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Birmingham Savings Bank
1827 - 1863
 
Auditors
 
Special Committees
[1] Auditors
 
A major part of the Bank's Annual Report was the Auditors' Report. However, the Auditors were not Accountants who were employed by an independent firm - they were part of the Bank's management, often members of the Management Committee. Except for 1841 and 1863 (when only two Auditors were named), each Auditors' Report was the work of three men. Altogether, eight men acted as an Auditor during the Bank's 37 years of existence:
 
J F Ledsam (35 years): 1827 to 1861
P M Twells (23 years): 1827 to 1840 and 1842 to 1850
Edward Lucas (13 years): 1851 to 1863
J W Crompton (11 years): 1834 to 1844
Samuel Beale (11 years): 1845 to 1855
George Nicholls (7 years): 1827 to 1833
Abel Peyton (7 years): 1856 to 1862
Jos. T Horton (2 years): 1862 & 1863
 
No direct reference is made in the Annual Reports to the exact role of the Auditors, but at the Annual General Meeting held on January 13th 1835, a Resolution was passed which suggests that they may have exercised an internal inspection and supervision function:
That this Meeting is happy to record its acknowledgement that the establishment of this Institution was, in a great measure, owing to the valuable suggestions and exertions of George Nicholls, Esq. who, up to the time of his leaving Birmingham, to occupy an important official situation as a Commissioner of the Poor Laws, continued to afford his services as an Auditor, and an unremitting general superintendence over the whole management; and further it desires, on behalf of the depositors, to whose advantage and interest he was always much devoted, that he will accept the thanks of this Annual General Meeting.
 
The function of an external auditor was provided, to a limited extent, from 1852, by the firm of Kettle, Daniell, and Carter - Professional Accountants of 27 Waterloo Street, Birmingham. Following a number of defalcations committed at other savings banks, the Government encouraged banks to make an annual comparison of depositors' passbooks with the corresponding ledger. The Birmingham Savings Bank employed Kettle, Daniell, and Carter to perform this function, independently of the Bank's staff, during December (a peak period when depositors brought in their passbook to have the capitalised interest entered), and the Annual Reports provided the appropriate statistics, the final ones being reported on January 13th 1863. This stated that 7,718 (out of 31,833 open accounts) passbooks were examined, their balances of 267,984 representing 47% of total balances.
 
[2] Special Committees
 
During the final twelve years of the Bank's existence, a number of attempts were made by the Government to introduce a Bill into Parliament upon the subject of Savings Banks. The Birmingham Savings Bank passed Resolutions on 10 occasions to appoint a Committee "to watch such Bill, and take such steps as my be considered necessary". The dates of those Resolutions, and the Members of the Committees were as follows:
14/1/1851 13/1/1852 11/1/1853 13/01/1857 12/1/1858
         
William Lucy J F Ledsam J F Ledsam J F Ledsam J F Ledsam
J H Beilby Abel Peyton Abel Peyton Abel Peyton Abel Peyton
William James J A Campbell J A Campbell J A Campbell J A Campbell
J B Hebbert J H Beilby J H Beilby J H Beilby H A Fry
    Edward Lucas Edward Lucas Edward Lucas
11/1/1859 10/1/1860 8/1/1861 14/1/1862 13/1/1863
         
J F Ledsam J F Ledsam J F Ledsam J F Ledsam Abel Peyton
Abel Peyton Abel Peyton Abel Peyton Abel Peyton J A Campbell
J A Campbell J A Campbell J A Campbell J A Campbell Edward Lucas
H A Fry H A Fry H A Fry H A Fry H A Fry
Edward Lucas Edward Lucas Edward Lucas Edward Lucas J T Horton
A Report of the "Savings Bank Bill" Committee was reproduced in the Annual Report dated January 10th 1854:
 
The Committee appointed to watch the progress of the expected Savings Bank Bill have to report that such Bill was introduced into Parliament, having for its main feature to give the guarantee of Government to the Depositors, and enabling Government, for its own security, to appoint Receivers and Auditors at the various Banks. Your Committee, however, found that these provisions were accompanied by others so obstructive a character, that, in common with most other Savings Banks, they thought it necessary to oppose the passing of the Bill in its then shape; they therefore embodied in a petition presented to the House of Commons their objections, as well as certain suggestions for its amendment, and they have much pleasure in stating that their representations, supported as they were by Mr Geach and other Members, were effective in removing the more objectionable clauses; and though some difficulties exist, which occasioned the withdrawal of the Bill during last Session, it is probable that it will be speedily re-introduced, and become law at no distant period.
 
James A Campbell
Edward Lucas
Abel Peyton
 
The views expressed in this Report must have been similar to those felt by the Managers and Trustees in 1863 when they decided to close the Bank rather than accept the provisions of the Savings Banks Act of that year.
 
At the AGM of January 9th 1849, it was moved by Mr Edward Bembridge, seconded by Mr J H Beilby, and
Resolved - That a Committee be appointed for the purpose of taking measures for obtaining a Freehold Site for the erection of suitable Offices, and that they be requested to report to a General Meeting, to be called by the Secretary; and that such Committee consist of the following Gentlemen:
Wm James, Esq, High Bailiff         R T Cadbury, Esq          Mr Edward Bembridge          Mr J H Beilby     Mr Joseph James
 
The following Report was appended to the notes of the Annual General Meeting held on January 8th 1850:
 
REPORT OF THE BUILDING COMMITTEE
The Committee appointed at the last Annual Meeting for the purpose of obtaining a Freehold Site for the erection of suitable Officers in conformity with their instructions, took measures for that purpose, and with the approbation of a Special Meeting of Trustees and Managers, held on the 19th of June last, purchased Land and two Houses, in Cannon Street, for the sum of 1,500, and being re-appointed a Building Committee, obtained plans for the New Building, which were submitted to another General Meeting, held on the 10th of September, when the plans of Mr Deakin were approved, and a contract has since been entered into with Messrs Hardwick and Son for the erection of Offices for the Bank, and two Houses at the front, for the sum of 2,573. 6s.; and your Committee hope that the New Offices will be ready for occupation at Michaelmas next.
 
A  Special Committee (a "Managing Committee") was appointed by a Resolution passed at the last Annual General Meeting of the Bank, which was held on January 26th 1864 at the Bank's premises in Cannon Street:
 
Resolved - That the following Gentlemen do compose the Managing Committee for the completion of the transfer to the Post Office, including compensation to Officers, and for all necessary business excepting the sale of the premises:
 
H J Adkins
E Bembridge
B H Cadbury
J A Campbell
P H Denman
H A Fry
J T Horton
Thomas Jones
E Lucas
James Moilliet
R Parry
Abel Peyton
T A Proud
Rev H H Rose
T Watts
J C Woodhill
 
The  Auditors' Report included in the same AGM contained the following paragraph:
 
On the 4th January, the General Committee appointed a Sub-Committee, consisting of Messrs Lucas, Campbell, and Cadbury, to offer to the Postmaster-General the Freehold Buildings of the Bank at the cost price of 4,525, and the Fixtures at a valuation, subject to the confirmation of the Annual General Meeting. They have not yet received any official acceptance of their offer, but they have reason to believe that it will be accepted; and it will, therefore, be desirable that such Sub-Committee be re-appointed to carry out such sale, and to complete the arrangements that may be necessary, and that the present Meeting should approve of such offer.
 
The AGM Resolved:
That Messrs Lucas, Campbell, and B H Cadbury be authorised by this Meeting to confirm the Sale of the Savings Bank property, and to carry into effect the same as soon as they receive official communication from the Postmaster-General, and report thereon to an adjourned Meeting of Trustees and Managers.
 
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Birmingham Savings Bank