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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Banking the old fashioned way

I came across my dad's old bank book the other day. It was a Midland Bank savings account and he’d opened it with the sum of 2 shillings and sixpence in 1936, when he would have been 7 years old. You could tell from the specimen signature at the top it that it was written in a child's hand. I wondered if someone had given him a half a crown piece specifically to open the account.

Money boxes with teeth

Our grandparents used to give us shiny pennies when we were children. I assume they were fresh new coins, rather than any they'd cleaned up by putting them in HP sauce like we used to do when we were kids!

My sister and I each used to have a money box made of metal which was made to look like a book. If I've got this the right way around, hers was red and mine was green. I remember the coin slot had jagged teeth so you had to be careful not to catch your fingers if you inserted any coins.

Bank holds the key

Once you’d put the money in, that was it, as only the bank held the key. So you had to take it into your local branch (remember those?) for it to be opened. It was invariably a big disappointment when the bank teller emptied it out on to the counter, as there was never as much in there as you'd hoped for. I blame the teeth - too much of a disincentive to anyone who valued their fingers to save any pennies!

Looking through dad's savings book I noticed that the smallest deposit he'd ever put in was 9 shillings and the most, £3, 25 shillings and threepence. The last entry in the book is October 1945, when dad would have been 16.

Spending plans

By then, with accumulated interest added, he 'd saved £21, 7 shillings and threepence.

According to The National Archives currency converter, his savings would have paid for 15 days work by a skilled tradesman and in today's money would be worth £759.47.

I wonder what he spent it on?

4 stone of wool or 3 quarters of wheat, perhaps?


2 commentaires

Wendy Percival
Wendy Percival
21 févr. 2020

What a very good girl you were, Helen. 😁 An historic time, in financial terms, for opening an account, given we went decimal a month later!


Helen Baggott
Helen Baggott
21 févr. 2020

What charming piece, Wendy. I have an old savings book from 12 January 1971 – the day after my birthday. I opened the account with £6 – £125 in today's money. I must have saved hard!

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