From our inception in 1849 our records were written by hand in big leather-bound ledgers. Each year, our collected passbooks from our members for audit, keeping them for up to three months. This continued until 1936, when we introduced Burroughes accounting machines which used coloured ledger cards – yellow for mortgages, green for subscription shares and blue for paid-up shares.
In the sixties Burroughes ABC (Already Been Converted) machines were installed when decimalisation was in the offing. On Decimalisation Day – February 15th 1971 – all that was needed was a flick of a switch to convert £.s.d to decimal currency, although the balances were changed manually. On the day before decimalisation came into effect, staff went through all the accounts rounding up the odd halfpenny and throughout this period interest was calculated manually.
It was not until the early 1970’s that we purchased our first calculator, and our first computer arrived in 1974. This was also ledger card based -a double magnetic strip contained all the essential account information and enabled interest to be calculated automatically. This was kept until 1979 when a second computer, this one disk-based, was installed in our new administration building in Foundation Street, Ipswich.
An extract from "150 Years On: A Century an a Half of Ipswich Building Society" by Ivan Howlett, published 1999.