Following the 1933 opening of the Bank's new Head Office in Broad Street, by HRH The Prince George, a Safe Deposit facility became
available for both the BMB's customers and others. The Bank's 1934 Annual Report stated:
The introduction of a Safe Deposit at
the new Head Offices of the Bank is a special feature and should prove a boon to depositors and others who have no satisfactory accommodation
in their homes for the safe keeping of deeds, documents and private papers. The equipment of the Safe Deposit was entrusted to Messrs
Chubb and Son's Lock and Safe Company, Limited, of Wolverhampton, whose reputation in such work is renowned. The most up-to-date system
has been introduced, with the result that the Safe Deposit is the finest of its character in the provinces. A cordial invitation is
extended to depositors and others to take advantage of the facilities now provided. Safes can be rented at moderate rentals varying
from 5s to £1 per annum, according to size.
Photographs of the Safe Deposit show the
following aspects of the installation:
original 1933 layout provided 4,640 individual safes on the four walls. The Bank's 1935 Annual Report stated that .... Over 1,000
safes have been taken at the very low rentals fixed, but there are more available. We therefore invite all those interested to call
and inspect the Safe Deposit and take advantage of the exceptional facilities offered.
These 4,640 safes were of four different
sizes (designated A, B, C, D) that were split as follows:
The number of safes rented gradually grew
over the next few years until the commencement of the Second World War provided a boost in demand that saw all the safes taken up.
This position was reflected in the following paragraph in the Bank's 1945 Annual Report:
One of the most gratifying services
the Bank has rendered is the provision of Safe Deposit facilities at the Head Office. With the advent of war the advantages of this
provision were recognised, and all the accommodation, consisting of 4,640 safes, was quickly taken up. We have, probably, the most
up-to-date Safe Deposit in the country. For a small annual charge depositors can rent a safe in which to keep their deeds, documents,
etc., with the knowledge that they alone (or their properly accredited representatives) can gain access to the safe. Freedom from
anxiety, ever present when such documents are kept in the house, is a great relief. We have a long waiting list of applicants for
safes, and it is our intention to enlarge the accommodation as early as circumstances permit.
The end of the War, and the corresponding
relaxation of building restrictions, were the circumstances that enabled the Bank to place a contract in 1946 to extend the safe deposit
installation. An additional 5,888 safes were installed in 1947 (at a cost of £16,780) in eight blocks located across the floor of
the Safe Deposit. Although the original configuration of 4,640 safes had contained four different sizes, the extra 5,888 only provided
three of these sizes: A, B and D. Each of the eight new blocks contained 736 safes, with 368 on each side of the block. The 5,888
safes were split:
The final configuration was therefore:
In addition to the Safe
Deposit service, a limited Safe Custody
facility was also provided.
A note of the general conditions relating to the rental of
a safe were compiled by the Bank in August 1964 - see below.