Appreciating the service of Len Aspell
30 SEPTEMBER 2022
54 years ago I stood with some trepidation in my new suit (my first suit) plucking up courage to use the large brass knocker on the double wooden doors. A wooden flap opened and a face appeared and asked what I wanted as the bank wasn’t open yet. I told them I was reporting for duty and handed them my letter. The flap closed and they went to check that I was expected. About a minute later, though it seemed a lifetime at the time, one half of the door was opened and told to follow them.
Thus started my career at 1 High Street, Harpenden, 402311. After meeting the Second Officer, Geoff Dunn I was introduced to Judith Jenkins (then Judith Clarke or Judy) who was going to teach me remittances. They didn’t tell me she had only joined a matter of weeks previously but we muddled through next to the scary Day Book clerk and the even scarier First Cashier who used to bang things on the top of the partition and shout instructions.
I am still working for the bank as I Chair their Healthcare Trust overseeing the private healthcare plan with Bupa for staff and the Life Member plan.
On the second day I was called into the strong room to wheel the trolleys out. One of them had the till boxes stacked up and the Second Officer shouted 400, 20 and 10 at me. I had not a clue what he meant. Was it a simple mental arithmetic test? No he meant I should load £100 each of half crowns, two shillings, shillings and tanners. £20 of bronze thrupenny bits, £5 each of pennies and ha’pennies onto the trolley and wheel to the counter where the scary First Cashier was waiting.