Next Memory

The Joys of Working at a Branch


The following two anonymous articles appeared in the Autumn 1961 edition of the Bank’s staff magazine. They recall two aspects of working at a branch:

- the basic facilities provided for staff, in this case the method of providing hot water; and

- the minimal staffing levels at a small office

There are still a few Branches where the hot water for kitchen purposes is obtained by means of a Celerity Heater. The following composition, in the grand Shakespearian manner, describes that piece of equipment:




O CELERITY ...... thy name is perversity,

How oft have I cursed thee for thy non-celerity?

Wilt thou ne'er age gracefully and die

To be conceived again in an automatic Water-Otter?

Thine agelessness is thrice accursed,

Verily thou wert born in an era of proud artisans

Whose skilled products were destined long to outlast them,

I brooded .... and thought .... THOU MUST DIE!!!!

I lit the gas and left thee cooking.

Nay, roasting till thy pipes were red.

Then - swiftly - the death blow ....

The waters rushing through - and steam,

Thy death shudders were agony to behold.

Mine eyes were moist. Thou faithful servant

To pass in such agony ------. But, nay,

Shaking off the blue-grey scum thou wert revived, refreshed,

And poured forth thy cascade of tepid water as of yore.


O CELERITY, thy name is immortality ...........






The last month or so has made me feel rather sad and despondent.


In the early 1920s I was a junior and performed all sorts of menial and manual tasks such as re-wrapping gigantic parcels covered with rotting brown paper (which others had unwrapped), delving into the dark recesses of dingy cupboards and into the archives in strongrooms festooned with cobwebs and the dust of ages, all the time overseered by AUTHORITY in the shape of a Manager who told me exactly how the job was to be done.


Now I am a Manager - I am AUTHORITY and I am sad and despondent; I have just completed the self-same tasks because there is no junior to whom my vast experience in these matters can be passed on. What of the future? Will this curious and exciting pastime be lost to our future generations through lack of learning?


Archimedes, Plato, Einstein and perhaps Wells would have found their theories of relativities much easier to put over had they had experience with this Bank. Life does turn full circle - or does it?