South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth raised the proposed closure of the TSB museum in Ruthwell with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday during First Minister’s Questions- and urged the Scottish Government to back the campaign to keep the museum open.
TSB plan to permanently axe the museum in Ruthwell, which was the site of the world’s first savings bank and transfer the contents of the bank to their HQ in Edinburgh.
The museum is located in the “penny bank” established in 1810 in the Dumfriesshire village by local Minister Henry Duncan for local parishioners, which ultimately became the Trustee Savings Bank (TSB).
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s Questions, Colin Smyth said: “The First Minister will be aware that the world’s first savings bank was established by the Rev Henry Duncan in the village of Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire in 1810.
“The very building that housed the bank is today the home of the Savings Banks Museum, but the owner—TSB—has just announced plans to close the museum, to remove the historic artefacts from the community and to place them in its head office in Edinburgh.
“Will the First Minister consider whether the Government can make representations to TSB, asking it to put the closure plans on hold and to work with the local community to find a way to retain that important part of our nation’s history where it belongs, which is in the village of Ruthwell?”
Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, Colin Smyth said: “The First Minister has said she will look at the circumstances of the closure and consider whether the Scottish Government can make representations to retain the museum, which I welcome.
“It is important that we keep the pressure on in this campaign and that’s why I raised it with the First Minister. I hope it secures cross party support and we can put pressure on the TSB to reverse this decision.”
A local petition to seek a reversal of the TSBs decision has also been established and has so far been signed by over 2000 people. Colin Smyth has also tabled a Parliamentary motion to seek cross party support to keep the museum open.