The above photograph was submitted by John and Viv Benjamin, and shows John's mother (Edna) in the dark dress. The photograph was
probably taken in about 1942 and was reproduced in what appears to be the Dunlop factory in-house magazine. Although the caption An Opening Scene was still attached, the accompaning article to the photograph was missing.
The scene recorded may be the first
day of operation for the Fort Dunlop Works Branch. It is known that Edna Benjamin worked in Dunlop's Accounts Department,
and she may have assisted in the running of the Company's Savings Counter, which was probably set up in the factory in order to
expedite the workers' savings for the War effort.
The probability of the 1942 date is supported by a letter sent to the Birmingham
Gazette, by the Chairman of the Birmingham Savings Committee (Sir Ernest Canning), dated September 9th 1942:
Sir, - How many thousands
of workers to-day have become their own bankers, carrying their bigger wages around with them in their wallets?
Sir Kingsley Wood has
just announced that July's note circulation was £7,000,000 more than a year ago. Much of the increase must have gone to wage earners
who have never had bank accounts, and, with the present restrictions on spending, it seems likely that a good many of them just keep
the extra money in their pockets (although the notes circulated in July were more, savings were less).
If the wage earners will not
go to the bank, why should the bank not go to him? Already, up here in the Midlands, Fort Dunlop is providing its workers with facilities
for adding to the country's savings by making deposits in the Birmingham Municipal Bank or the Post Office there on the spot. The
more this can be done within our great factories, the better, surely, for the wage earner, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the
nation at large?
Ernest R Canning
The Birmingham Gazette (dated October 5th 1950) also featured a article relating to
the facility at Fort Dunlop:
More than 5,000 workers at Fort Dunlop, Birmingham, instead of taking all their wages home each week,
leave in the factory bank as much as they can spare.
Some weeks they 'bank' 10s. After good weeks the sum is often far more.
has increased the weekly savings total for the works from £200 to £2,000, and the average amount saved by the workers from 4s. 2d.
to 10s. 6d.
Any man, Mr Stanley Smith, secretary of the industrial group of the Birmingham Savings Committee, told the 'Birmingham
Gazette' yesterday, could draw up to £3 at any time.
The scheme has worked well at Dunlops and I think it should work equally well
in other factories.
Workers feel that the variable savings scheme puts more method into their thrift.
The itch to spend when there is
a little more in the pay-packet is removed.
As one worker said to me last week: "The missus says it's a godsend to her, and removes
much of the worry of housekeeping. When she does need a little extra for the kids I can go and draw it".
Mr R Clamp, chairman of Birmingham
Savings Association's Industrial Committee, said the city had led the country in the matter of savings in the last complete half-year.
of industrial savings groups, he claimed, had put saving on a permanent basis. Amounts now being saved were infinitely greater then
The present tendency for a decline was not reflected in Birmingham. In the Municipal Bank alone balances due to depositors
had risen from £31,589,387 in 1940 to over £85m.