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.
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.
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
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".
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: