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Locations - Warwickshire

 

Photographs

Birmingham Museum

 

Shops

BIRMINGHAM. Beehive Stores, Albert Street. "The Beehive Stores in Albert Street had a similar [overhead wire] system. Incidentally, Jasper Carrot used to work there!" Charlie in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 1 May 2007. Photograph of exterior
The Beehive moved to new premises neary Priory Queensway with a pneumatic tube system according to the Birmingham Evening Mail. Paul Hadley. It later became a Tesco store.

BIRMINGHAM. Cable (shoe shop), Bull Street. Pneumatic tube system between ground and first floors in 1950s. (J.Eastlake)

BIRMINGHAM. Central Drapery, Smallbrook Street. "The last shop I remember using this system [cash ball] was the Central Drapery .. which, I believe, was destroyed during the war." Letter from J.Branch (Lamson employee for 44 years) to Daily Mirror, 11 July 1977, p.20

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Aston Brook. "Now passing the Co-op where they put the money in little pots on the overhead wires that shot into the cash box." Astonbrook-through-Astonmanor website

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Moseley Road. "We had the overhead cable system in the Moseley Rd co-op when I worked there." Maypolebaz in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 16/12/13

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Stoney Lane, Yardley, B25. Lamson wire system. Photograph of grocery department in A. & J. Douglas: Birmingham shops (Studley: Brewin Books, 1992)

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op No. 2 branch (grocers), Midland Road, Cotteridge, B30. Wire system. Cotteridge website

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Deritend High Street, B12. "I can see the shop now with its 2 counters facing each other... Over the top of both counters was another fascinating gadget, where the counter assistant would put your money and the ticket with your divi number into one half of a cup. This was then attached to the other half of the cup that was suspended on a wire line. The line ran the full length of the shop from the counter up to a small office raised on a higher level than the counters, and occupied by a cashier. After the attachment of the cup to the overhead wire the assistant would pull down on a handle and the cup would shoot along the wire to the cashier... There were 3 or 4 of these wire gadgets operated from each counter by assistants servivg different customers or produce. Small Heath Circle website

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Erdington, B23. "During and after the war years, I loved to go shopping for my granny, because it fascinated me to watch the brass screw on cups with the money inside fly along the steel cables to a central cash point, and back again with the change." Membership matters: newsletter for Midlands Co-op members, Sept. 2006, p.6

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op (grocery shop), Bristol Road/Oaktree Lane, Selly Oak, B29. "One of those marvellous old overhead wire contraptions for the cash". Ron Martin posting to Eng-Warks-Birmingham-L list, 5 Mar. 02

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, High Street, Small Heath, B10. "Over the top of both counters was another fascinating gadget, where the counter assistant would put your money and the ticket with your divi number into one half of a cup. This was then attached to the other half of the cup that was suspended on a wire line. The line ran the full length of the shop from the counter upto a small office raised on a higher level than the counters, and occupied by a cashier. After the attachment of the cup to the overhead wire the assistant would pull down on a handle and the cup would shoot along the wire to the cashier. She would then enter the transaction into her ledger, and return the cup in the same manner that she received it, together with any change, and your little divi ticket. There were 3 or 4 of these wire gadgets operated from each counter by assistants serving different customers or produce." Small Heath Circle website

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Strickley, B30. Cash carrier in 1940s. M.Widdicombe

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Turves Green, B31. Cash carrier in 1940s. M.Widdicombe

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Hagley Road West, Quinton, B32. Wire system.Quinton Local History Society website

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Kingstanding Road. "The Co-op was the biggest shop along here with it strange centalised
payment system, when you payed for your groceries the assistant would write out a ticket for the amount along with your dividend number, in my mums case it was 131718, place the ticket and the money into a metal cup which was clipped to an overhead wire, pulling a handle sent the cup wizzing across the shop to an office where the money was received and any change was returned in the same manner." Voices of Kingstanding

BIRMINGHAM. Co-op, Hall Green. "I remember the overhead wires in the Coop in Hall Green." Johnedward in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 10 Mar. 2007

BIRMINGHAM. Fosters, High Street, Aston. "They had them [overhead wire systems] in most Fosters. Ours was High St. Aston." Alf in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 30 Apr. 2007

BIRMINGHAM. Foster Brothers (clothing), Coventry Road, Small Heath. Wire system in 1940s-60s. J.Eastlake

BIRMINGHAM. Foster Brothers, Gooch Street, Highgate, B12. "I do recall them [overhead wire carriers] at a Foster Brothers in Gooch Street, Highgate. They used to be fascinating to a three year old child." Brunetteandred in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 30 Apr. 2007

BIRMINGHAM. House that Jack Built, Newtown Row, Aston. "The main thing I remember about this shop was no tills. You handed your money to the lady over the counter she would then put it into a tin and pull a string and off it would shoot, then the tin came back with your change and receipt." Richard Sheppard on Astonbrook-through-Astonmanor website

BIRMINGHAM. Lewis's. "The pneumatic tube machines were always a fascination. The bill was written out and inserted with the money into a tube and then quickly flushed up the system to the Cashier's Office" Jennyann in posting to Birmingham History Forum, July 2002

BIRMINGHAM. Marsh & Baxters (butchers), Rowley Regis. "They would take your money and place it in a brass container which they clipped to some elaborate overhead contraption and pull a lever. The brass container would then fly across the store on wires or something arcane which I could never fathom to return with the correct change when the butcher had chopped and wrapped your meat." 'Greymalkin' posting to Rowley Regis Online Forum, 24 Sep. 2004

BIRMINGHAM. Marshall & Snelgrove (high class dept. store). "The Linen Department in the basement .. was next to the 'tube room' where ladies in twin sets sat receiving the tubes with money in them sent via the pneumatic tube system." Best of British, Feb. 2013, p.43

BIRMINGHAM. Maypole Dairy Co., High Street, Rowley Regis. Wire system. Rowley Regis Online

BIRMINGHAM. George Masons, Handsworth. Wire system. The shop assistants would write out the 'chittys' and enclose the cash sending them up to the cash desk via a pulley system where all the calculating would take place manually and the receipt and change returned to the shop floor. Each area had its own accounts sheet." Handsworth History website

BIRMINGHAM, Nortons, Icknield Street. "When I was a lad living in Brum, we had used to go to a department store called Norton's, it was on the corner of Icknield Street and Key Hill. Norton's had one of those overhead systems." Brummie Boy posting to I don't feel 50, 12 /12/07.

BIRMINGHAM. Pearks. "I remember the overhead wires in the Coop in Hall Green and also in Pearks." Johnedward in posting to Birmingham History Forum, 10 Mar. 2007

BIRMINGHAM. Rackhams, corner of Corporation Street and Bull Street. In the 1940s and 50s .. Rackhams was just a one-, or possibly two-, storey building... At that time it operated only as a high-class haberdasher's and draper's... I was fascinated by its overhead wire cash railway which I think was catapult-operated.  The store was demolished in in the late 1950s and replaced by an altogether bigger and extensive modern shop. Michael Stuart Green

BIRMINGHAM. Radfords (drapers), Dudley Road, B18. Rapid Wire system. Part of system was taken down in 1975 and installed in Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry. Info. from the museum where I saw it.

BIRMINGHAM. TASCOS (Ten Acres & Stirchley Co-op Society), Bristol Road South, Rubery - corner of Cliff Rock Road. "A cable system [presumably wire system] with propulsions. The building still stands. The cashier was in a large central office on the first floor." Brian Dominic

COVENTRY. John Manners. "I worked for some time in John Manners in the Precinct where they had the more 'modern' Lamson cash tubes (a vacuum operated system)." Prof in posting to Historic Coventry Forum, 23/7/14

COVENTRY. Mountford & Jones (drapers and milliners) , 12 Cross Cheaping & 80-84 West Orchard. "The new cable cash carrier system .. has just been completed at Mountford & Jones ... By this most ingenious cash carrier system, operated by electric power, every department of the house is connected with one central and spacious cash office, to which the cash boxes travel at a speed of 600 to 900 feet per minute, round corners, up stairs, down stairs, through walls, floors, fixtures, and partitions with equal facility, and return at an equal speed, unerringly arriving at their proper stations. This rapid cash system .. [is] the first installation of its kind in this district (only three in the whole of the Midlands)." Midland Daily Telegraph, 6 July 1918, p.1

COVENTRY. Owen Owens (dept store). Wire system ca. 1950-56. Cash office in middle of ground floor or possibly on a balcony. Brian Hamilton Kelly
• "I remember that part of Owen Owen and there was the overhead cash system, when the assistant put the docket and the money in a screw up round box, attached it to the wire from whence it sailed along above the customers to the central point where all the lines met for the money to be taken and change given, then returned the same way to the customer." Prof in posting to Historic Coventry Forum, 23/7/14

COVENTRY. Store at the bottom of Trinity Street "on the left hand side going down just past Sainsburys. It had a centralised cashier with a series of wires running from each assistant's counter. The assistant would take your money from your purchase, put it in a tin with the bill, and send it on the wire to the cashier. A few minutes later your change and receipt would arrive back the same way." Historic Coventry website

LEAMINGTON SPA. Bobbys. Pneumatic system in 1960s. (Brian Hamilton Kelly)

LEAMINGTON SPA. Burgis & Colbourne, The Parade. "This .. had enabled the directors to complete the building of an increased shop frontage to the Bedford Street portion of the stores; .. the installation of pneumatic tubes in place of the unsightly overhead cash railways." Leamington Spa Courier, 15 Jul. 1904, p. 7
"Messrs. Burgis and Colbourne, Ltd., of the Bedford Stores, Leamington, have had installed in their premises a pneumatic cash system, which was used for the first time on Tuesday... Through this tube it [the carrier] is 'whizzed' by atmospheric suction to the cash desk at the rate of two or three thousand feet a minute... At the cash desk it is shot into one of the numbered receptacles, and .. as soon as the bill has been receipted .. the cartridge replaced in the tube with the corresponding number... There are eighteen sets of tubes, serving as many departments, and these are used by about 50 assistants, while the actual tubes themselves, 36 in number, have a total length of about half-a-mle, The tubes are made of drawn brass. An electro-motor of about 3 h.p., running at 1,200 revolutions per minute, drives a rotary pump, which displaces some 800 cubic feet of air per minute. This exhausts the air in the tubes, and thus induces suction by which the cartridges are drawn to and from the csh desk... A word of praise is due to the Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co., Ltd., of Cheapside, London, who completed the installation. Leamington Spa Courier, 20 Nov. 1903, p.6
• "In place of the old cash tube system they had installed Lamson Cash Register machines." Leamington Spa Courier, 10 July 1936, p.6
• Pneumatic tube system still there in mid-1960s. [Seems to be at variance with the above.] Taken over by Army & Navy in 1970s. Brian Hamilton Kelly

NUNEATON. Co-op, Queens Road/Abbey Street. Pneumatic tube system in 1930s-40s. "Minutes later the brass tube would crash into a wire basket with your receipt and change." Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society - Journal, Oct. 2000, p.8

SOLIHULL. Birmingham Co-op, Olton Boulevard. Wire system. (See Reminiscences)

SOLIHULL. Wrensons, Shirley. "Wasn't it at Wrenson's that they used cash flasks that whizzed round on wires?" Neil Varley posting to Solihull Online

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON. Debenhams. Pneumatic tube system. Steve Newman

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON. Fred Winter Ltd. Wire system. Steve Newman

 

Museums

BIRMINGHAM. Museum of Science and Industry. Rapid Wire system from Radfords in aircraft hall. (Also photograph in Palmer). The museum has reopened as "Thinktank" but the system is no longer on display.