The management of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank was conducted on behalf of Birmingham Corporation by a 'General Committee' and a 'Savings Bank Consultative Sub-Committee'. The minutes of the latter Committee have survived and the following extracts relate to discussions and decisions in the period October 1918 to July 1919. In this period, commencing with the end of the First World War, the Sub-Committee worked to ensure that a permanent bank would replace the temporary Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank. In the Minutes, reference is made to the 'Manager of the Bank' - this being J P Hilton, later General Manager of the Birmingham Municipal Bank.
MEETING HELD AT THE COUNCIL HOUSE ON OCTOBER 29th 1918
Present: The Lord Mayor (Alderman Sir David Brooks); Alderman Neville Chamberlain, in the Chair; Councillors Appleby and Hallas.
The following Minute of the General Committee was received:-
Establishment of House Purchase Section of the Savings Bank
175 RESOLVED:- That the further consideration of this matter be referred to the Consultative Sub-Committee with the request that they will report thereon to this Committee when the draft clauses referred to in Minute 174 are prepared.
The Sub-Committee also received and considered draft Clauses for inclusion in the proposed Private Bill for permanently establishing the Bank. These Clauses did not cover all the Committee's requirements, and it was
157 RESOLVED:- That Mr Alderman Neville Chamberlain and the Bank Manager be asked to interview the Parliamentary Agents in London with a view to putting before them fully the Committee's requirements and to enable them to prepare more complete Clauses for inclusion in the proposed Private Bill.
The following Report of the Manager was received:-
I have received from the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies a communication in which he expresses his willingness to approve an alteration to the Rules governing the size of the Committee on the usual procedure being carried out.
MEETING HELD AT THE COUNCIL HOUSE ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 18th 1918
Present: The Lord Mayor, in the Chair; Councillors Appleby and Hallas.
164 The following Minute of the full Committee was received:-
"RESOLVED:- That the following members of this Committee be appointed the Savings Bank Consultative Sub-Committee for the ensuing Municipal year:- the Lord Mayor; Aldermen Chamberlain and Lovsey; Councillors Appleby and Hallas."
165 RESOLVED:- That Mr Councillor Appleby be, and he is hereby elected Chairman of this Sub-Committee for the ensuing Municipal year.
With reference to Minute 157, (Clauses in proposed private Bill) the Solicitor submitted a draft Bill including Clauses regarding the Bank. The Sub-Committee proceeded to discuss these, which were in some respects inadequate to meet the requirements of the Committee.
167 RESOLVED:- That the Solicitor, in conference with the City Treasurer be requested to make such alterations as are necessary to meet the needs of the Committee for establishing a Savings and Housing Bank, and that when ready a further meeting of this Sub-Committee be called to discuss same.
MEETING HELD AT THE COUNCIL HOUSE ON NOVEMBER 29th 1918
Present: The Right Hon. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Appleby in the Chair, Alderman Chamberlain
With reference to Minute 167 the Solicitor submitted further draft Clauses for the inclusion in the proposed private Bill. He also read a letter from Counsel stating that in his (Counsel's) opinion, the Savings Bank "cannot practically be affected by incorporation of Acts and that it must be by enactment and Scheduled Regulations". A copy of the Regulations recently drawn up by the Manager had been submitted to Counsel, which he was checking with the Savings Bank Acts. The Committee then proceeded to consider the proposed Clauses. These were found to still require some alterations and, having regard to the fact that the final draft of the proposed Bill had to be ready for submission to the Council at their Meeting on the 10th December, there was no time for revised clauses to be submitted to a further meeting of this Sub-Committee. The Committee were informed that a Parliamentary Sub-Committee was being constituted to consider and approve the final draft Bill for submission to the Council and the Committee were asked to appoint representatives to serve on this Sub-Committee.
172 RESOLVED:- That Alderman Chamberlain and Councillor Appleby be appointed to represent the Savings Bank Committee on the Parliamentary Sub-Committee and that they be authorised to approve the final draft of the Clauses relating to the Bank, and that the General Committee be recommended to confirm this action.
173 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be requested to visit Bolton for the purpose of obtaining information with regard to the system in existence for house purchase.
MEETING HELD AT THE COUNCIL HOUSE ON DECEMBER 19th 1918
Present: Alderman Neville Chamberlain, in the Chair; Alderman Lovsey
175 With reference to Minute 172, the following report of Alderman Chamberlain and Councillor Appleby was received:-
In accordance with Minute 172, we have to report that we attended a meeting of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on the 3rd December, when a final draft of the proposed Corporation Bill was settled for submission to the City Council on the 10th instant.
The Bill has now been approved by the Council in the form attached and deposited in both Houses of Parliament in accordance with Standing Orders.
176 On Minute 173, the Manager reported that he had visited Bolton. He was not in a position to make a formal report at this Meeting of the Sub-Committee, but would do so at the next Meeting.
The Manager reported that he had received a communication from the Local Fuel Overseer (Mr H H Humphries) stating that he would soon be vacating certain offices in Corporation Street (late Pitman Hotel) and offering them as suitable for Bank premises.
179 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be requested to send a communication to the General Purposes Committee, also to the Estates Department asking that the Savings Bank Department may be given the first refusal of these offices when they are vacant.
(In April 1919 a Special Sub-Committee visited Manchester & Salford Savings Bank on a fact finding mission.)
SPECIAL MEETING HELD AT THE COUNCIL HOUSE ON MONDAY, JUNE 23rd 1919
Present: Councillor Appleby: In the Chair.Aldermen Chamberlain and Lovsey.
The Sub-Committee had before them the question of the establishment of Branch Banks in the City and considered the following Report:-
Your Committee report that numerous inquiries have been instituted as to premises for Branch Banks during the past fortnight, and they find that a difficulty presents itself in dealing with landlords or their agents by reason of the fact that a decision cannot be given on behalf of the Bank in sufficient time to suit the landlord or his agent. There is such a demand for premises or accommodation in Public Buildings that the owners will not wait more than a day or two for a decision. Your Committee are aware of several instances of suitable premises, in most satisfactory positions, having been sold or let within a few days of the inquiries being made. To such an extent has this policy proceeded, and is still proceeding that your Committee came to the conclusion that as regards certain premises action should be taken, in the interests of the new Bank, to secure an option. These premises and the action taken is set out below:-
1. Shop front, 299 Monument Road, Ladywood. Corner of Icknield Port Road. Tram stop at door.
16/- a week inclusive.
2. Shop front, 50 Coventry Road, Hay Mills. Close to Kings Road.
2/6d a week as a retaining payment pending decision.
3. Shop and dwelling house, 117 Great Lister Street.
20/- per week and rates. Present tenant of dwelling house to pay 12/- per week.
4. Shop front, 163 Stratford Road, Sparkbrook, opposite Farm Road.
5/- per week as a retaining payment pending decision.
Your Committee fully realise the financial position of the Bank as a new institution, but they also realise the abnormal conditions prevailing as regards premises and accommodation. In many cases your Committee is faced with the fact that a tenancy cannot be arranged and that owners will only sell. Your Committee have given serious consideration to the position in which the new Bank is placed at its commencement, and they are of opinion that the facts might well be placed before the Trustees of the Common Good Fund with a view to such Fund granting a loan to assist the Bank at the outset.
Your Committee find there is very little accommodation of a suitable character in premises owned by the Corporation, and that while suitable accommodation can be obtained at several well-known Institutes etc., it is difficult to fix upon days and hours to dovetail in with the general scheme of working two Branch offices by one staff. While your Committee are not unfavourable to using Institutes etc., for a period as a testing ground they are of opinion that many advantages lie with independent premises. Your Committee are of opinion that in certain districts there is no alternative but to engage a room at Institutes etc., owing to the dearth of other premises.
A synopsis is attached hereto of 1. suitable premises which it may be possible to obtain, 2. suitable accommodation in buildings owned by the Corporation, 3. suitable accommodation in Institutes etc., and 4. premises inspected and found unsuitable for one reason or another.
Your Committee feel that this question of premises is one which can only be dealt with as conditions are to-day by giving your Committee power to act for you or by convening emergency meetings of the full Committee, and they are of opinion that the matter under the circumstances might be entrusted to them.
Your Committee are informed that considerable difficulty is being experienced in obtaining printed books and forms in a reasonable time, and as this is a serious matter to the new Bank your Committee feel that the Manager should now proceed with the preparation of the necessary books, forms and literature so that at the earliest possible date orders may be placed therefor. In this connection your Committee feel that the earlier the new Bank can open its doors after the August holidays the better it will be, because there is no holiday break between August and Christmas, and the experience of Savings Banks generally is that this period is the most stable in the matter of savings. It is also felt that the sooner the new Bank can open it will be to its advantage from the point of view of the Housing Department.
1. Premises suitable for the purpose.
1. Bank and dwelling house, Coventry Road, Small Heath.
At corner of Jenkins Street. Rated at £50 gross and £42-10-0 rateable for the Bank, and £30 gross and £25-10-0 rateable for the house. Owner not prepared to let. Sale price £1600, freehold.
2. Shop in Lozells Road.
Corner of Barker Street, Villa Cross. Premises now used for storage of waste paper but will be given up very soon.
2. Accommodation of a suitable character in buildings used by the Corporation.
1. Handsworth Council House.
Room at front to the extreme right of the building. Occasionally used as a private room by Surveyor and also used as a vestry for Cannon Street Church who hold services on Sunday in room above.
2. Harborne Public Library.
Room on ground floor used from 2 to 3 as a Relief office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and by Bible Association on Sundays.
3. Accommodation of a suitable character in Institutes, etc.
1. Selly Oak and Bournbrook Institute.
No. 3 room to the right of entrance; partially used by Workers' Union and others. Terms £19 per annum.
2.Northfield Village Institute.
No. 3 room to the right of entrance; occasionally used by A.S.E. Branch and other Trades Unions. Terms £19 per annum.
3. Kings Heath & Moseley Institute.
No. 5 room to the right of entrance, now used as a cloak room for private school but would be given up. Rental £40 per annum including furniture, etc., and exclusive right.
4. Public Hall, Acocks Green.
Room to the right; used for a private dancing class, but would be given up. Premises are at the junction of four roads and in close proximity to Station.
5. Moseley & Balsall Heath Institute.
Room to the left of entrance; used as a cloak room. Would depend entirely on hours required dovetailing in with other lettings.
6. Bournville Institute, Linden Road.
Messrs Cadbury Bros., are considering whether accommodation can be found.
4. Unsuitable premises and accommodation.
1. Shop 435 Moseley Road.
Now used as a store room. Would require repairs. Owner is not prepared to let to another tenant, but is desirous of selling 435 and 437 together.
2.Sparkhill Council House.
The Rate Office is the only room on ground floor with sufficient privacy which is available on days and hours which would not clash with Bank, but accommodation for public is very limited. The rest of the ground floor is taken up by Government and Corporation Departments.
3. Aston Council House.
Two rooms empty upstairs. None on ground floor void. Rate office is a good office. Building is out of the way for a Branch Bank.
4. Perry Barr Institute.
Room upstairs empty, but staircase is not a convenient one, and the Institute is at the extreme of the district.
5. Albert Hall, Aston.
Room on ground floor used for certain hours and on certain days as a Relief Office.
6. Vestry Hall, Islington Row.
Room on ground floor used as a ladies dressing room, and by Registrar on certain days and during certain hours. Room has a bad approach and the building is not so convenient for a Branch Bank. Rate Collector has offices here also.
7. Old Booking Hall, Bordesley.
Premises are in a bad state of repair. Great Western Railway are prepared to let at £80 a year plus rates with power of re-entry on 28 days' notice.
8. Cotteridge Public Library, Bournville Lane.
Two rooms upstairs empty. Disadvantage in being upstairs.
190 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to make enquiries with reference to the vacant land in Golden Hillock Road as a possible site for a Branch Bank.
191 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to make further enquiries with reference to the suitability of the Public House at the corner of Icknield Street for use as a Branch Bank.
SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY, JUNE 26th 1919
Present: The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor (Alderman Sir David Brooks, GBE)
Councillor Appleby in the Chair. Aldermen Chamberlain and Lovsey.
The Sub-Committee raised the question of engaging rooms for branch bank purposes.
193 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be authorised to engage a room on the ground floor of the Harborne Public Library and a room on the ground floor of the Handsworth Council House.
194 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be authorised to arrange for a tenancy until the 30th September, with option to renew at a rental of £45 per annum, of the shop at Lozells Road, Villa Cross.
195 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be authorised to secure an option of a tenancy of the shop No. 145 Lichfield Road for one month at 7/6 per week if possible in order that he may view premises and report to this Sub-Committee.
196 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be authorised to secure a room in each of the undermentioned buildings
Public Hall, Acocks Green.
Moseley and Balsall Heath Institute.
Kings Heath and Moseley Institute, or reduced terms for part occupation.
Selly Oak Institute, room other than the one at present occupied to be secured until 30th September with option to remain at a rental £19 per annum.
Northfield Institute room to be secured until September 30th with option to renew at a rental of £19 per annum.
197 The following premises were considered unsuitable for various reasons:-
Old Booking Hall, Bordesley Green.
Albert Hall, Aston.
Victoria Hall, Aston.
Vestry Hall, Islington Row.
Aston Council House.
Sparkhill Council House.
Perry Barr Institute.
Public Library, Bournville Lane.
198 RESOLVED:- That this Sub-Committee cannot entertain the purchase of the shop at 435 Moseley Road.
199 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to consider Bank and dwelling house, Coventry Road and to report upon them at a subsequent meeting in conjunction with his report on possible premises in Golden Hillock Road.
200 RESOLVED:- That the question of the use of Bournville Institute, Linden Road, be deferred pending letter from Councillor W A Cadbury and conference with Mr W Barrow.
With regard to premises at 117 Great Lister Street:
201 RESOLVED:- That the present tenant be required to either pay 10/- per week together with his proportion of the rates for the use of the living accommodation and large meeting room with option to let the latter as unfurnished apartments, or to pay 12/- per week for living accommodation only; and that if the tenant accepts the latter alternative the Manager be authorised to let the large meeting room as unfurnished apartments.