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When he was just eight, Bill Drew’s dad started him off with a savings account of 5 shillings at his local Municipal Bank. Hilda Burnett was a couple of years older when her father decided it was time she saved her pocket money. Together they traipsed up the Stratford Road to the local branch of the ‘Municipal’. When she reached the counter her dad gave her a shiny new sixpence and with his help she signed the form and came away with her new bank book.

 

Ray Mason’s still got his first and only Municipal Bank book from when he opened his account at the wooden hut which was then the branch next to the Maypole Picture House.

 

Rose-Marie Orme’s also got her original pass book from the Acocks Green branch, where in 1952 she started saving for her marriage; while Vera Cartmell still holds on to her book from the Ladywood branch. This was on the corner of Ladywood Road and Monument Road and took very small amounts of money to help poor people to save. She remembers with pride that Neville Chamberlain was the MP for Ladywood and that he did a lot of good work for the area.

 

D Hibbs recalls that “all the children in our school at Harborne were encouraged to save” by bringing in their money each Monday morning, his local branch was opposite the ‘Royalty’ Cinema. Its foundation stone had been laid by a local councillor, C T Appleby, who had helped Chamberlain bring about the Municipal Bank.

 

Ellen Terry’s strongest memory is of the ‘Municipal Bank Money Box’ – for some unknown reason called a tank. It was made of a “heavy, dark grey metal with a carrying handle, and the Birmingham Coat of Arms was emblazoned on the front.’ Her mum used to drop odd coppers in the tank and at the appropriate time would take it to the Sparkhill Branch to be emptied. When the family moved to Sparkbrook her mum put the box in a safe place – so safe she couldn’t find it. A few days later. “to Mother’s surprise, the lady who had moved into our old house stood on the doorstep, the Municipal tank in her hand” She’d found it in the oven!

 

Dr Wallace Hall’s mother was actually one of the first four girls to be employed by the predecessor of the Municipal Bank. Edith Edna Jesson was born in April 1896 and like other women in clerical jobs she had to leave her work when she married. Elsie Bullock was one of the other girls and because she remained single she stayed at the bank, working at its headquarters for many years. Wallace is still proud of the way his mother could beat the milkman at totting up her bill. Even though she looked at the ledger upside down “she invariably had the correct change ready in her hand” by the time he told her the amount: “obviously the bank experience was pretty good!”

 

 

[The above was attached to an article by Dr Carl Chinn in his Yesterday’s World series that was entitled 'Eureka! It’s the Brummies’ own bank'.]

 
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Saving at the Local Municipal

 

Memories submitted to Dr Carl Chinn in 1997