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T Cecil Howitt, FRIBA
Architect - Broad Street Head Office
Thomas Cecil Howitt was the winner of a competition, set by the Bank's Management Committee, to design a purpose-built Head Office in Birmingham's proposed Civic Centre in Broad Street. The architectural competition was judged by Sir Reginal Blomfield, and attracted 112 entrants from all over the country.
 
Howitt was born in 1889, educated at Nottingham High School, and was apprenticed to a Nottingham architect in 1904. Ten years later, he was offered the position of company architect at the Boots Company, but the First World War intervened.
 
Following a distinguished war service, Howitt joined the Engineer's Department at Nottingham City Council. In this post-war period, Howitt designed Nottingham's Council House, and then set up in private practice in 1930. He quickly became well known for designing prominent public buildings.
 
The two images reproduced below accompanied a press report regarding an inspection of the partly completed work in Broad Street on May 24th 1933. In the first image, Mr Howitt is shown in the Banking Hall, addressing an audience of about 100 members of the Birmingham Architectural Association. The second image shows some of the party which inspected the work - the visitors included members of the Bank's Committee of Management.
 
A report of the occasion is also reproduced below.
The new headquarters of the Birmingham Municipal Bank adjoining the Masonic Temple in Broad-street, were inspected this afternoon by about 100 members of the Birmingham Architectural Association and members of the Municipal Bank Committee.
 
Designs for the new home of the bank, the only municipal institution of its kind in the country, were thrown open to British architects and the competition was awarded to Mr T Cecil Howitt, FRIBA, of Nottingham, who also designed the Nottingham Town Hall, opened by the Prince of Wales four years ago.
 
The new bank is costing 84,000, exclusive of site and equipment, and it is expected it will be opened in October next.
 
Mr Howitt told the visitors that the Municipal Bank was one of the wonders of the post-war period, having more han 350,000 depositors and more than 50 branches throughout the city. The new building, he said, comprised a large banking hall surrounded by smaller rooms for administration purposes, and in the large basement there was a safe deposit containing 4,600 lockers, whilst there was reserve accommodation for another 5,000 lockers whenever necessary.
 
This was a unique feature for a provincial bank and following on German lines it provided everyone with a chance of having deeds, documents and treasures kept secure from all risks.
 
Mr Howitt added the banking counter was more than 100 feet long and he intended making a feature of the bronze grilles in the 16 archways because Birmingham was the home of metal craftmanship.
 
Alderman  R R Gelling, chairman of the Municipal Bank Committee, and Mr J B Surman, president of the Birmingham Architectural Association, were among the visitors.
 
(Evening Despatch: May 24th 1933) 
 
 
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