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Memories
086
 

 

Branches (and Branch Managers) I have known

 

by Keith Boden

When I left Holte Grammar school in 1970 I hadn't a clue as to what to do, but as both Clive and John Mace (my cousins) worked at the BMB, I thought I'd give it a go for a bit, and joined the Bank on August 10th 1970 . A ‘bit' lasted exactly 40 years!
Over the next 22 years, working as a junior clerk and then as a cashier I was located at a number of branches, with the following Managers:
 
1970: Roy Wozencroft - Sandwell Branch
1971: Stan C Wilson - Lozells Branch
1972: Neville Alsop - Handsworth Branch
1974: Malcolm Taylor - Handsworth Branch
1975: Brian Godwin - Aston Newtown Branch
1977: Peter Taylor - Aston Newtown Branch
1979: Geoff Pardoe - Harborne Branch
1982: Gilbert Sherbourne - Cotteridge Branch
1985: Roger Bunten - Selly Oak Branch
1986: Ron Hines - Sandwell Branch
1988 – 1992: Pat Murray - Perry Barr Branch
 
There are so many characters I met in the branch network over the years. Who remembers Ken Higgins? Worked with him at Handsworth and he was 'allowed' to smoke on the counter. Serving customers with a fag in his mouth! Hilarious I know.
 
Keith Parkes (at Halesown branch) and Brian Godwin (at Aston Newtown branch) were two other characters I met – I’m still trying to work those two out!
 
There are many others I could mention, including girls on the staff I went out with. (Better leave that there). The guys that I used to hang out with after college at Matthew Boulton. The disco nights at the Guild Club. However, there are some people I'd like to mention for making most of my BMB/TSB/LTSB life enjoyable:
 
R C T Wozencroft was a great first Manager at Sandwell Branch.
 
S C Wilson at Lozells was right from the old school Bank Manager.
 
Neville Alsop at Handsworth for getting me the chance to work on the turnstile at the Villa along with other BMB staff. So sad to hear of his recent passing. If the Test Match was on, he would have the radio on in the office. That was when the Soho Road was not a bad place to be. I remember one day that the bulb had gone in the side door porch. I got the ladders out, removed the bulb and to everyone's surprise, there was a date hand written on the metal part of the bulb. It said '31 Oct 1939'. So the bulb had been there since then. Incredible.
 
Geoff Pardoe at Harborne was an easy Manager to work for and it was such a shame his retirement didn't last long. We experienced the move from the old branch to a newly built one on the High Street. Had the TSB Soccer School reception there and I met Sir Bobby Charlton.
 
Now to 'Uncle Gilbert’ Sherbourne at Cotteridge Branch. What a time we had there with Mike Reed and others. Gilbert was too good for the Bank in my opinion. How he dealt with things that went on there, I can't imagine. He called me the coach driver as I used to wear sometimes, a burgundy jacket with light grey trousers. Great times.
 
Ron Hines at Sandwell Branch was also great to work with. We went to Grammar School together so we had a connection from day one.
 
Finally, Pat Murray at Perry Barr branch. I owe Pat a lot as I believe he kept me in a job by offering me Small Heath branch in 1992 as at the time we were under the cosh of the Bank’s least favourite Area Manager, Brian Clay. Pat was Mr Clay's sidekick for a lot of the time and he was away from the branch regularly. Hence I had to run it. Lovely.

I was Branch Manager of Small Heath Branch for about 2 years, then on to Hockley Branch before I was made 'Unallocated' in 1994. I was asked to go into Customer Care for 3 months in late 1994 and stayed there for 14 years! Thanks to Geoff Booth I was given the best job in the world looking after the TSB on-line banking Forum on Compuserve. This included answering e-mails/queries from customers. I had a 'Techy Guy' helping me through the mechanics of the system. When the On-line Banking system went on to the Lloyds TSB system I continued to deal with all the e-mails that were received. However, when that task was passed on to Glasgow, I was allocated to the 'Phone a Friend' branch helpdesk. I worked in that team up until I left the Bank on 10th August 2010.
 
 
 
(January 2021)
 
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