TSB backtracks on closure of world’s first savings bank museum - Museums Association

TSB backtracks on closure of world’s first savings bank museum

Initial plans were to close the site and transfer its contents to the company's HQ in Edinburgh
Closures Collections
Francesca Collins
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The museum is the home of the ‘penny bank’ founded by Henry Duncan in 1810
The museum is the home of the ‘penny bank’ founded by Henry Duncan in 1810 Rosser1954, CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Savings Banks Museum in Ruthwell, Scotland, has been saved from closure after a community-led campaign. Plans announced yesterday will see the museum building and collections given to a local partner or community organisation.

The initial proposition, as outlined last month, was to close the museum building and move its contents to TSB headquarters in Edinburgh, where they would have gone on display. The plans were criticised by locals, politicians and historians.

In an announcement, TSB said that the bank had “listened to the concerns of the community over recent weeks”, and will meet with local stakeholders to begin work on plans to transfer the museum to the community.

The museum is on the site of the ‘penny bank’ that minister Henry Duncan established for Ruthwell parishioners in 1810, which eventually became the Trustee Savings Bank (TSB). Before its closure for Covid in 2020, the museum was a popular attraction, landmark and site of local history.

George Gordon, TSB corporate affairs director, said: “We have listened carefully to the concerns raised by the community representatives and are now exploring ways to work with local groups to transfer ownership of the museum and its contents over to the local community.

“We are proud of TSB’s origins in the savings bank movement, so will continue with our plans for an exhibition in Henry Duncan House in Edinburgh, bringing this story to an even wider audience.”

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MP David Mundell previously called on the company to keep the museum and visitor centre in Ruthwell. He expressed his approval of the new plans in a tweet on 10 June:

Historian Mark Turner, who established a petition to avoid the closure, said he was pleased that “local voices have been heard”. He added: “This news sounds positive for the future of this fantastic museum and its historical significance for Dumfries and Galloway.”

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