The Introduction of Home Safes
Commencing December 1922, the Bank began issuing Home Safes.
By September 1926, almost 16,000 safes were in the hands of Depositors.
These extractions from the Minutes of the Bank's Committees
detail the procedures followed and the problems encountered
relating to the Introduction of Home Safes.
The Committee Meetings also reviewed various statistical reports.
Home Safes
Home Safe Images

Report of the Manager: October 21st 1921

The Manager has for some time had in mind the method adopted by many Savings Banks of saving by means of Home Safes, and feels that this matter is one the Committee would do well to consider. When visiting the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society, the Manager was informed that 8,000 of these safes were in use in Halifax, and the Managing Director spoke highly of the results achieved by this method of collecting the small savings. They are neat little metal safes made by Kynoch Ltd., are locked and can only be opened at the Bank where the key is kept. The Society charge 3/6 per safe when loaned out, and if given up at any time intact an allowance of 2/6 is made. The same arrangement is in use in the Post Office Savings Bank, and at Trustee Savings Bank at Manchester. These safes are in large circulation, and according to their reports 461,000 have been received by this method alone since 1906, when the system was introduced. At Manchester they charge 5/- and remit 4/- when returned intact.


Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee: December 12th 1921

573: RESOLVED:- That the Chairman and Manager be requested to submit to this Sub-Committee draft proposals with regard to home safes together with samples and estimates and suggested regulations in connection therewith.


Finance Sub-Committee: January 9th 1922

On Minute 573 (Home Safes) The Manager presented the following Report:


Report of Manager on Home Safes.

Following upon the report of the Manager to the last meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee, and the inspection of sample safes from the Manchester and Salford Savings Bank and the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society, the Manager now presents, as instructed, the following further report:

Messrs Kynoch Ltd, the makers of the safes exhibited as above, have now written to say they regret they are not prepared to again take up the manufacture of Home Safes, and under these circumstances are unable to quote a price.

Messrs Taylor, Law & Co, of this City have seen the safes, but cannot undertake their manufacture, such being out of their line.

A tender has been received from Messrs Sutcliffe, Binns & Sons, of Manchester, for safes of two sizes and patterns submitted. The larger safe is quoted in quantities of 1,000, at 5/10d each - 291. 13. 4; and the smaller safe in the same quantities at 5/4d each - 266. 13. 4. Carriage and packing free in both cases. The samples, which will be on view at the meeting, are only to convey the idea of what is quoted for. They are the last of pre-war samples, and the samples are not in good decorative condition.

In this connection it is significant that the Halifax Building Society (to whom the Manager is indebted for the reference to Messrs Binns), state that the only safes - presumably supplied by this firm - are a French make and of an inferior quality to the safes made by Messrs Kynoch Ltd.

The idea of Home Safes is strongly rooted in most Savings Banks and Building Societies, and the advantages claimed for them are that a branch of the Bank (or Society) can be put in the home, and that the very presence of such safes in the home is an excellent advertising medium and a consistent reminder when spare coppers are available which may be so small as to be a drawback to the child or person taking such contributions to the Bank.

If the Committee decide to adopt this method of saving as an addition to the ordinary method, the Manager is of opinion that very few regulations need to be made as to their use. The following would constitute the regulations necessary:


Regulations as to issue and use of Home Safes.

1 On application for a safe the applicant should pay a registration fee of (1/-d is suggested).

2 The safe to remain the property of the Bank and to be given up in good and satisfactory condition. If returned in a defective state,

    the holder to pay the full cost of the safe, but if a second is issued to the same holder no registration charge is to be made.

3 All safes to be numbered, and every issue to be registered in an appropriate book.

4 Keys of safes to be kept in the custody of officers in charge of branches.

5 Separate records to be kept of transactions in Home Safes; and where deposits are made by this method to accounts dealt with in the ordinary method,

   a suitable reference to be made thereto in the Personal Ledgers.

6 The safes to have a plate attached prominently drawing attention to the Bank, say the registered Key design.

7 Each applicant to sign a form on receiving a safe; giving an undertaking to return it when done with to the Bank. The form to be drawn up by the Town Clerk.

8 Suitable leaflets to be prepared by the Manager drawing attention to the safes, and prominent advertisements placed in the local papers.


The Committee should decide whether these safes should be on issue at all Branches of the Bank, or whether they should be restricted to Head Office and Daily Branches.

(January 6th 1922.)


7 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be instructed to obtain estimates for the supply of Home Safes for the respective quantities of 2,500, 5,000 and 10,000, and to submit the same to this Sub-Committee in due course.


Finance Sub-Committee: February 13th 1922

21 RESOLVED:- That with reference to the question of the Home Safes, the Manager be instructed to approach other firms with a view to obtaining estimates.


Report of the Manager to the Finance Sub-Committee

February 13th 1922.


The Manager submits quotations from the following firms, with types of the safes quoted for:

Messrs Sutcliffe Binns & Co. for quantities of 1,000 - 5/10d. large.  5/4d. small.

Messrs Withers & Co, large safes only, in quantities of 5,000 - 5/8d. each.

All these safes are of foreign manufacture.

Enquiries have been made as to whether it was possible to get Home Safes made in England. Messrs Kynoch Ltd. have been again approached, but confirm their inability to undertake the manufacture. Another firm has been approached, viz, Messrs Wilkins & Wright, Ltd of Birmingham. They are prepared to make safes in quantities of not less than 10,000. Their quotation for a similar safe to that quoted for by Messrs Sutcliffe Binns and Samuel Withers is 5/3d. large, 4/6d. small, and for one similar to the Post Office pattern (also submitted) 5/9d. large and 5/-d. small. Several other firms have been approached, but none are prepared to undertake the manufacture.


Finance Sub-Committee: March 13th 1922

On Minutes Nos 7 and 21 (Home Safes) the Manager reported that several firms had been communicated with, but only three additional quotations had been received which were as follows:

 - BSA Tools                                     9/6d each

 - Wilkins & Weigh                            5/3d each

 - The British Lighting & Ignition       5/- each

Mr Hallas intimated that he thought it would be possible to obtain more satisfactory quotations.

33 RESOLVED:- That Mr E Hallas be requested to make enquiries with a view to more satisfactory quotations being received for the supply of Home Safes; also the Manager be instructed to approach such of the principal Trustee Savings Banks as he may consider desirable to ascertain whether they would be prepared to co-operate in the placing of a joint order sufficiently large to induce a firm to take the matter up at a lower cost.

Finance Sub-Committee: May 8th 1922

On Minutes Nos 7, 21 and 33, the Sub-Committee were informed that Mr Hallas had made enquiries in London but had not been successful in obtaining lower quotations for Home Safes than those already submitted to the Sub-Committee.

The Manager also reported the result of his enquiries from various Trustee Savings Banks, from which it appeared that their co-operation in obtaining bulk supplies was unlikely. After discussion it was

45 RESOLVED:- That the Manager be authorised to approach local tenderers with a view to ascertaining the possibility of an order being placed for a quantity of 2,500 safes to an approved design, at a price not exceeding 6/- each, with the prospect of further orders in the future if the Home Safe movement should develop.
General Committee: May 15th 1922

The Committee were informed that the Manager, on the authority of the Finance Committee, had approached local tenderers with a view to the possibility of an order being placed for a quantity of 2,500 Home Safes, to an approved design, at a price not exceeding 6/- each.

The Manager submitted the following letter from Messrs Wilkins & Wright offering to supply the quantity referred to at the price mentioned.

Wilkins and Wright Ltd, Utility Works, Kenyon Street, Birmingham

May 10th 1922, JH H/ET

The Manager, The Birmingham Municipal Bank, Birmingham


Dear Sirs,

We beg to thank you for your letter duly to hand this morning. We shall be pleased to accept a contract for supplying 2500 Home Safes including the Case for same, for the sum of 6/- each net.

If you would be good enough to let us have your order, and the sample, we are in a position at the present time to put the tools in hand immediately.

We should also be pleased if you desire us to see you on the matter, to wait upon you any time, if you will kindly give us an appointment.

Yours faithfully,

per pro Wilkins & Wright Ltd

(sd) John Hewitt. Managing Director.


1151 RESOLVED:- That the offer of Messrs Wilkins & Wright to supply a quantity of 2,500 Home Safes to an approved design at a price of 6/- each be accepted, and that the Town Clerk be instructed to prepare the required Contract and affix the Corporate Seal thereto.
Finance Sub-Committee: June 12th 1922

On Minute Number 33 the Manager reported that in order to prepare the necessary Contract for the supply of Home Safes, the Town Clerk would require a drawing showing the necessary particulars to be embodied in the document. The Manager had accordingly been in communication with the Contractors and submitted a plan prepared by them showing their suggestions for the carrying out of work.

The Manager also reported that he had received a sample Home Safe from a patentee at Bristol, together with an offer to supply Safes in small quantities, in accordance with this sample, at a cost of 4/- each, and a quantity of 5,000 at 3/- each. The Sub-Committee were of opinion that the sample submitted was not sufficiently strong, and that the design would not appeal to the persons likely to become interested, and they were of opinion that the preparation of the Contract with Messrs Wilkins and Wright should be proceeded with.

53 RESOLVED:- That the drawing submitted from Messrs Wilkins and Wright be referred to Mr Hallas with a view to a suitable design and specification being agreed for embodiment in the Contract now being prepared by the Town Clerk.
Finance Sub-Committee: July 10th 1922
65 On Minute Nos 33 and 53 (Home Safes) the Manager reported that the Contract with Messrs Wilkins and Wright had now been signed, and the work was being proceeded with.
General Committee: July 17th 1922

On Minute No 1151, the Town Clerk presented the following report as to the completion of the contract with Messrs Wilkins and Wright Ltd for the supply etc of Home Safes.


Town Clerk's Office

15th July 1922

I have prepared and completed a Contract Document with Wilkins & Wright Ltd for the manufacture, supply and delivery of 2,500 mild steel 'Home Safes'. The Corporate Seal has been affixed to the Document.


1184 RESOLVED:- That the report be approved and Minute No 1151 discharged.
Finance Sub-Committee: September 5th 1922
74 On Minutes Nos 33 and 53, the Manager reported that it was anticipated that the first consignment of Home Safes would be delivered in about a month's time.
Report of the Finance Sub-Committee: September 25th 1922

Home Safes

Your Sub-Committee report that the manufacture of these safes is now well in hand and it is anticipated that the first consignment will be delivered to the Bank in about a month's time.

General Purposes Committee: September 29th 1922 (considering a report of a visit to Scotland)


Report re visit to Scotland: August 12th 1922

13 Home Safes

It is clear no evidence can be got favourable to home safes from Scotland; and in view of the fact that considerable extra time will be taken up in dealing with these safes, the question will have to be faced of limiting the periods when such safes can be dealt with, otherwise we shall have to provide still further staff. As Manchester appears the most enthusiastic place for home safes, I think it desirable that the experience of Manchester should be obtained and regulations drafted in accordance with their experience.


166 RESOLVED:- That the question of Home Safes be referred to the Finance Sub-Committee

Finance Sub-Committee: October 16th 1922
The Sub-Committee considered the following suggested rules in connection with the issue etc of "Home Safes"

94 RESOLVED:- That the draft rules be approved with the additions and alterations indicated by red ink.

95 RESOLVED:- That the Chairman of the General Committee and the General Manager be authorised to settle, in consultation with the Town Clerk where necessary, the required books, forms &c, for the Home Safes Scheme.

96 RESOLVED:- That the question of the preparation and circulation of leaflets advertising the Safes, and other means of bringing them before the public notice, be referred to Mr Hallas and the General Manager to take the necessary steps.
Finance Sub-Committee: November 27th 1922

On Minutes Nos 33 and 53 (Home Safes) the General Manager reported that all the necessary details in connection with the contract for the supply of home safes had now been settled in consultation with Mr E Hallas.

103 RESOLVED:- That Minutes Nos 33 and 53 be discharged.
General Committee: January 15th 1923

The General Manager reported that out of the total of 2,500 Home Safes 1,500 had already been issued, and the Committee considered the question of ordering a further supply. The Committee were informed that if the order were given immediately, the Contractors would probably be in a position to continue delivery when the present Contract was completed.

The Contractors had informed the General Manager that in view of the heavy expenditure which they had incurred in order to provide machinery and tools to carry out their Contract, they could not see their way to offer any reduction in price for a repeat order of 2,500.

1323 RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be directed to place an order with Messrs Wilkins and Wright for a further supply of 2,500 Home Safes to the approved design at the price of 6/- each; and that the Town Clerk be instructed to prepare and, if necessary, affix the Corporate Seal to any required documents.
General Committee: February 19th 1923

On Minute No 1323, the following report of the Town Clerk was received:


Town Clerk's Office

17th February 1923

Home Safes

In accordance with the above resolution I have prepared and completed a Supplemental Contract with Wilkins & Wright Limited for the further supply of 2,500 Home Safes.

The Corporate Common Seal has been affixed to the document.


1347 RESOLVED:- That Minute No 1323 be discharged.
Report of General Manager on the working of the Bank for the Year ended March 31st 1923

Home Safes

Saving by means of Home Safes was introduced in December last, and at the end of March 2,469 Home Safes were held by depositors. By this method a sum of 1,687. 5. 8 has been received.


Report of the General Manager: October 8th 1923


Home Safes.

At the end of September 1923 there were in the hands of depositors 3,931 Home Safes, while 1,069 were in stock. This disposes of the orders placed with the makers to date.

The makers have 500 in stock at their works which they are prepared to supply at 5/6 each net. This price is 6d per safe less than what we paid previously.

If a repeat order is given for 2,500 safes over and above the 500 referred to, the makers are prepared to supply at 5/3d per safe net.


Finance Sub-Committee: October 8th 1923

RESOLVED:- That the General Manager be recommended to accept the offer of Messrs Wilkins & Wright Limited, referred to in the foregoing Report, and to instruct the Town Clerk to prepare and seal the necessary supplemental contract.


Report of Finance Sub-Committee: October 15th 1923

Home Safes

Your Sub-Committee report that the whole of the 5,000 Home Safes ordered have now been received from the Makers. Of these 3,931 were in the hands of Depositors at the 30th September, 1923, leaving 1,069 in stock.

The makers have a further 500 in stock at their works, which they are prepared to supply at 5/6d. each net, being 6d. per Safe less than the previous price. The makers have also intimated that they are prepared, if a repeat order is given for an additional 2,500 Safes, to supply the same at a cost of 5/3d. per Safe net.

Your Sub-Committee recommend that the offer referred to be accepted and that the Town Clerk be instructed to enter into and affix the Corporate Seal to a Supplemental Contract with Messrs Wilkins & Wright Limited for the supply of 500 Home Safes at 5/6d. each and for 2,500 at 5/3d. each.


General Committee: October 15th 1923

1530 RESOLVED:- That the offer of Messrs Wilkins & Wright Ltd to supply a further 500 Home Safes at a cost of 5/6d. each and an additional 2,500 Safes at a cost of 5/3d. each to the approved design be accepted, and that the Town Clerk be instructed to prepare and affix the Corporate Seal to the necessary Supplemental Contract.


Finance Sub-Committee: February 11th 1924

The General Manager informed the Sub-Committee that difficulty was being experienced in obtaining delivery of Home Safes to meet the rapid demand for same.

It was pointed out that it would be necessary to make arrangements for a further supply, and the General Manager stated that he had approached Messrs Taylor Law & Co, in addition to the present Contractors, for quotations. Messrs Wilkins & Wright Ltd offered to supply a further quantity at 5/3d per safe which was, however, no reduction on the present price; Messrs Taylor Law & Co had quoted to supply at 4/6d per safe for a quantity of not less than 5,000, notwithstanding the fact that the provision of special machinery and tools would be involved.

206 RESOLVED:- That the General Committee be recommended to order from Messrs Taylor Law & Co, 5,000 Home Safes to approved pattern at the sum of 4/6d each, and to instruct the Town Clerk to prepare and affix the Corporate Seal to the requisite contract.


Finance Sub-Committee: March 10th 1924

With regard to the contract with Messrs Taylor Law & Co., for the provision of Home Safes, the General Manager reported that he had received draft contract from the Town Clerk who enquired as to whether sureties should be provided by the Contractors. It was also pointed out that it would be necessary for the Contractors to sub-contract in respect of the provision of medallions.

220 RESOLVED:- That this Sub-Committee do not consider that it is necessary for the Contractors to provide Sureties but that the Town Clerk be directed to include provision in the Contract for the usual clauses regarding wages etc. be made applicable to any sub-contracts.

Continued ....