Branches That Never Were
Until the passing of Sections 56 and 57 of the Birmingham Corporation (General Powers) Act, 1929, the Bank was limited to establishing branches within Birmingham's boundaries; nine permanent branches were opened outside the city's boundaries. Many Birmingham branches were established as the city expanded with the development of extensive housing estates. As these estates were initially planned, Birmingham Corporation asked the Bank's Committee of Management if they wished to have a plot reserved for the construction of a branch. Such reservations resulted in a large number of permanent branches. This article describes a number of sites that were offered, purchased, or considered for branches, both inside and outside Birmingham's boundaries, but did not come to fruition.
The Bank's General Manager presented the following report to the Committee of Management in July 1945:
The Clerk in charge at Pheasey branch has mentioned that several people have asked for branch bank facilities in the village of Aldridge itself. I instructed Mr Clamp to visit the district, report on the prospects, and ascertain views from different people.
Several employees of the First National Housing Trust, who live in Aldridge, say it would be a good thing to have a branch bank. The Sanitary Inspector (Mr Boocock) said the Walsall Trustee Savings Bank practically covered the area, but admitted they had no branch in the district. Mr Boocock is Hon Secretary for the Savings Committee, and I think he is more favourable to the Trustee Savings Bank than our Bank. He thought our House Purchase facilities would, however, appeal to residents of Aldridge. Several women who were asked their views thought a branch would be welcomed. Councillor Clay (Managing Director of the Aldridge Tool and Precision Co Ltd) thought a branch would be a big benefit to the village; it would add prestige to the district, and in his view the time was ripe for development. He mentioned that two Birmingham factories were going to Aldridge and house development would follow. A foreman at the works was very favourable and had suggested saving by means of deductions from wages.
I understand there are 50 factories in the Aldridge area of various sizes, but only two employ 500 workers or over.
The district is a scattered one; the central position would lie between the Station and Whetstone Lane. It might be possible to procure a site near the Avion Cinema, which adjoins the principal shopping centre, and not far from the Post Office and the Municipal buildings.
Before any decision is reached I think it would be desirable for a member or members of the Committee to view the district.
No information is available as to why a branch was not established in Aldridge. There appears to have been an agreement between the BMB and neighbouring TSBs that each should not establish a branch in another's territory. In due course, a branch of Walsall TSB was opened in Aldridge at Croft House, High Street; Walsall TSB was established in 1934.
The Mr Clamp referred to in the General Manager's report was Reginald B Clamp who was employed from 1940 as the Bank's Publicity Officer. Also in 1945, he was involved in the Bank's search for a branch in Blackheath. Reginald Clamp retired from the Bank in about 1959, spending the last part of his Bank career as Custodian of the Safe Deposit Department in the Broad Street, Head Office.
Quinton Estate
Report by the General Manager, dated October 1944:
A substantial development is contemplated on land bound by Ridgacre Road and Quinton Road lying between the Quinton and Harborne branches. It would be desirable to ask for a reservation of a site for a branch bank on the omnibus route, which will probably be along Ridgacre Road
Land was not purchased in this specific area, but it was purchased a short distance away a few years later (see below re  Site near Junction of Wolverhampton Road and Hagley Road West)
Grove Estate, Harborne
Report by the General Manager, dated October 1944:
A small development (152 houses) is contemplated. The site is covered by the existing Harborne branch, and consequently there is no need to ask for reservation [from the City Surveyor]
Chestnuts Estate, Sheldon
Report by the General Manager, dated October 1944:
A substantial development is contemplated on land bounded by Sheldon Heath Road and Brays Road. This is some distance from Yardley and Wells Green branches, and it would be desirable to ask for reservation of a site in the proposed shopping centre.
However, no branch was ever opened in this area, also known as Lyndon Green.
Kents Moat Estate
Report by the General Manager, dated October 1944:
A substantial development is contemplated on land bounded by Garretts Green Lane and Sedgefield Road. The Yardley and Kitts Green branches will meet this new development, and there is no need to ask for a reservation.
Duke of York Site, Harborne
In 1951, the Bank purchased a site measuring 330 square yards adjoining the Duke of York public house in Harborne. This site was owned by the Public Works Department, and was transferred to the Bank at a cost of 1,650. The site was purchased with the intention of utilising it to build a replacement for Harborne branch - an action that had been contemplated prior to the War when a development of the local High Street was proposed. However, the site was never utilised, and ownership of the land reverted to the City Council when the Bank became a Trustee Savings Bank in 1976.
Site near Junction of Wolverhampton Road and Hagley Road West
The following is an extract from a report to the Bank Committee by the Finance and General Purposes Committee dated May 10th 1948:
A piece of land owned by the corporation at the corner of Wolverhampton Road South, Hagley Road West and Aubrey Road has been offered by the Public Works Department as a site suitable for a branch bank. The area available within the proposed building line would be approximately 242 square yards. When the widening scheme is completed in several years time, the site will be prominent and a branch bank there it is believed would attract business from the Oldbury and Smethwick areas. The site is within 1 miles of the Quinton branch, 1 miles of Bearwood branch and 1 miles of Harborne branch.
The building line would be subject to the approval of the Public Works Committee, and as the site is in a restricted area it would probably be necessary to advertise the proposal if a branch is desired there.
The General Manager has been directed to negotiate with the City Engineer and Surveyor for the transfer of the land on suitable terms, and will report further as soon as possible.
A further report dated June 21st 1948 included the following:
The area of the .... site available now that the building line has been defined .... to approximately 242 square yards, which the Chief Architect of the Public Works Department advises would be sufficient for a branch with two small flats above.
It is understood that the Town Planning Sub-Committee are considering the Bank's proposals for using the land at a future time for branch purposes and your Sub-Committee recommend that the General Manager be authorised to continue to negotiate for the transfer of the site, and to report further in due course.
In due course, this site was purchased by the Bank but never developed. The site was let to a caravan retailer, and reverted to the ownership of Birmingham City Council when the BMB became a TSB.