Staff of the
Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank:
September 1916 to November 1917
 
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Staff
When J P Hilton was appointed Manager of Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank (BCSB) on September 18th 1916, he became the nascent Bank's first employee. With the new Bank then commencing business a few days later (September 29th) it soon became essential to recruit staff to administer the labour intensive Coupon Savings Scheme. In the Bank's initial periods of operation, clerical and other support was supplied by the City Council's Treasurer's Department, but a number of staff were recruited as Bank employees.
 
On the day prior to the Bank commencing, the Management Committee discussed the question of an assistant to Mr Hilton. The Treasurer reported that he had interviewed a Mr W S Saull who was District Manager of the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society in West Bromwich, and it was resolved that he be engaged at a salary of 160 per year, subject to the Treasurer being satisfied with his credentials. The Treasurer being satisfied, Mr Saull was appointed to commence his regular duties from October 10th, but prior to that date he assisted with the Bank's propaganda work in his spare time. Mr Saull's salary was increased to 175 on February 1st 1917.
 
Much of the Bank's early work was the promotion of its War Savings Scheme, mainly by addressing groups of employees at their place of work. At the same Management Committee meeting it was also resolved to appoint a Mr A J Smith, on a temporary (four weeks) basis at a salary of 2. 2. 0. per week, to "address meetings and carry out propaganda work under the direction of the Manager". A Charles Keatley and a Mr Griffiths (who may have been temporarily seconded from the Treasurer's Department) were appointed to assist A J Smith - date unknown, although the three officers were credited in late November 1916 with having paid 335 visits to firms in connection with their propaganda work.
 
At about the same time as appointing A J Smith, the Treasurer also appointed a Miss E Hadley as a Shorthand Typist at a salary of 80 per annum, and he transferred Miss Dora Blackwell from his own Department to act as Ledger Clerk; Miss Blackwell's commencing salary was 1. 6. 0. per week, the amount she was receiving in the Treasurer's Department.
 
Despite his temporary engagement, A J Smith was to work throughout the short life of the BCSB and became an employee of the Birmingham Municipal Bank. The same applied to Dora Blackwell, and these two officers were specifically mentioned by J P Hilton in his 1927 book, Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank:
 
Both these officers commenced their service with the Bank on its establishment; the former is still an officer, and the latter was an officer up to June, 1926, when she resigned on marriage. Mr. Smith has always been an enthusiastic and energetic officer, ever ready to help, ever willing to discharge any duty he was called upon to undertake; a valuable and loyal colleague. Miss Blackwell coming to the Bank as the ledger clerk, rose to cashier and ultimately chief cashier. Exceptionally able, reliable and trustworthy, she was a splendid officer. The bigger the task the greater her determination to accomplish it.
 
It is not known when A J Smith left the Bank, but it is known that he attained the position of Branch Manager, and his appointments included Lozells (when the BMB commenced on September 1st 1919), Duddeston, Witton, Spring Hill, Wheeler Street, and Nechells (in 1934). These managerial appointments came despite his involvement in a Cash Difference in 1921 whilst staffing an exhibition stand at Bingley Hall.
 
By late November 1916 a Mrs Mary Hinckley was dealing with postal deposits, and the Manager was requesting the Committee to recruit a counter clerk, a typists, and an assistant ledger clerk. At this date the Manager was also concerned with the cost of posting passbooks to depositors and asked the Committee to "consider the wisdom of obtaining a youthful cyclist" to make the deliveries. Such a youth was not recruited but the Manager did state that his "own office boy is never available until about 5 o'clock each day".
 
Staff continued to be recruited during 1917 as the volume of business increased to some 2,500 transactions per week, with the Bank having about 25,000 depositors. At a Management Committee meeting held on November 29th 1917, the City Treasurer produced a list of the Bank's 30 staff showing the amount of Fidelity Guarantees taken out with the Guarantee Society Limited. The amount of the guarantee reflected the degree of responsibility held by each member of staff:
 
 Amount of
Guarantee ()
 J P Hilton 
 2,000 
 W S Saull
 1,000 
 Miss Dora Blackwell
 1,000 
 Mrs Mary Hinckley
 500 
 A J Smith
 250 
 Miss Alice Bell
 250 
 Charles Keatley
 500 
 Harold Cook
 100 
 G O Smith
 250 
 Edwin Cheatle
 100 
 Miss H M Martin
 250 
 T W Paste
 250 
 W T Robins
 250 
 Miss Doris Ford
 250 
 Miss Edna Allen
 250 
 Miss Ellen Briscoe
 50 
 Miss M G Bruiton
 250 
 Miss Nellie Tatton 
 250 
 Alfred Appleby
 250 
 E W Gopsill
 250 
 Walter Hodgetts
 250 
 Miss F Osborn
 50 
 Miss M Crawford
 250 
 Miss N A Plant
 250 
 H A Barron
 250 
 J W Smethurst
 250 
 T T Price
 100 
 Miss Hida Otton
 50 
 Miss A E Pryce-Brown
 250 
 Miss Elsie Brown
500  
 
Birmingham Corporation
Savings Bank