Images
 
Next Image

The above photograph, taken in Head Office's loggia, appeared in a Friday, March 14th 1958 newspaper article that was preserved by Albert Williams, who also appears to have obtained the autograph of the subject: Mac.

 

The article explains who Mac was:

 

Today is the 65th birthday of Patrick J McQuaid and the quarter of a million customers who, as commissionaire, he shepherds annually into the Broad Street head office of Birmingham Municipal Bank, no doubt all wish to be as hale and hearty at that age.
Nevertheless, 65 is time to go, so from today the portals of the bank will know 'Mac' no more and a stolid cheery personality will be missing.
With naval tidiness, for he is an ex chief petty officer, Mac reaches retiring age on a Friday. Equally tidily, his service with the bank covers a round quarter of a century, for it began in 1933, his first posting from the Corps of Commissionaires which he joined at Plymouth on leaving the Navy.
Born in Scotland, Mr McQuaid joined the Navy as a boy and was serving aboard the light cruiser Cordelia at the Battle of Jutland. As a naval rigger and diver he was working in the depths when present-day devotees of the underwater craze were very small fry.
Recalled to the Navy in the second world war, he was an instructor in seamanship at Plymouth, which was far worse than Jutland. In addition to his medals, Mac retains evidence of his naval days on his left ear, which proved vulnerable to his boxing opponents' rights.
Mac, who describes himself as "a very ordinary person", is certainly modest enough, though he becomes the centre of attraction once a year.
This is at the party for children of Municipal Bank employees, when he always plays Father Christmas, a role for which he is admirably suited - if you can accept a Santa with a Scottish accent.
Two hobbies divide Mac's leisure-time allegiance. He is a competent painter and cartoonist, and a wood-carver - of anything from a model of the Golden Hind to a lifelike relief of Earl Attlee on a presentation plaque. He also has the old sailor's trick of building boats in bottles.
Mr McQuaid intends that his retirement shall really be a retirement. He lives with his wife at Selly Oak, and they have two sons, both schoolteachers.
 
'Mac' also featured in two earlier newspaper articles. The images and captions in these articles are reproduced here:
March 1956 article:
 
Every afternoon at the hour of closing a startling clatter echoes through the entire bank building. It sounds like the Changing of the Guard; but the initiated know it is only the commissionaire, Mr Joseph McQuaid, changing the metal date plates in the main hall. Mr McQuaid, who lives in Cherrington Road, Selly Oak, has been working at the bank for 23 years. Previously he was a Chief Petty Officer, and served in the Royal Navy for 30 years.
October 1952 feature:
 
Mr Joseph McQuaid, for 20 years commissionaire at the head office of Birmingham Municipal Bank, is becoming well-known for his wood carvings.
It is a hobby he has pursued for many years; he began to take an interest in woodwork and painting during his 30 years with the Royal Navy. He was a boxer in those days, too.
Last year he won first prize for a model of the Golden Hind exhibited at the bank's art exhibition.
Recently, he gave a plaque of the Labour leader, Mr Atlee, to Mr J E Walsh, district organiser of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers, in thanks for help given by the union.
Now Halesowen Labour Club have asked for a similar carving of Mr Atlee, and Mr McQuaid has completed a further coloured plaque.
015
 
Home
 
Magazine-028