Penrith Remembers - 5

30th July, 2014

Penrith Remembers 5:

When you could buy a house for £240
What was the property market like in 1914? And what did savers get for their money? We invited Fiona Askins, branch manager of Penrith Building Society, to dust off some old ledgers and walk us through history.

“In 1914 Penrith Building Society traded from the offices of solicitors Cant and Fairer in Bishop Yards The two directors and the Secretary of PBS met for one hour each fortnight. The top man at the time was the Building Society Secretary John William Smith of Arnisons Solicitors, who took up the post in 1896 and served the Society for 59 years! I can’t see any of us lasting that long these days although I am in my 26th year here!
Number 7 King Street, the current home of PBS, was in 1914 occupied by the Cumberland Union Banking Company, who subsequently “sold out” to Midland Bank and moved into their more modern premises in Market Square, now HSBC. Charlie Dixon the chemist took over the building and we purchased it from him in the 1960s.
The old mortgage ledgers date back many years, however, the earliest reference I can find is on a property in James Street, No 6 and 7, which was purchased in October 1916 for £240.00. A similar property (No 10) was purchased in 1968 for £1,600 and at today’s prices no 7 is worth around £125,000.
The savers’ rate and the mortgage rate were on a par back in 1914 although there were, as today, properties purchased on discount schemes and premium rates (today this depends on the reason for purchase and all evidence suggests it was the same in 1914). The average rate for both savers and borrowers was 4.50%, meaning that £10 invested with interest paid out would have earned the princely sum of £45.00 over 100 years if the rate had remained the same.”

Fiona Askins
Branch Manager


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