Sunday, 3 April 2011

An heirloom!

My parents are in a constant state of clearing out their house. This means my visits usually yield at least one item of family memorabilia that I didn't know I needed.


Most recently it was this Home Safe from the long defunct Derby Savings Bank. This little safe belonged to my grandmother. It's metal, and even empty it weighs almost a pound (that's around 450 grams if you're reading this in metric). One side has a slot for coins and the other has a round hole for notes.


When I went round Birmingham's Back-to-Back houses, there was a similar safe on the mantelpiece of the 1930s themed house, so I'm guessing my grandmother's safe is from the same era. I am told that the bank kept the key to the safe to prevent savings being raided for the gas meter. You would have to take your safe along to the bank for them to open it and pay the contents into your account. Unfortunately I don't have the savings book that would have accompanied the safe so I don't know how much my grandmother managed to squirrel away in there. I'd love to know what she was saving for.


Apparently safes were manufactured for lots of banks across the country, and also for the Post Office. Do let me know if you've got one like it.

13 comments:

Joanna said...

I've never seen this kind of lovely safe before. It's fantastic that your parents have memorabilia to pass on. Our house is full of strange old objects (other than my husband and me)which I collect from antiques warehouses. I have had to cut down because the cottage has reached saturation point now. But I love these gorgeous things and try to imagine the history attached to them.

The safe is also a very practical way of making sure you save. Not something that comes naturally to me!

Teresa Ashby said...

What a lovely piece of history!

Suzanne Jones said...

This is fascinating. We didn't have anything like this, but my daughter had a piggy bank from the Dunfermline Building Society - we were given a key when it was issued, but of course lost it. By that time, they no longer gave these pigs out, but head office kept a spare key and we had to take the pig to them to be emptied.

XX

joanne fox said...

I love antiques shopping too Joanna. Boot sales, jumble sales, antiques fairs - I could go to something like that every day and not get bored.

Teresa, it is a piece of history in its own humble way, and a reminder of thriftier times.

Laraine Eddington said...

I think it is so funny to have a impenetrable bank. I have a son that probably would have blown it open with a firecracker.

Old Kitty said...

How lovely!!! What a find!!! This is brilliant - I do hope you also find the savings book - that would be just amazing!! This is so antiques road show - priceless!

Take care
x

joanne fox said...

Suzanne (sorry I missed commenting on your comment earlier - I think we were posting at the same time!) I hope you kept that pig as I believe some of those issued by banks have become very collectable.

Laraine if I had an impenetrable bank I think I'd never put anything in it, for fear that I'd need it back again next day!

Kitty, the book may turn up eventually, who knows?

Madeleine said...

No we don't have a safe. Hope you find a way to get inside soon. Someone will know how :O)

bazza said...

Having watched Antiques Roadshow this weekend I'm wondering if it might have a high value?
Also wouldn't it make a good starting point for a story? Now, let me think, who could make this into a story.....?
Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

joanne fox said...

I doubt it has high monetary value Bazza - but, yes, undoubtedly lots of story value.

Amanda said...

What a lovely find, Joanne.

Rosalie Warren said...

It's lovely and what a good way to save!

Niki said...

Oh it's gorgeous. My nan bought me a money box in the shape of a book. She would fill it with coins :) I remember the bank had the key to open it.