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Campaign increases to save museum

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By Abbey Morton
Campaign increases to save museum

A PAUSE has been put on changes to the Savings Bank Museum ahead of a meeting with stakeholders.

Following a virtual meeting between Ruthwell and Clarencefield Community Council, directors of TSB and politicians earlier this week it was agreed that none of the contents of the museum will be removed.

And a further ‘round the table’ meeting has been set up by MP David Mundell for early next month, and will take place at the Crichton in Dumfries.

In addition, a petition has garnered around 1500 signatures.

Community council deputy chairman Les Jardine said: “Our objective is to keep the museum and all its contents intact in its present home.

“Its historic documents and artefacts include many of which were donated to the museum by residents for display or as a local ‘archive’.

“If the TSB wish to sever their connection with Ruthwell, these items should be returned, if only because it’s morally right.

“They should not be taken to TSB’s Edinburgh HQ, 90 miles from their Ruthwell home.

“They’d lose their vital connection with our region and we’d lose a valued part of our heritage.”

Local MSPs have been backing the campaign to retain the museum, with letters being sent from Labour, the SNP and Conservatives, and a cross-party motion being lodged.

The meeting next month will consist of representatives from the community council, Ruthwell Church, the Crichton Foundation, local authority and cross-party political representation.

Explaining more about the museum’s position, Mr Jardine explained that under their previous CEO, Dr Paul Pester, TSB had a close working relationship with the community and supported the museum well.

He also said that visits to the museum were increasing before Covid-19 and they were looking forward to its re-opening.

Mr Jardine added: “TSB’s decision came as a devastating blow, particularly as there’d been no contact with our community on their intentions.

“Although their change of course has come as a great shock, it’s one we’re determined to reverse.”

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