Horse Fair
Premises - Horse Fair
The following Minutes have been extracted from the records
of the Bank's General Committee and its Sub-Committees.
The Minutes cover the period from May 1926 to December 1936.

Report of General Manager to General Purposes Sub-Committee: October 8th 1923


Gooch Street Premises.


My attention has been drawn to property situate at Nos 322 and 324 Gooch Street. The former consists of a shop with frontage of 10' 4", and depth of 17' 3". living room at rear and two bedrooms. No 324 has similar accommodation with the addition of a hairdresser's saloon partly fixed on the yard of No 324. Taken all together, there is a frontage to Gooch Street of 22' 0".


Possession of No 322 can be obtained at once, but to obtain possession of No 324 payment would have to be made to the hairdresser. The property is leasehold, with 35 years to run, and the Agent for the property, Mr G F Fisher, states that he could arrange for 14, 21, or even 28 years on terms to be decided upon.


Mr Wilde has, at my request, inspected the property which is leasehold. While the premises are in one of the best market positions, the nature of the buildings and the limited accommodation make it doubtful whether the premises could be adapted to our requirements. In any case it would not be desirable to consider the proposition unless the freehold could be acquired.


411    RESOLVED:- That the General Manager, in consultation with Mr Wilde be authorised to make further enquiries regarding suitable premises in Gooch Street.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 14th 1924


453     On Minute No 411 (premises in Gooch Street), the Sub-Committee considered the proposal to establish a bank in this thoroughfare in the light of the suggestion made at the last meeting of the City Council, that a branch should be set up in the vicinity of the Horse Fair.


The Sub-Committee were of opinion that the area between Broad Street and Moseley Road, could only be adequately served by the establishment of two branches, one of which should be located in Gooch Street. They felt that the correct situation of the other branch was problematical, but the General Manager was requested to make enquiries regarding suitable premises in Broad Street, it being considered that a favourable site would be between St Martin's Lane and Ryland Street.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: October 14th 1924


582    On Minute No 453 (Broad Street Premises) the General Manager reported that the premises situate at 172 Broad Street were for sale. The property was leasehold having 62 years unexpired and a ground rent of 50 per annum. The owner was asking the sum of 2,500 for the property and Messrs Harris & Son, Dyers and Cleaners, who had a 13 years' lease thereof, were asking the sum of 1,000 for their interest.


It was considered that the terms referred to were too high and the General Manager was directed to continue enquiries with a view to suitable premises being secured on more favourable terms.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: June 8th 1925


On Minute No 411 (premises in Gooch Street) the General Manager reported that his attention had been called to Property Nos 296 & 298, Gooch Street, near the corner of Highgate Street.


744     RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be instructed to make further enquiries with reference to the property in question.


On Minutes Nos 453 & 582 (Broad Street area) it was:


745    RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be directed to continue his enquiries regarding premises occupied by the Ministry of Health.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: July 13th 1925


763     On Minutes Nos 411 and 744 (premises in Gooch Street) the General Manager reported that Mr Wilde had been instructed on directions from Councillor Appleby to negotiate for the purchase of freehold property Nod 298 Gooch Street, at a figure not exceeding 1,500, as it was then understood that these premises were still in the market. Mr Wilde, however, had that day reported that the premises had been let. Further enquiries were, however, being made.


764    On Minutes Nos 453 and 745 (Broad Street Area) the Sub-Committee were informed that on the directions of the Chairman of the Full Committee Mr Wilde had been instructed to make enquiries regarding property Nod 173 and 173a Broad Street. Enquiries had also been made regarding property situate at the corner of Islington Row and Broad Street, but it was ascertained that the same had already been sold.



General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 11th 1926


840     On Minutes Nos 744/763 the General Manager was directed to continue his efforts to secure suitable premises in Gooch Street and also in the Horse Fair.


841    On Minutes Nos 453/745 the Sub-Committee were informed that premises had come to notice for sale or lease in Broad Street, but the terms were so unsuitable that no further steps had been taken in the matter.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: April 12th 1926


905    On Minute No 840 (premises for Gooch Street area) the General Manager reported that nothing further had transpired in connection with premises nos 224-226 Gooch Street, but enquiries were now being made with regard to property at the corner of Hope Street and Gooch Street. The Minute was continued.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: May 10th 1926


930 On Minute No 744 (Premises in Gooch Street and Horse Fair) the General Manager reported that Mr Wilde had been instructed to report with regard to premises at the corner of Gooch Street and Hope Street.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: May 31st 1926


949 On Minutes Nos 744/763/905 (premises in Gooch Street and Horsefair) a General Manager reported that enquiries were proceeding.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: July 12th 1926


970 On Minute No 905 - the Sub-Committee were informed that Aldermen Lovsey and Stephens with the General Manager had visited the Gooch Street and Bristol Street areas and had come to the conclusion that it was desirable for Branches to be established in both districts. Enquiries were directed to be made with reference to property at the corner of Hope Street and Gooch Street, and further enquiries regarding 226-228 Gooch Street which the late Chairman had had in hand.


Bank Committee: October 4th 1926


The General Manager drew attention to property which was for sale at No 86a Bristol Street and also at No 80, Bristol Street. With regard to the former, the Committee were satisfied that the position of the premises was not a suitable one for Bank requirements, but they were of opinion that further enquiries should be made with regard to No 80 Bristol Street.


2449   RESOLVED:- That with regard to No 86a Bristol Street, no further action be taken and that the General Manager be directed, in reference to No 80 Bristol Street, to instruct Mr Wilde to furnish a full report together with his valuation of the property excluding any consideration of Goodwill.


Bank Committee: October 18th 1926


2473 The following report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee was presented:


Property, 80, Bristol Street.


Your Committee at their meeting on the 4th instant instructed Mr Frank Wilde to furnish a report and valuation (excluding the consideration of goodwill) of the property No 80 Bristol Street, which was advertised to be sold by auction on the 18th instant.


Your Sub-Committee have considered Mr Wilde's report, his valuation of the property disregarding the question of goodwill being 2,000. Your Sub-Committee carefully considered what, in their opinion, would be the highest amount the Bank would be justified in bidding for the property, including the goodwill, and they came to the conclusion that Mr Wilde should be authorised to attend the auction with authority to go up to 2,500, and they recommend your Committee to give him the requisite authority accordingly.


2477  RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be directed to instruct Mr Frank Wilde to attend the sale of the property No 80 Bristol Street, with authority to bid a maximum sum of 2500 for the premises.


Bank Committee: November 15th 1926


On Minutes Nos 2449 and 2477 (Property - 80 Bristol Street) the Committee were informed that Mr Frank Wilde had attended the sale by auction of this property with authority to bid up to 2500, but the sale had been affected at 3,300.


2506   RESOLVED:- That Minutes Nos 2449 and 2477 be discharged.


Bank Committee: December 20th 1926


2536   A question was raised as to the securing of premises in the Bristol Street area and the General Manager was instructed to make enquiries with regard to the building occupied by the YMCA in Bristol Street.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: February 14th 1927


On Minute No 1034, the General Manager presented the following report with reference to the vacant land in Bristol Street mentioned by Councillor Stephens at the last meeting:


re Sites in Bristol Street


Enquiries have been made at the Public Works Department with reference to the land which belongs to them between Bristol Street and Bellbarn Road, and which was mentioned by Councillor Stephens. The pieces of land in question consist of two areas - one of 211 square yards, with a frontage of 15yds. 2ft. 3ins. to Bristol Street, and the other 440 square yards with a frontage of 33 yds. to Bristol Street.


I understand that the price paid for these areas was 3. 8. -d. per sq. yd., and that in the event of the Trustees of the Gooch Estate giving their sanction to the erection of a building, the Corporation would not be prepared to grant a building lease of more than 14 years.


The areas only extend for a depth of 36 ft. and 40 ft. respectively from Bristol Street. The remainder of the land between the back of the land and Bellbarn Road still belongs to the Gooch Estate.


Councillor Stephens was apparently under the impression that the Public Works Department had bought the whole of the land right through from Bristol Street to Bellbarn Road, and on being informed that this was not so he said that he did not consider it was worth while entertaining the matter as the whole of the two areas bought by the Public Works would be wiped out under the widening scheme.


1051  RESOLVED:- That no action be taken with regard to acquiring either of the sites in Bristol Street above-mentioned.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: April 11th 1927


1103 The General Manager called the attention of the Sub-Committee to certain property in Bristol Street, the lease of which would shortly expire. He had been informed as to the terms offered to the existing tenants for the renewal of the leases, but as the same were excessive, it was agreed that no action should be taken on behalf of the Bank.


Bank Committee: April 25th 1927


The General Manager stated that his attention had been called to premises situate at No 88 Bristol Street, vacant possession of which was offered, and it appeared that the premises in question were in a favourable situation for Bank purposes.


2674  RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be directed to make further enquiries with regard to the terms on which possession of the premises in question could be secured, reporting thereon to the next meeting of the General Purposes Sub-Committee.


General Purposes Sub-Committee: May 9th 1927


The following communication from the General Committee was received with reference to premises, No 88 Bristol Street:


The General Manager stated that his attention had been called to premises situate at No 88 Bristol Street, vacant possession of which was offered, and it appeared that the premises in question were in a favourable situation for Bank purposes.


2674 - Resolved: That the General Manager be directed to make further enquiries with regard to the terms on which possession of the premises in question could be secured reporting thereon to the next meeting of the General Purposes Sub-Committee.


The General Manager presented the following report with reference to premises in the Horse Fair:


"Stafford Arms", Horse Fair.


It has been known for some time that there was a possibility of these premises - which are owned by Messrs Mitchells & Butlers - coming into the market, and with a view to the Bank being favourably considered in the connection with the purchase of same, Mr Frank Wilde has made enquiries as to the possibility of the Bank acquiring the same. The licence of the "Stafford Arms" is to be transferred to a "house" in course of erection opposite Jockey Road on the borders of Sutton Coldfield, and this new "house" is expected to be completed in about eight months' time.


The suggestion was made that the Bank should be granted an option to purchase these premises, but Messrs Mitchells & Butlers are not prepared to go so far. They are, however, very sympathetic to our wishes, and have promised to do nothing in the way of disposing of the property without first communicating with Mr Wilde.


The Chairman of the General Purposes Committee and myself have had an interview with Mr Wilde, and suggested that he should endeavour to purchase the property subject to possession within twelve months' time, and it is on these lines that Mr Wilde is now proceeding. When a full report is received as to accommodation, area and price, the matter will be dealt with further.


The approval of the Committee to the action taken by the General Manager is asked for.


1119   RESOLVED:- That the foregoing report be approved, and the action taken in instructing Mr Frank Wilde to negotiate for the purchase of the property known as "The Stafford Arms", in the Horse Fair, be confirmed.

Bank Committee: May 16th 1927


36 and 38 Bristol Street.


The General Manager reported that in accordance with instructions given by the General Purposes Sub-Committee, Mr Frank Wilde had continued his negotiations with Messrs Mitchells & Butlers Limited regarding purchase of the above premises. They were placed on firm offer at 3,000, but after discussion the price was ultimately reduced to 2,500 and a letter had been sent confirming that figure.


The property, which is freehold, comprises the following:


No 36, Bristol Street. Shop and dwelling house let at 50 per annum with a frontage of 14 ft 9 ins. The tenant is protected by the Rent Restrictions Act.


No 38, Bristol Street. The "Stafford Arms" of which vacant possession would be obtained on completion in about twelve months' time, has a frontage of 15 ft 9 ins.


The shopping at rear was let in various small takes at the time the property was sold in 1922, but it would appear that this, or a part of it, is now let on a three months' tenancy at a rental of 12 per annum.


The whole of the property with a frontage of 34 feet 6 ins (including passage in centre) and an average depth of 155 ft, contains an area of 596 square yards or thereabouts.


2704   RESOLVED:- That subject to the approval of the City Council, and on the understanding that vacant possession of the licensed premises known as "the Stafford Arms" is given within a period of 12 months, the Town Clerk be instructed to complete the purchase of property Nos 36 and 38, Bristol Street, at the sum of 2,500, and to enter into any necessary agreements, affixing the Corporate Seal thereto.


2704a RESOLVED:- That no further action be taken with regard to property No 88 Bristol Street.
Continued ....
From 1923, the Bank made repeated attempts to establish branches in the densely populated, inner city area to the south and southwest of the Town Hall. Much of this area was predominated by back-to-back houses on the extensive Gooch Estate. The main thoroughfares in this area (Sherlock Street; Bristol Street; Broad Street) were preferred sites for branches. Sherlock Street branch was opened in January 1929 and the nearby Horse Fair branch opened in Bristol Street (site of Birmingham's  former horse fair) in May 1930. The Bank's 1933 Head Office was opened in Broad Street after this part of the area was cleared to create a Civic Centre. It was not until May 1927 that premises at 36 Bristol Street were acquired, but another three years passed before the Lord Mayor officially opened the branch. The architect for the project was W Norman Twist, who was also involved in the design of Birmingham's Hall of Memory