Next Memory

Them Lawful Occasions


by Ted Viney


This ‘Memory’ appeared in the Summer 1957 staff magazine and appears to refer to an incident of defalcation known as The Crump Affair that occurred in the early years of the Bank at Duddeston branch.

In the early days of the Bank, nearly 35 years ago, for reasons which need not be mentioned, it was decided that all pass books issued from a certain Branch, must be collected and brought to Head Office.

Branch Managers and senior men were given lists, together with letters of authority, and sallied forth.

In the main it was a “poor” district - courts, alleys, back-to-back houses - most of them containing at least two families. We have a house shortage now; then it was shortage of money which caused overcrowding. Few in this district expected a house to themselves from birth, through marriage and parenthood, to death.

At my first house I was shown into the kitchen. Floor, chairs, table and a sofa, were buried under piles of clean, ironed, folded washing. My temporary hostess “took in washing”.

“Sit down Mister” said the depositor, and commenced to read her letter. There was no space in which to sit. The woman looked up from her reading. “I don’t understand”, she said “But sit down, Mister”. The least encumbered place was one end of the sofa. I sat down. Immediately there was an upheaval beneath me. My “seat” was a young boy, who apparently had gone to bed for the night - his bedclothes, the washing.

Our lists were such that there was frequent “criss-crossing” in every street and it was a dark, wet night. In one house I found two Branch Managers drinking cocoa by a nice bright fire. I declined cocoa, but when the lady of the house came in with two quart jugs and some bottles, I felt it churlish to decline a second time and accepted “a spot”. Students of Economics will see a good illustration of one definition of Interest, namely “The reward of waiting”.

At my last house call the door was opened by a good-looking young woman in a state of dishabille. I started to explain my business. “Look here ducks”, she interrupted, adjusting the dishabille still more effectively, “I shouldn’t hang round here now, my old man will be back any minute. Come round to-morrow - a bit earlier”.

Next night we assembled at Head Office to start again. The rain was pouring down. I suggested to a young, somewhat pious colleague, that he added my only remaining “client”, the dishevelled lady, to his list, recommending him to make it his first call.

I suppose kind acts like this caused the Bank Committee to state on my illuminated “School Leaving Certificate” “Your example to younger members of the Staff and good influence upon them, was much appreciated”.

It was raining “cats and dogs”. Of our usual quartette Tommy was out in the wet, HG had found himself a job, so “Old Alf” and I decided it was our duty to see if any pass books could be collected in the Waterloo Bar. We considered the time had come for “old bucks” to “stand close”.