Although I worked in many branches during my career by far the most vivid memories come from the very first – 377 Maryhill Road, Glasgow, where I spent two very happy years in the early 1970’s.
At that time there were three branches in Maryhill Road plus one at nearby Queens Crescent. The one at St Georges Cross is still there, but 377 Maryhill Road and East Park have been closed for many years. The Branch itself was situated a block north of the Maryhill DM Hoey, the legendary Glasgow based department store, again sadly long gone.
As office Junior I had the dubious pleasure of the usual junior tasks, including going for the tea things where I suspect all the staff ordered different ‘treats’ for the morning break just to make life difficult – one Chelsea bun; one fern cake; one custard tart. The whole process took half the morning! And yes I was one of many naive juniors sent to buy round envelopes for circulars!
But more unusual tasks developed as I grew into the role: the building was overrun by rats and every evening I had the wonderful task of setting and baiting the traps. Blackadders the Butchers were customers and they supplied tasty treats for bait.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the first duty of the morning was to clear the traps! Most days this was a straightforward, if a little grisly, process. The worst incident happened when a rat had managed to escape the trap and was wandering round the office in a dazed state. Douglas Stuart, the Grade 4 at the time, and yours truly managed to dispatch the creature using a couple of heavy round rulers.
All in a days work.
Other unusual tasks included, on a Friday, delivering the change for Munns Vaults, the pub further up Maryhill Road (one of the few still there) in exchange for a refreshing pint of foaming ale. Happy days!
Friday also saw most of the staff go out for lunch, often to the Koh I Noor in Gibson Street. Other times I remember cooking up lunch for everyone on the Baby Belling cooker in the back office. Spiced raw beef ham from Blackadders was a particular favourite, although looking back I do wonder what the customers thought of the rather strong aroma.
At the time I started at the Branch the Manager was Mr Eadie (I only found out later that his first name was Roy) a quiet unassuming character but a real gentleman. The Accountant was Alan Cameron (subsequently Manager at Gourock and whom I still hear of.) He was followed by Jim Rosenburgh who I think was one of the youngest Accountants (24?) when appointed. Other staff included Carol McCrea, Margaret Winter, Isabel Purdon, and George Lind. I have very fond memories of them all. In fact, the words of Margaret still echo in my ear to this day: “Cmon Graham get a move on!”
Happy days indeed!