BMB Memoirs 1967-1976
by Graham M Bowden
Having been a cashier in the school bank run by the BMB at Perry Common Comprehensive it was natural progression to join the staff of BMB with my three “O” levels in July 1967. After a week’s induction course at Head Office I was billeted out to Pype Hayes branch as a junior clerk. That appointment must have left a mark on me as I can still remember the staff make up: John Eyre, manager; Larry Sharrard; Caroline Turner; Pat Wright (nee Smith); Janet Hoe; Ann O’Gorman (the senior junior as she told me on my first day); joined by Susan Hart a week later. I was able to travel there from home on my Lambretta LI150.
I think I then did a short junior spell at the fledgling Castle Vale branch with Ray Lovell manager and Graham Capener cashier. Early in 1968 I got the call to go to the Broad Street, Head Office as “post-boy”. My fellow post-boy was Roger Bond, a friendship that exists to this day. After a very happy 6 month term based in Clearing Dept. I was billeted out to Shard End branch, now a senior junior! Manager there was the wonderful Bill Stanton assisted by Larry Sharrard who taught me how to do the “big book”. Late 1960s saw me have a brief spell at Nechells with Ray Gregory and Ray Stanley. I remember WALKING to Nechells from Hodge Hill, my home, in deep snow that winter.
I remember a youth hostelling holiday in the Lake District circa 1970 with Steve Pink, I remember because my beloved Lambretta was stolen from his home driveway!!
I remember scoring my one and only goal at Swanshurst Park for the BMB football team. No idea of final score or who against.
I had two or three long stints at the new Castle Vale branch in the Shopping Centre. David Wilkinson was manager, assisted by Larry Sharrard again, Linda Moll, Olive Fletcher, Lesley ??? on the tills, and after a cashier course I at last made it on to the end till.
I had further cashier stints at Castle Vale with Norman Jackson and Les Webber as managers.
In between stints at Short Heath (John Gregg) and Witton (Chris Bolton).
The latter branch was a dream as I got to serve Villa players Bruce Rioch; John Gidman; Jimmy Brown; Chico Hamilton, Pat McMahon etc etc.
I also worked on the turnstiles at Aston Villa for approximately 8 seasons under the guidance of Neville Alsop along with other BMB staff (see photo below). In addition to myself the photo includes Ken Prentice, Keith Boden, and John Britten. Also in the picture is the father of two other BMB staff members: Clive and John Mace.
From 1973 to 1976 I rented the Bank flat above Brookvale branch, many might remember our parties there; my neighbour was Daphne Sutton (the Head Office telephonist) who had the bank flat next door.
My final posting was to Aston Cross, initially managed by Les Bellmore, later by Les Webber. Happy days, but I needed to buy a house.
I left BMB Aston Cross mid-1976. At that time there was an exodus of BMB staff to the Building Societies and I joined the Birmingham Incorporated as assistant accounts manager (wow) and immediately took on a very low rate mortgage and purchased a nice detached house in Erdington. Also there was ex-bank staff Clive Brown, Roger Bond, Tony Byrne, and Keith Hicks. I also had short spells at the Blackheath & Anglia Building Societies and also at NatWest Homeloans when in 1986 I took the plunge to go self-employed in collectables (mainly philatelic) and financially have not looked back since. Anyone got a good quality stamp collection for sale?? One of the BMB's branch managers (Arthur Radburn) was a former customer of mine.
I’ve lived in Sutton Coldfield since the mid 1980’s and am still in touch with many former BMB employees. Hope some more of you might remember me.