The BWI Archives

1891 ~ The Penny Bank


The Penny Bank

At their meeting of 8 August 1891 the Managers of the Ruislip School, in line with the Elementary Education Act 1891, had agreed to abolish the charging of fees to parents of children who attended the school. It is likely that at the same meeting the Vicar (Rev. T.M. Everett) had put forward a suggestion that parents be encouraged to place the money saved through the provision of 'free education' in a savings account for their child's future - The Penny Bank - and that this would be run by the school.  The Manager's reaction is not recorded on this occasion, though from comments the Vicar made in the January edition of the Parish Magazine that they were not very supportive of the idea, and this is reinforced when we find a record of the Vicar again raising the subject with them at their meeting of 9th September 1893. The reason for their unwillingness to support the venture was totally appropriate: the Vicar was asking that school funds be used to guarantee an interest payment to 'investors', should the Post Office Savings Bank fail to deliver a certain level of interest - clearly the paying of 'interest' to private individuals was not a correct use of what were effectively public funds!  In the event, the Vicar still went ahead and made the suggestion to parents that they pay the 'School Pence' into a savings account for their child at a meeting held by the Managers with parents on the 19th October 1891.  

In the November Parish Magazine the Vicar reports that he has run into some issues in relation to setting up the new Penny Bank: 

November, 1891
from the Vicar’s monthly letter:

My Dear Parishioners,
I had hoped to have been able to publish this month the rules made for the establishment of our School Penny Bank, but at the time of going to press I found this quite impossible.  A meeting of School Managers was held on October 24th, for the purpose of drawing up the rules, but on finding that one of the proposed rules was not in harmony with one fo the general rules issued by the Post Office Authorities for the establishment of Penny Banks, it was deemed advisable to postpone the meeting until further information could be obtained from the Savings Bank Department at the General Post Office.  I have been to London this day for the express purpose of gaining the required information and I hope that on Saturday next the rules will be finally drawn up, and sent up to the Controller of the savings Bank Department for the approval of the Authorities.  Until the rules are thus sanctioned the bank cannot be put into full working order; but that no further time may be lost before making a start, we propose to invite parents to begin to open an account for their children on the first Monday in November, from 4 to 4.30 p.m.; and we propose to open the bank every Monday at the same time, except in the School holidays.  I have made application for all the necessary books, and as soon as these are received the amounts paid will be entered in them – each depositor having a separate book.  To start the bank in accordance with the views laid before the public meeting on October 19th has not proved so easy as it appeared.  Time is required, not only for discussing and drawing up rules, but also for the Authorities to sanction them.  I hope, however, that by the beginning of December our School Penny Bank will be in full working order.

The School attendance is steadily increasing, and it is satisfactory to note this fact in spite of wet weather, bad roads, and sundry floods.  I take this opportunity of stating that the Managers intend, at the end of the School year, to give one halfpenny for every attendance over 350 made by any child in the mixed School, and one farthing for every attendance over 350 in the Infant School.  As the School must be open at least 400 times, and is generally open about 440, it will be possible for children who are very regular to earn a money prize of three shillings and upwards in the mixed School, and half that amount in the Infant School.  This prize money will not be given in cash to the children, but will be placed to their account in the Penny Bank, and if it should be found that a child earning the money prize has no bank account, one will then be started for the child with the prize money.

Let me once more impress upon you the important of the great duty which falls upon all parents of “laying up for the children,” so that, when the child is leaving School and a little money may be required to start that child in service, you may have the satisfaction of knowing that there is something in the Savings Bank available for the purpose, if need so require.  And I would further hope that the children themselves will so value the efforts made on their behalf as to induce them to save of their own gifts in early life, or of their earnings when they go out to work after leaving School, by regularly putting by some little sum every week or month, which they will surely find to be a help in after life.

Believe me,
Your faithful Friend and Vicar,
Thomas Marsh Everett

Eastcote, Oct. 26th, 1891

In the December edition the Vicar returned to the subject of the School Penny Bank.  He identified that, although the issues he had encountered had not been fully resolved, all the same he had gone ahead with starting the bank: 

December, 1891
from the Vicar’s monthly letter:

My Dear Parishioners,
The Rules which I have drawn up for the Penny Bank have not yet been returned with the approval of the Post Office authorities.  In the meantime, deposits have been paid in by the children, and an account opened at the village Post Office under the title of the Ruislip School Penny Bank.  Fifty-seven children have already joined the Bank, and each depositor will have a book given out on the first Monday in December, in which all previous payments made during November will be entered.  On future days, when deposits are made, the books must be brought to the school and an entry will be made in each book of the amount paid in by each depositor. There would still appear to be many children who have not yet joined the Bank, and whose parents could well afford to put by in the Bank, in the children’s names, the weekly pence they have hitherto paid for their education.  I hope that more children will join during December, as I should like to think that the hundred Bank books which have been sent to me will all be required before the beginning of a new year.  I must postpone any further remarks until the rules are published, which I hope will be soon.



First uploaded: 28 April 2018