Savings Banks Museum

2 Thwaite Cottages, Ruthwell, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway DG1 4NN
Kirklands Loaning Ruthwell Scotland DG1 GB

Savings Banks Museum is the birthplace of the world savings bank movement.

Visit this 200-year old cottage and take a step back in time

A world first! In May 1810, the Reverend Henry Duncan opened the doors of the world’s first self-supporting savings bank, in the parish of Ruthwell. Based on business principles, his aim was to help ‘the industrious poor’ to help themselves, by encouraging thrift. The Bank was so successful that the idea rapidly spread.

The Museum is located in the very room in which Duncan conducted the Bank’s business every week. Parishioners could deposit as little as sixpence, and received interest when their savings reached £1 or more.

A man of many talents The Museum also illustrates the remarkable life and achievements of the Revd Dr Henry Duncan (1774– 1846), ‘Father’ of the savings bank movement.

Author & Publisher Henry Duncan’s publications reflect the impressive breadth of his knowledge and interests. He founded two local newspapers and published a number of scholarly articles, as well as books. Philanthropist Duncan dedicated his life to helping the poorest in society improve their lot. Geologist His interest in geology led to the identification of the first quadruped fossil footprints to be found in sandstone in Britain. Artist He was a talented artist whose drawings skilfully capture the Ruthwell of his time.

Come and find out more about this extraordinary man, and his vision for a better society.

Displays include original ledgers, a collection of money boxes and banking artefacts from around the world, together with original sketches and publications by Rev Dr Henry Duncan.

The Ruthwell Cross This magnificent runic stone was restored by Henry Duncan. It is one of the finest Anglo-Saxon crosses in Britain. A scale model of the Cross, which he carved from beeswax, is on display in the Museum. The original, which dates from around the late 7th century, can be viewed at the nearby Ruthwell Church.

Opening Times:
April to September Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00 – 16.00 Bank Holidays: 10.00 – 16.00

October to March Thursday – Saturday: 10.00 – 16.00 Closed: 25th – 26th December and 1st January.

Group visits welcome, please call us to arrange. 01387 870640 or email

Costs: Entry is free, although a contribution to our TSB Local Charity Partner is welcome.

Photo Credits: © Savings Banks Museum

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