor had submitted a plan of the premises to the Staff and Accommodation Sub-Committee of the General Purposes Committee, who had under consideration the future disposal of the premises, the loan charges in respect of which amounted to 6800 per annum. Consideration of the matter was deferred pending the views of the General Purposes Committee being obtained.

General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 14th 1929

 

On Minutes Nos 1154 and 1274 (Premises for Central Head Office) the General Manager submitted the following report with regard to a tentative scheme prepared by the City Surveyor for adapting part of the Blue Coat School for the purposes of the Bank:

 

Premises for Central Head Office.

 

The City Surveyor has prepared a plan of a tentative scheme for adapting part of the Blue Coat School premises to serve the purposes of the Bank. The proposals require very careful consideration, and from a casual survey of the same by the Chairman and General Manager, in company with the City Surveyor, it is clear that some alterations are desirable.

 

The Chairman and General Manager will go further into the matter, and as soon as they are able to do so, concrete proposals will be put before the Committee.

 

1342  RESOLVED:- That Minutes Nos 1154 and 1274 be continued.

 

General Purposes Sub-Committee: April 8th 1929

 

On Minutes Nos 1154, 1274 and 1342, the Sub-Committee reviewed the circumstances with regard to the suggestion that a portion of the Blue Coat School should be utilised as the Head Office of the Bank. The Sub-Committee were reminded that the matter was at present with the Staff and Accommodation Sub-Committee of the General Purposes Committee for consideration and the view was expressed that steps should be taken to expedite a decision as to the use to which the building is to be put.

 

The Sub-Committee were reminded of the urgent necessity for providing more adequate accommodation for the Head Office premises in the near future, and the General Manager was directed to inform the Clerk to the General Purposes Committee, that, unless definite information is forthcoming as to the proposals in regard to the future use of the Blue Coat School, it is proposed to renew enquiries for suitable accommodation elsewhere. It was also:

 

1384  RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be directed to bring to the notice of this Sub-Committee any sites or buildings suitable for a Bank Head Office, and also to ascertain the possibility of acquiring property adjacent to the Edmund Street premises.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                 Continued ....  

 

                                                                                                        BACK TO THE TOP