A closer look at the Allied Irish Bank in Marlborough Place, Brighton reveals lots of non-financial detail. First, the clock with its fishy bracket is dated 1933 - the year the building was erected. (Click here for a photograph of its predecessor.)
Above the windows are reliefs by Joseph Cribb depicting various construction trades (the architect is modelled on none other than John Leopold Denman, actual architect of this building). Cribb was Eric Gill's first apprentice, working with him from 1906 until Gill's death in 1940, although from the 1920s he also undertook work on his own account. He had moved with Gill to Ditchling where they were founding members of the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, a Catholic artists' colony near Brighton. When Gill moved away, Cribb took charge of the stonecarvers' workshop and would train his own apprentices.
The construction theme of these reliefs reflected the building's original purpose as the premises of the Citizens Regency Building Society. In a sense, it hasn't strayed too far from that use today - but the apparent incongruity of these sculptures perhaps reminds us that there are important differences between banks and building societies.