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Savings Banks' Vocational School
Attingham Park - 1963
Students at a Savings Banks' Vocational School held at Attingham Park, Shropshire in February 1963. Top of the stairs (and top of the class?) are David Parkes and Ian Galloway, who both joined the BMB in the late 1950s. The other students are from various TSBs in Wales and the West Midlands.
(Photograph issued as a souvenir of the course, submitted by David Parkes)
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Michael Bourke and Larry Sharrard attended a similar course to the one above, and Michael was invited to write a report of his experience - this report was reproduced in the Christmas 1961 edition of CONTACT magazine:

 

ATTINGHAM PARK VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

On Monday, October 16th, Mr L Sharrard and I arrived at Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, to attend a three-day Course at the Vocational School. The School was for employees of all the Banks covered by the West Midlands Branch of the Savings Banks Institute.

Thirty of us attended - fifteen girls and fifteen boys - and we were divided into four groups. We stayed in these groups for all meals and for all lectures. It was explained that each group would be expected to discuss the lectures and be prepared to put forward at least two questions when called upon to do so.

As soon as we arrived, a meal was arranged, after this the School was formally opened and the first lecture began. During the Course, five lectures were arranged dealing with Savings Banks past, present, and future. The lectures staged demonstrations in dealing with depositors, conducting telephone conversations and taking transactions over the counter; after each of these demonstrations we were invited to make comments and suggestions.

We found the lectures on Savings Banks in the USA of particular interest. We were told that the technique of dealing with depositors is now almost fully automated; the American Banks make full use of closed circuit television, computers and drive-in facilities. All this apparently brings in big dividends as the starting salary for a junior clerk is - 850 per annum!! And for that they don't even have to make tea, just pour out the instant coffee. As the lecturer reminded us - "it pays to go west, young man".

On the last day, each group was given one subject to discuss and was allowed one hour to do this. A group leader was appointed and he (or she) then gave a summary of the discussion to the lecturers.

Attingham Park is approximately three miles from Shrewsbury and transport was arranged for us, plenty of leisure being allowed. After the evening lectures a room was put at the disposal of the students and we were allowed to play records and dance. Great care had obviously been taken with all the arrangements and nothing ever seemed too much trouble for the staff. Mr Sharrard and I consider ourselves fortunate to have been given the opportunity of attending such an instructive and enjoyable Course.

M P Bourke

 

(Mike recalled in 2014 that he "was under orders from those whose opinions mattered to write [the report and that] at the end of the course, the great and the good of the Savings Banks Institute world attended a formal lunch and three of the students had to stand up and make a formal presentation on topics chosen by the lecturers. I well remember that I was one of those chosen to perform this daunting task and that the group I was representing being completely unco-operative in helping me with my presentation. Their preferences were to discuss the 'Top Twenty'/the latest fashion (girls) or the relative merits of the Midlands football clubs/motor bikes (boys). Nevertheless, it remains a very pleasant memory of the happy days spent at the BMB.")

Note re American salary of 850pa - the salary for a junior clerk at the BMB in 1961 would have been approximately half that amount.