There's no great surprise in finding nearest high street bank and building society branches are located in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Some names reflect mergers also combining those financial institutions. Cost efficiency may have swept away smaller branch counters, although cashpoint machines certainly beat long queues.
The General Post Office has since expanded services, and similarly fully offers personal loans, mortgages, credit cards and current accounts. Back in the days when few had need for a bank other than those running a business, the earliest Huthwaite Post Office offered safe transferral of funds by Postal Money Orders.
A look up Market Street before 1960's clearance of all older properties reveals the original Post Office, lastly taken over by Westminster Bank. Heavy door fronting right corner onto the main Sutton Road is where a National Provincial Bank was longer recognised, after listing both in a 1932 directory. In 1968 these banks merged to find that corner branch coming under the renamed sign for a National Westminster Bank.
This became retitled NatWest to reflect that companies later refocused attentions. But that came after decimalisation, plus more radical changes effecting entire 1990's financial markets. Their small Huthwaite branch never outwardly displayed any modern ATM machines prior closure. It likely foresaw the 2000 takeover by The Royal Bank of Scotland, who still retain NatWest company name serving elsewhere.
While Huthwaite did boast two banks, such institutions had generally not been trusted by everyone. For working families who could save hard earned shillings and pence, a secret biscuit tin or jar long sufficed.
Some prudently chose to invest with a Friendly Society. Commonly serving communities years before any national welfare, they were in essence a personal insurance policy against the costly misfortune of illness or accident as well as eventual death. There's evidence of a Sutton, Hucknall Huthwaite and Blackwell District Juvenlile Brothers Friendly Society, based at the Peacock Inn, Hucknall Huthwaite, Mansfield. But the year 1902 is only when the Chief Registrar listed it among their recently disolved. A charmingly titled Good Intent Friendly Society also covered a wider district. A more stringent Insurance Act, led this to be dissolved following 1913 sale of all land and properties it held for rent in both Huthwaite and Sutton.
Numerous smaller societies continued being run by locally respected gentry or businessmen already attuned to the elite world of finance. The various Huthwaite clubs largely come under names of pub headquarters, while adding separate women's clubs to church and company interests.
Rules governing a Sick & Dividing Society hosted at the White Lion Inn reveals undated fortnightly club subscription of 1/- plus 1½d for refreshments, would expect the princely sum of £4 payed out upon death. A good team of officials could nonetheless make further profitable investments to mutually benefit all members. Their annual meeting proudly reported record dividend of 19s in January 1932, and then a substantial December 1932 dividend of 18s. 6d.
Likewise discovered in Press archives are headquarters or named hosts of other similar clubs, who are represented in attendance at the funerals of members or relations:-
Peacock Hotel Sick and Dividing Society
White Hart Death and Dividing Society
Shoulder of Mutton Death and Dividing Club
Workpeople's Death and Dividing Club
C.W.S. Sick and Dividing Society
Wesleyan Women's Death and Dividing Club
Introduction of Unemployment Benefits, National Heath Services and subsequent Welfare assistance into the 1940's left redundant need for Friendly Societies. Except they had founded one specialised branch that survives today, after being officially first recognised by 1836 Regulation of Benefit Building Societies Act.
Many families sought a secondary income by converting a significant proportion of barely used roadside front parlours into shop fronts. Address 26 Market Place is where my mothers grand father Alfred Stones opened up a cobblers beside working at New Hucknall Colliery.
A comparable view of the premises shows current Accountants Office. Established in 1998 by Andrew Brealey, their services can afford companies other ways by which to save money. Nonetheless, the topic of banking is extended here by a previously opened office, through it earlier inviting a branch of the Mansfield Building Society.
As titling suggests, the Mansfield Building Society was founded in, and continues its independence serving nearby towns since 1869 with ever increasing profits. Their Huthwaite branch went by unrecorded until rudely ended by an armed robbery, which left all savers thereafter to find nearest cash counters in Sutton.
It was generally understood that Building Societies were primarily concerned with mortgage lending. Based on that lucrative business, their long term interest returns were usually above standard bank rates. Larger depositors did therefore favour Building Society savings, leaving banks for day to day current accounts. There's little difference separating later mergers.
When terraced houses began quickly expanding Huthwaite into a 20th century, they'd been largely designed for renting, either privately, or by the colliery that attracted greatest influx of workers. A 1930 Slum Clearance Act then led Urban District Councillors into building housing estates for the relocation of old yard tenants. In 1933 they finally adopted the governments Small Dwelling Act.
The Act offered a favourable alternative to assist lower classes into buying their own home. Its earlier proposal was also publicised from a 1932 advertisement by Huthwaite builders A. Farnsworth & Company. Posing a modern way of thinking it stated "Do you know the average man in his lifetime pays enough money in rent to pay for three houses and never owns a brick."
Existing tenants were rather slow or reluctant to take up such an offer, although attitudes altered somewhat through later generations. Interesting to find that a house then built on Barker Street could be newly bought for £370. When looking to purchase my first house from 1980, those aging properties were selling at well above 130 times that value. It may have added another incentive for generations of newly weds choosing to invest in purchasing their own home. And for those able to save up a deposit by regularly saving with a national array of building societies, it increased chance or choice towards acquiring a mortgage.
Spiralling prices coming on the back of national housing shortages reversed buying trends for a 21st century. There's no shortage of potential buyers wishing to step onto the property ladder this time around. But there's no guarantee of full time employment either, let alone comfortable wages to compare repayments within a previously acceptable 25 years. Private developers did restart new housing schemes, and they continue attracting commuters from more expensive areas despite stretching joint budgets.
Later generations may only have same choice offered residents a century before. Whether they can afford a private tenancy, or otherwise share cheaper rent and facilities in communal type flats and bedsits does not distract fact that modern lifestyles are luxuriously equipped in every other way by improved spending power. Even the way we handle money has seen significant changes, which hints towards opening next subject.
Written 13 Mar 14 Revised 24 Mar 14 © by Gary Elliott