Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank -
Depositors' Personal Ledgers
The inflexibility of the bound ledger system, with the necessity to continue transactions on continuation columns in various parts
of the ledger, resulted in the need to produce a replacement. In the case of Ledger 1 to 1000, this occurred in 1919. Percy Harold
Hill still had a balance (£11 - 14 - 8d) in Account No 1, as shown by the images below. The new ledger had a short life with
accounts being transferred to the BMB following its commencement on September 1st 1919. The ledger shows that Mr Hill had his
account transferred to Kings Heath branch (Account Number: P 236).
The inflexibility of the bound ledger system is also shown by the image below. Of the original first five accounts opened, only
accounts numbered 1 and 5 still have a balance. Although the accounts numbered 2, 3, and 4 have been closed, the pre-numbered ledger
requires the depositors' names to be entered.
Transfers to the new Bank were made over an extended period. Presumably where no response was received from a depositor, the account
was transferred to Head Office - as in the example below dated January 17th 1920. A number of accounts in the ledger are marked in
the same way, suggesting that this date was one of a number such tranches. Transfers continued to be made until March 1920.
Although the Rules of the Bank required that "no person shall be eligible to be a depositor at the bank except a person in the employ
of some other person in the city of Birmingham" there are depositors recorded in these early ledgers with addresses outside the city.
The majority of such addresses are near to Birmingham (and the depositor presumably employed in the city), but an extreme example
(right) is a Scottish address. The death of the Scottish depositor required production of a 'Confirmation-Dative' - a Scottish legal
document giving the Executrix authority to withdraw the funds of the deceased.
The majority of payments from the accounts of
deceased depositors were more straightforward. The Bank's Regulations specified that where the account balance did not exceed £100
(and Probate or Letters of Administration do not apply), the balance may be paid to any of a number of specified persons or legal
bodies. One of the persons so specified was "any person who has paid the funeral expenses of the depositor". The Regulations also
specified that the Bank "may require proof to their satisfaction of the decease of a depositor". In the example below, an Undertaker's
Receipt has been taken as proof of death and as the basis for the payment of the account balance to the depositor's widow. The ledger
notes record that Declaration and Indemnity forms have been completed - presumably the Bank's standard forms required to deal
with the account of a deceased depositor.
Two other examples illustrated below are more unusual:
- Walter Bennett, who died May 1st 1919, resided in the Birmingham Union
('the Workhouse') but nevertheless had completed a Will that specified that his twin nieces be beneficiaries of his Bank account
balance. Payment was made without the Will being proved.
- Private Spencer Harry Roberts died in France on September 14th
1918. His father refused to prove the Will of the deceased, but by Order of the Court, the Will was proved by a friend of the deceased,
and payment made to her.
The three ledgers detailed above, covering accounts numbered 1 to 2,000, are typical of those used by the BCSB, and illustrate the
coupon based system of saving specified by the legislation covering the Bank's operations. The Bank's records show that by March 1920,
21,482 accounts (with balances of £325,410 - 15 - 1d)
were transferred from the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank to the Birmingham
However, there was one ledger used by the BCSB that did not conform to the coupon based system. Accounts in this
ledger had numbers prefixed with the letter 'C', which appears to indicate that this was a special ledger used for the accounts of
Corporation staff. The ledger is illustrated separately
and shows some aspects of how the Bank worked and recorded transactions.
format of the ledgers used by the BMB incorporated some lessons learned from the system detailed above, but were still based
on inflexible bound ledgers. Illustrations for the BMB's system are provided by a ledger used at Aston Cross branch