Carrying On Without Electricity


by David Skett

As a "wet behind the ears" junior cashier aged 18 in 1970, during a power cut I managed to ignite a page from my cashbook on the candle I was using whilst standing at the counter.


My first cashier/supervisor was one "Thomas Murphy". Needless to say, at the time neither of us saw the funny side of this event. However, over many years, usually accompanied by a pint, we did have many laughs - about the near headlines of "Bank fire at BMB Smethwick branch".


Another memory I have of working for the Bank also involved electricity (or should I say, the lack of it). At Oldbury branch in 1975 the local council offices were located above the branch. Men were working in these offices and one morning all power/computer connections and telephones were lost! The workmen had "ripped out" all of the cables for the branch!


Consequently, the branch operated for three days without power, telephones, and computers. By contrast, Lloyds Bank in Quinton recently closed its doors to customers when power was lost for 15 minutes!


I remember Graham Capener exercising much patience over many hours explaining to me how to reorganise the manual paper records in order eventually to be input to the computer when the power returned.


It is still a mystery to me how Graham grasped all of that information and knowledge, when only a few years earlier an adding machine was "state of the art" technology.


(June 2022)

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