The Day the Municipal Bank Obstructed the Tram Track
Golden Jubilee Reminiscences by Charles Harper
In the far-off days of my youth, it was the custom for the juniors at a branch to collect the branch stationery from Head Office. Being at the time at Sparkbrook branch, I one day duly undertook my somewhat undignified task. Bearing in mind that it was then the custom for the junior to be duly attired in a dark suit with a stiff collar, bowler hat, and spats.
Having struggled across town with a huge parcel clasped to my bosom and somewhat obscuring my vision, ever thankful that the course was downhill, I boarded the tram for Sparkbrook. I was careful to sit near the exit on one of the longitudinal seats, drawing in my breath every time passengers had to pass me.
The moment came to alight - and without delay. Then the nightmare happened! On stepping off the tram step, the string, under the great strain of that huge brown-paper parcel, broke.
A cascade of forms, stationery, books, pen-nibs, rubbers and Bank advertising matter spread from the tram stop onto the roadway and even decided to advertise the Bank well by drifting on to the lines.
Panic seized me, but with that presence of mind which has saved many a desperate man, I dashed across the road to the branch opposite and nearly hammered the door down.
No doubt, fearing a fire, my clamouring was speedily answered and two assistants (one I remember as a lady of somewhat unbending demeanour) soon appeared and equipped with two waste-paper baskets, we scooped the collection on the highway as fast as we could into the baskets, and with red faces returned to the branch. With great speed, shutting the door behind us with great thankfulness that we had not managed to hold up the next tram.
Needless to say, there were no penalties in those days for depositing litter on the highway.
(NOTE: these recollections have been extracted from 1969 correspondence by Charles Harper with the then Bank's General Manager (Mr S A Guy) in relation to a possible publication to celebrate the Bank's