The Birmingham Municipal Bank was set up on September 1st 1919 as a savings bank for the citizens of Birmingham.
The Banks first General Manager, Mr J P Hilton, wrote a book about the progress of the bank from 1919 to 1927 entitled ‘The Romance of a Great Achievement’ There were 4 chapters covering the possibilities for Municipal banks expansion and spread around the country and world.
In January 1928 a Departmental Committee, appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to consider the question of an extension of municipal banks to other towns issued their report which concluded:
“the Birmingham Bank is undoubtedly rendering very real service to thrift in an area in which the pre-existing facilities were less fully developed than in other parts of the country. Moreover it is now a living institution with a vigorous individuality of its own; within a few years, thanks to the energy and ability devoted to its service, it has come to hold a high place in the minds of a great number of the citizens. Such an institution claims respect for itself.'”
in 1930 the Broad Street site was purchased by the bank, in December that year the Bank Committee invited British Architects to submit designs in competition for the new Head Offices. The winning design was that of Mr T C Howitt, FRIBA, of Nottingham, who was subsequently appointed Architect for the building.
The architects drawing by Thomas Cecil Howitt, OBE (1889 – 1968)
The building was officially opened on the 27th November, 1933.
It became a Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) in 1976, before amalgamating with the TSB of the Midlands to become part of the TSB of Birmingham and the Midlands on November 20th 1979.
The building was granted grade II listed status on October 14th, 1996 and finally closed it doors on October 23rd, 1998.
on May 9th 2006 Birmingham council paid over Â£3,000,000 to buy the building which now has planning consent for leisure purposes as part of the ‘Arena Central’ scheme, it has been used for a number of productions and performances since being bought by the council.
The main banking hall with it’s distinctive U shaped counter, this was unfortunately destroyed at some point.
I visited this location while workers were working inside . I had to play cat and mouse to get some pictures. In the safe room I almost couldn’t make light to make the picture otherwise I would get caught.
The safety deposit room initially only contained 4,640 secure boxes, this photo was taken in the early 1930’s before the additional blocks of safes were added to bring the total number of safes up to 10,528.
The building is currently Grade II listed, and owned by Birmingham City Council.