David Banks is a Chartered Surveyor and Senior Partner of G Herbert Banks – estate and land agents. For many years he lived at Hill House Farm at Great Witley, and the family business is still run from there.
Having lived in the area for so long, and through his business activities, he has a wealth of local knowledge and has shared some of his memories and knowledge with us in the following two recordings:
Davids first recording: Banks_David_20141222_1_2_A (14 mins 7 secs)
|00:17||Great great grandfather Edward Banks||1815|
|00:50||Great grandfather Thomas Banks of Astley||b1840|
|01:17||Grandfather G Herbert Banks||1870s|
|01:42||Start of G Herbert Banks business||1898|
|02:10||Thomas Banks memorial Astley churchyard||d1906|
|02:38||Life of G Herbert Banks||b1878-d1946|
|03:21||Children of G Herbert Banks particularly Joan and Tony||1910s|
|04:12||Hill House Farm||1920s|
|05:20||G Herbert Banks and sale of Dudley Estate||1930s|
|05:55||G Herbert Banks and other children – 5 daughters and 1 son||1910-2014|
|07:33||Staff at Hill House Farm – Mrs Preece, Mrs Cartwright||1950s/60s|
|07:53||Tony Banks marriage to Joan||1941|
|08:40||Marriages of other children of G Herbert Banks||1940s|
|09:19||Grove Farm, Dunley||1940s|
|09:46||Farming/living at Wichenford||1958 – 2014|
|10:25||Other Banks family members||1940s-2014|
|10:46||Land Agents; Chartered Surveyors; Valuers; Estate Agents||–|
|11:56||Development of G Herbert Banks business||1920s/1930s|
|12:30||End of tenanted farms post-war||1940s|
|12:53||G Herbert Banks and the growth of Kidderminster Market||1910s/1920s|
Davids second recording: Banks_David_20141222_2_2_A (10 mins 22 secs)
|00:10||Interesting family members – Captain Fothergill and the ship Sussex; death of son at sea||1850-1900|
|02:28||Children of Thomas Banks – Clifford Banks; Reginald Banks|
|03:36||Driving cattle to Kidderminster market||1920s|
|03:54||Joan Banks and Red Cross||1930s|
|04:11||History of G Herbert Banks firm||1898-1946|
|04:30||Impact of post-war building boom||1950s/1960s|
|05:00||Opening of more offices of G Herbert Banks (Worcester, Bewdley, Droitwich, Stourbridge)||1960s|
|05:47||Merger with Lewis and Silvers to form Banks & Silvers||1970|
|06:33||Sale of Banks & Silvers to General Accident Property Services||1987|
|07:30||David Banks goes back into business under the name G Herbert Banks in Bromyard||1990|
|07:35||Opens office at Hill House Farm and growth of the business||1990s|
|09:15||David Banks – Auctioneering at Kidderminster Market; Antique sales||1990-2000|
|09:50||Henry Sandon and antiques event at Great Witley Village Hall||2014|
The Firm is based in a family home, Hill House Farm in Great Witley. David’s Great Grandfather, Thomas Banks, was born in 1840 and for most of his life lived with Eliza, his wife, at Astley Towne. Thomas’s father may have come from Bilston in Staffordshire, living in Worcester before settling in Kidderminster. Thomas is recorded as a farmer in the 1871 census, In the 1881 census he is recorded as a farmer employing two men and six boys.
Thomas and Eliza had 8 children of whom George Herbert Banks was the youngest. They must have been fairly well-to-do as there is a large and impressive stone cross in the old Astley Church yard recording his death at the age of 66 in 1906. George Herbert Banks was born on 14th July 1878 and was by far the most industrious and successful member of the family. He set up the firm of G. Herbert Banks at the age of 20 in 1898. Initially, he had an office in Bewdley and, shortly afterwards, bought and opened a large office in Worcester Street, Kidderminster. No one seems to know why he started this sort of business but the family had many connections within the agricultural circles and this may have prompted him to enter that profession. By 1901 he was recorded in the census as being an “auctioneer” with his 16 year old brother as an “auctioneer’s clerk”.
Kidderminster Cattle Market was, at the time, run by Messrs Nock and Joseland. The premises were owned by Kidderminster Corporation but George Herbert Banks managed to enter into competition with Nock and Joseland thus setting up his auctioneering business in Kidderminster Market. He was so popular and successful that he quite quickly managed to take over Kidderminster Market which he ran very successfully. His business prospered and expanded and he collared the market in the sale of local agricultural property and farms. Even in the depression in the 1920s he did well and his accounts for 1927 showed a net profit of £2,108 – an enormous amount at that time. The war years were very difficult as some of his staff had to join up in the fight against Germany. Things were still tough just after the war and the pressure may have contributed to his early death from a heart attack in 1946 at the age of 68.He married Kate Machin in 1908. Her father had a very successful hardware business in Moseley, Birmingham. They had 6 children – 5 girls and David’s father, Thomas Herbert Fothergill, known as “Tony” Banks. Tony Banks was born in 1914. George Herbert Banks died on 8th October 1946 aged 68.The family lived in various places in the surrounding area such as Weatherlane Farm in Astley Burf, Sandhampton Farm in Astley and Foxhall Farm in Yarhampton until they finally settled in 1927 at Hill House Farm, Great Witley, which has been in the family ever since. Three of the daughters married: Ruth to Arthur Field, a farmer at Kyre, Margaret to Bill Rendle who worked for British Leyland in Coventry and Isobel to Peter Harrison, a London Architect. Joan and Honor never married and remained living at the Hill House until they died – Honor in 2000 and Joan in 2014 at the age of 104.
Tony Banks joined his father in the business in the late 1920s and lived at The Hill House until his marriage to Joan Neale in February 1941. Before her marriage, Joan lived at The Bank House, Stanford Bridge – a large and impressive Queen Ann House. Her father, Roland Neale, was a very successful Black Country industrialist who ran Radiot which made lorry and car lamps and other accessories for the motor trade. George Herbert Banks had bought Grove Farm at Dunley and gave it to Tony and Joan when they got married. They lived there until 1958 when they moved to a bigger house at Wichenford.
Subsequently, Tony Banks bought two adjacent farms. David’s brother, William, still lives and farms there at Cob House Farm. Andrew, the youngest child, who joined the family land agent business, died at 40.Tony and Joan’s elder daughter, Sally, married Nick Chamber who was a judge until he retired. Susan, the younger daughter, married John Maclean, who was a director of a carpet company in Kidderminster.
Tony Banks was quite young when his father died and he had to take on the responsibility of the expanding business. He was lucky enough to find two new partners to help him – Ron Bryant, who lived in Priors Lea by Astley Church and Bill Hartright who lived at Tibberton. The business at the time was still very much based around the local farming community although the firm had such a following that many non farming people instructed the firm to sell their residential properties. The old Kidderminster Cattle Market was becoming outdated and Kidderminster Corporation built a brand new Cattle Market in Comberton Place in 1952. This new market boosted the input of livestock and it was fairly common on a Tuesday to have entries of 400 fat cattle, 2000 sheep, 1000 pigs as well as dairy cows, calves and barren cows. Kidderminster Market was so successful that it drained stock from Worcester Market which, at that time, was run by Bentley, Hobbs and Mytton. Indeed, the partners from that firm asked Tony Banks to help them out and, for a time, G Herbert Banks also ran that market in conjunction with Bentley, Hobbs and Mytton.At about that time a new G Herbert Banks office was opened in Foregate Street, Worcester and this office specialized in the sale of residential property under the guardianship of Philip Sawyer and Alwyn Davis. After the war there was quite an explosion in the birth rate in Britain and eventually this fueled the house building boom of the 1960s 1970s.
Tony Banks and his partners took advantage of this situation and kept opening new offices and taking on more staff and partners. Luce and Silvers at Bromsgrove was another property firm that had expanded although it was very much smaller than G Herbert Banks. G Herbert Banks wanted to expand in Bromsgrove and West Birmingham and, following a merger in 1972, the new firm of Banks and Silvers was born. The combined partnership expanded until it had 11 offices throughout the West Midlands with 10 partners and approximately 150 staff. By the late 1980s insurance companies and other institutions could see how some of the more successful firms were prospering and they went on a buying spree. Banks and Silvers, were targeted by General Accident. The Banks family partners did not wish to sell but were outvoted by other partners and General Accident purchased the business in 1987.
The partners of Banks and Silvers were restricted from operating as independent traders in competition for three years. Three years later David Banks started again on his own using the original business name of G Herbert Banks.
David had joined the family business in 1968. He married Caroline Hamilton-Russell in 1975. Her father was Lord Boyne who owned Burwarton, a large agricultural estate known between Bridgnorth and Ludlow. Caroline and David had two children – Richard and Georgina. Richard married Fen Gascoigne and they have two sons. Georgina married Louis Lallia, a Frenchman. They live in Mauritius and have two sons. Following the end of his first marriage, David married Charlotte Philips. Charlotte was the eldest daughter of Dick Philips whose family farmed three farms at Claines on the outskirts of Worcester.
David was very fortunate to have the name of Banks and the good will that still existed for the Banks family. David started with a very small office at Bromyard and a part-time employee. The business grew and he could see the need to relocate and expand. He opened the present offices at Hill House, Great Witley, supported by his two aunts who sold to him the 17th century hop kiln which he converted into the firm’s current offices. David’s son, Richard, having qualified at Cirencester University, followed as the fourth generation of the family in the estate management business and there are now three Equity Partners, one Associate Partner, a qualified Chartered Surveyor and further valuable back up staff of six.