Falkirk and Counties Trustee Savings Bank

Sometime around 2010 a member of the public handed in to the Falkirk Local History Society a scrap book containing press cuttings, pamphlets and a few remaining photographs depicting the story of the Falkirk and Counties Trustees Savings Bank from 1914 until 1962 and this short history presents a summary of the information therein, augmented by research in the Falkirk Herald and the Archives at Callendar House.  The scrapbook has now been passed on to those archives.

Illus 1: TSB Savings Week Medal from 1960.

It is well known that the first Trustee Savings Bank was established by Rev Henry Duncan at Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire in 1810 to improve the lot of his poorest parishioners.  The funds were under the control of voluntary managers or trustees – hence the name.  To encourage the trust of the public in such banks the 1817 Savings Bank Act was extended to Scotland in 1835, requiring banks to invest in government bonds and to be regulated by the Bank of England.  Essentially this meant that all of the money received by trustee savings banks, other than that needed to deal with everyday transactions, was held by the Bank of England to the credit of the National Debt Commissioners.  It was very secure and yielded an interest of between 3% and 5%.

The National Security Savings Bank of Falkirk was established in 1845 by public-spirited men who recognised the importance of individual thrift to the well-being of the community.  Its aim was to improve the facilities for thrift, and to increase the recognition of the importance of wise spending and wise saving, of self-help and independence.  As the bank was not conducted for private profit, its sole concern was to offer to the public the best service and the most convenient and remunerative method of saving compatible with sound administration and the greatest possible degree of security. Over the years the long list of trustees reads like a who’s who of Falkirk.  The first chairman was James Russel junior, writer.  He served for fifteen years with Rev Lewis Hay Irving as his depute.  Irving then took over the chair in his own right for a further seventeen years.  The first premises used were those of Charles Jeffrey the sheriff clerk and the first day of business was 8 May 1845.  After that, in the late 1850s, it occupied part of the buildings of the Commercial bank, then of the National Bank, and in the 1880s it moved to the premises in King’s Arms Court belonging to Russel and Aitken.  On 20 May 1896 purpose-built offices were opened at 137 High Street.

King’s Court is just off the High Street and conveniently located for the public.  However, it was also dark and a little secluded.  On 30 September 1889 the Aberdeen Free Press reported:

On Thursday evening, between seven and eight o’clock, as a lady was about to enter the Savings Bank in King’s Arms Court, Falkirk, with a small leather bag on her arm, she was suddenly attacked by a man, who snatched the bag from her, and ran up the dark close with it.  The alarm was immediately given, as there was a £10 note in the bag, but though the police were in a minute or two afterwards in search of the thief, he unfortunately succeeded in effecting his escape.  The bag was found lying in the close, of course minus the bank note, and though the police were all night scouring the country, no trace of the robber could be found.  An active search for the fugitive is being kept up.” 

Two years after the Bank’s move to the High Street it erected a gas lamp in front of it at its own expense to avoid such occurrences.

1845-1860James Russel jnr.Solicitor
1860-1877Rev. Lewis Hay IrvingMinister
1878-1890Provost Kier
1891-1901Malcolm CockburnIronmaster
1902-1910Ex-provost GriffithsBrickworks owner
1911-1915Bailie Bogle
1911-1931Bailie J.G. Russell
1931-1941George McLayHeadmaster Falkirk High School
1942-1949A.B. Black
1950-1951George Russell
1952L.A.B. RaeHeadmaster
1953-1960sHenry C. Stewart

Along the way there were many other savings banks in the Falkirk area.  In 1866, for example, Ralph Stark and some other gentlemen from Camelon opened a Penny Savings Bank.  A contemporary account provides us with an idea of just how important these facilities were regarded at the time.  After describing the squalid condition of the village, the account states that there was a promise of better to come. 

Through their exertions chiefly a Savings Bank has lately been opened; and the scene presented on a Saturday night by the crowd of children running proudly with their books and pennies to the bank, is a most interesting one.  Even these very “bairns” are now getting fully alive to the value and importance of having an account at their banker’s, and display little short of a grasping eagerness to make every penny a prisoner that falls in their way.  Amongst them there exists a positive rivalry in their weekly lodgements in the bank.  One will boast of her pound, and another of his thirty shillings, while both will be found thoroughly alive, too, as to how their account will stand with a full year’s instalments, minus the needful withdrawals.  On an average, the money deposited in one hundred transactions will amount to six pounds, several of the adult members lodging, of course, the maximum sum of five shillings.  The penny bank is this proving a greater success than was anticipated even by its most sanguine promoters; and, viewed simply as a moral training for the people, it is without question an admirable enterprise.”

(Gillespie 1868, 47-48).

The bank was open every Saturday evening in Camelon Hall from 8pm to 9pm.  Most banks required a minimum of one pound as a deposit.  Penny banks had no minimum limit and a single penny was sufficient.  Once a depositor had accumulated one pound, an account would be opened at the parent savings bank, which in our area usually meant the Falkirk Savings Bank.  The first Penny Bank was set up in Greenock in 1847 and the idea quickly caught on.

These savings banks were seen as part of the general self-improvement in the moral and physical conditions of the working classes.  In 1883 the Falkirk Herald put it into a wider context:

While it is highly creditable to the working classes that they have been able to carry on so successfully and profitably the Co-operative movement, they have still more reason to be justly proud of the great and increasing prosperity of their Friendly Societies, and the thoroughly sound principles upon which, for the most part, they appear to be conducted.  Indeed, the rapid progress of the Friendly Societies, as shown by facts referred to in the gatherings of the larger Friendly Societies both in Scotland and England during the present week, is one of the hopeful signs of the times, so far as the moral and social elevation of the great mass of the community is concerned.  It is in many cases impossible for the working classes, even by the exercise of the strictest economy, to make an adequate provision for themselves and their families in the case of long periods of sickness; and it is a striking proof of prudence and forethought that so large a proportion of their number should be found ready and willing to provide for such emergencies by subscribing regularly to permanent Friendly Societies of the highest class, such as the Oddfellows, the Foresters, the Crispins, and many others… fully two and a quarter millions of the population of Great Britain are insured by means of only one of these Friendly Societies to such an extent as to entitle them to regular aliment in the event of the heads of families being disabled for work by sickness in addition to an insurance being payable in the event of death.  These payments are secured, not as a privilege and much less as a charity, but as a right for which the beneficiaries have paid the full value in their regular membership subscriptions… In our own district the working classes can point with justifiable pride to a very large proportion of their number being connected with the largest and most secure Friendly Societies in great Britain.  In proportion to the population, the Falkirk district will compare favourably with any in the country in respect of the numbers connected with Friendly Societies.  The Oddfellows, the Crispins, and the Foresters are all largely represented in the district, in addition to many other permanent Benefit Societies.  Not only is the membership of our local Lodges of the leading Friendly Societies very large, but it is steadily on the increase.  This increase is greatly owing to the excellent management of these local Lodges, their business being conducted in a style which would reflect credit on the managers of any public Companies.  The Co-operative Societies in the district are equally well managed, and to the confidence of the public in that management is also to be attributed very largely the increasing prosperity of these institutions.  When we take these facts in relation to our local Friendly and Co-operative Societies in connection with the steady increase in the deposits in the Falkirk Savings Bank, they justify the belief that there is a growing improvement in the social condition of the working classes of the district.”

(Falkirk Herald 19 May 1883).

In 1883 one in three people in Falkirk were depositors with a savings bank, whereas in other towns of the same size in Scotland the average was one in seven.  The Falkirk Savings bank at the time included deposits from two Penny Banks. 28 charitable societies and eight friendly societies.  The branch bank at Stenhousemuir had £2,571 in the Falkirk Savings Bank and the branch bank at Muiravonside £359.  Of the ordinary depositors 1,699 were artisans and mechanics, 1,296 worked in an iron foundry, garden, farm or colliery, 527 as domestic servants, and the remainder were children.

The benefits of having a bank account were clearly demonstrated in an incident that occurred at Grahamston Station in September 1891.  It was thus reported in the Falkirk Herald:

“On Saturday afternoon an incident of a somewhat unusual character was witnesses at Grahamston Station by a large number of people who were on the platform at the time.  Two handcuffed prisoners were at the station in charge of two policemen, waiting the arrival of the 2.57pm train for Glasgow, whether, having failed to pay their respective pecuniary penalties, they were being conveyed to serve short periods of imprisonment consequent upon having committed a breach of the law.  One of the prisoners perceiving Mr Gentles, of Falkirk Savings Bank, among the crowd of people, approached him.  The prisoner withdrew from his breast pocket a savings bank book, handed it to Mr Gentles, and requested the sum of £2.1s on the strength of the entries contained in it.  Mr Gentles examined the entries, procured the money for the man, who not only paid his own fine, but that of his fellow prisoner, and both men were immediately set free.  The incident created a little sensation among the bystanders.”

(Falkirk Herald 23 September 1891).

Over the years it was suggested that the Falkirk Savings Bank should establish branches in the outlying villages and settlements to feed money into it.  In 1899 Camelon and Laurieston were put forward.  However, the attitude of the trustees and managers was that such places would merely increase the administrative costs and that it could set up Penny banks at them, which required less time and effort.  The Camelon Penny Savings Bank had been established in 1892 with the following officers – Rev John Muirhead, Alexander Brown of Arbuthnot, RM Sutherland of Wallside and R Webster of Camelon.  In 1894 it held £147 in the Falkirk Savings Bank.

Similarly in 1887 the Muiravonside Savings Bank transferred its larger accounts to the Falkirk Savings Bank.  Its trustees included Clarkson of Toravon, Henderson of Redford, Stirling of Tarduf and Livingstone Learmonth of Parkhall.  It had been established in 1876 as a “branch” of the Falkirk Savings Bank at the Muiravonside public school by Rev George Keith.  This was only possible because the operations of the branch were conducted by one or more of the trustees in person, assisted by members of their families, and there were no paid staff.

The Stenhousemuir and Larbert Penny Bank was established in 1861 and the local minister usually acted as the chairman.  The trustees included Lt Col Dundas, Sir William C Bruce of Stenhouse in the chair.  Again, the money was deposited in the Falkirk Savings Bank.

The Bainsford Penny Savings Bank was held in Rev E M Rate’s school and was open for business every Saturday from 4-5pm.  Its office bearers were David Rennie (Etna Foundry) and John Hendry jnr. (Carron Company).  In August 1888 Provost Cockburn resigned as a trustee and “It was resolved that, owing to the lack of interest displayed by the inhabitants of the district as to the prosperity of the bank, at the expiry of 12 months the funds to be handed over to the Falkirk savings bank.”  Ironically deposits immediately rose.

One of the main problems with the smaller community banks was maintaining the initial drive and retaining the interest of the trustees.  Often when the person who caused the bank to be set up fell ill or moved away from the district it was hard to replace them.  The Shieldhill Savings bank had been opened in March 1885 by Walter Gardner the headmaster there and its trustees included Mitchell of Millfield, A.W. Gray-Buchanan of Parkhill, Clarkson of Avondale and Rev JB Mackenzie of Polmont.  However in 1899 Gardner retired from the school and became ill.  The trustees resolved to close the bank and £157, being the whole funds, was paid over to the depositors or to the Falkirk Savings Bank.

In 1901 Rev James Miller established the Airth Penny Savings Bank which opened on Saturdays from 6pm until 7pm.  Its funds were deposited weekly into the Falkirk Savings Bank and by September 1903 amounted to almost £400.  The Carron Bank was broken up in 1904 as they could not get a sufficient number of officials willing to devote their time to carrying on.  While the Carron Bank had been discontinued, part of the deposits there had been transferred to the Bank at Stenhousemuir, and about half of the money had been brought back to the Falkirk Savings bank.  At the beginning of 1903 there were seven penny banks, 46 charitable societies and 43 friendly societies with deposits in the Falkirk Savings Bank.

The Falkirk Savings Bank was also content to have complementary banks in these communities.  They were effectively savings banks established on the same principles as the Falkirk Savings Bank which, instead of sending their monetary deposits to London, merely became depositors in the Falkirk Bank.  Whilst the money therefore appeared on the Falkirk Savings Bank’s account, making it look good on paper, it did not benefit from the interest.  Each of these complementary banks had its own prime movers, usually a minister, and its own set of trustees.  Rather confusingly, they were often referred to as branches of the Falkirk Savings Bank and in 1892 these included Stenhousemuir, Muiravonside, Shieldhill, Avonbridge and Carron.  The Falkirk bank itself was only open three days a week at this time.

The very next year, in 1900, Mr Mackay decided that he was not going to continue his work on the Grangemouth Savings Bank and he wrote to the Falkirk Savings Bank asking if it would take it over.  The Falkirk trustees evidently did not want the expense of a branch office and on their first visit to Grangemouth to see the trustees there they must have explained that they could take over the deposits but not the use of the office.  On their second visit they came to an agreement – they would be willing to receive the money lodged in the Grangemouth bank in the same way as they did for the Carron and Stenhousemuir Banks.  They would pay the Grangemouth depositors the same rate of interest as was paid to the Falkirk depositors.  On 20 November 1900 the Grangemouth Savings Bank closed to new deposits and in the greatly reduced opening times repaid those depositors who so requested.  This proved to be only temporary and before long the Grangemouth Savings Bank was back in operation and continued well into the 1950s.

The premises in King’s Court proved to be too small for the Falkirk Savings Bank and in 1896 it moved around the corner into a new building which they had commissioned from William Black the architect.  This presented an imposing and grand façade, typical of banks, to the High Street.  By 1903 the National Security Savings Bank of Falkirk had formally become known as the Falkirk Savings Bank, an abbreviated form which had been in common usage for decades.

Illus 3: The 1896 building shown on the cover of the 1901 Annual Report.

With the opening of a Special Investment Department on 18 January 1905 the Falkirk and Counties Trustee Savings Bank

“extended the scope of its operation, enhanced its prestige, and conferred substantial and ever-increasing benefits, not only on its ordinary depositors, but also on the community as a whole.”

The money was used to provide guaranteed loans for local government projects for such things as the necessary infrastructure required for electricity and water services, and for the construction of houses.  In a similar manner as the Camelon Savings Bank had used its money to improve the village’s sanitation and roads.  Another expansion of the Falkirk Savings Bank’s work was the opening of the Government Stock Department in 1914. At the 1912 annual general meeting of the Falkirk Savings Bank, Robert Hunter put forward a case for establishing branches at Stenhousemuir and Camelon as the first stage of further expansion and for setting up Penny banks in schools in the manner that had been done by savings banks in other areas.  For once there was agreement that this should happen.  After 1914 the new Actuary, Alexander Grant, was made responsible for this policy.  This he did with enthusiasm and by 1915 the concept of a branch bank had not only been accepted but prosecuted with vigour with branches at Main Street in Stenhousemuir, Main Street in Brightons, Duke Street in Denny, Mar Street in Alloa and South Street in Bo’ness

The old savings bank at Stenhousemuir was taken over and its accounts transferred to the new branch.  Penny banks had been set up at the Brightons and Stenhousemuir branches as well as the head office in 1914 and had proved popular.  However it was intended to discontinue them once school Penny banks were established and the following year the school boards of Falkirk Burgh, Falkirk Parish, Larbert and Muiravonside, gave sanction for this.  Grangemouth School Board refused to participate.  Within a few years 25 schools had Penny banks.  Grant was also responsible for the inauguration of home safes.

At the beginning of 1917 the Falkirk Savings Bank bought a shop in Station Road, Grangemouth, occupied by SY Morrison, at the price of £480 so that it could set up a new branch in that town.  Times had indeed changed.  This was one step too far.  There was already a Grangemouth Savings Bank.  It had been established in 1842 and was thus three years older than the Falkirk Savings Bank.  There was a history of antagonism between the two banks.  Naturally Grangemouth objected to the competition from a fellow savings bank which had been set up with the same aims and goals using the same legislation.  It appealed to the national Debt Commissioners who called upon the Falkirk Savings Bank to withdraw.  In 1915 Grangemouth had been struggling and had wanted to unite with Falkirk on certain conditions which included retaining its autonomy, which was not acceptable to Falkirk.  So Grangemouth opened negotiations with another rival, the Stirling Savings Bank and an amalgamation was brought about in 1916 on the same terms that had been offered to Falkirk.  The new bank became “Stirling District and County Savings Bank.”  The Stirling bank had evidently felt aggrieved by the action of its Falkirk rival over the previous years.  It had announced its intentions of establishing a branch at Denny and had set up a committee there, only to find that the Falkirk Savings Bank opened its own branch in Duke Street a week later on 25 June 1915.  The same thing happened at Alloa with the branch opening in Mar Street on 22 November 1915.  On each occasion Stirling had withdrawn its plans on the understanding that each community should be served by only one savings bank.

The funds of the Falkirk Savings Bank had increased from £458,000 in 1914 to £2,785,000 in 1938.  In the same period the number of offices had increased from one to tem and the staff from four to 28.  In 1913 there were 17,954 accounts, and in 1938 this had increased to 42,619.

By 1923 the total funds of the bank exceeded a million pounds and it was decided to enlarge the head office.  James G Callendar was appointed as the architect and the new building was formally opened on 24 October 1929.  By that time the name of the Bank had changed to reflect its geographic reach.  In 1926 it became the “Falkirk and Counties Savings Bank” and this name appeared prominently within the recessed arch of the doorway.  Consideration was given to a westward extension of the service and in 1928 the Falkirk Savings bank offered to amalgamate with the relatively small Kirkintilloch Savings Bank, but this never occurred.

The following section provides an indication of the state of the Falkirk and Counties Trustees Savings Bank in 1938.  The bank consisted of ten offices, and its total funds were a little over £2,700,000 with 42,000 depositors on the books.  The bank was subject to Government supervision, and was inspected by the Banks’ Inspection Committee – a statutory body which submitted annual reports to Parliament.

In the Ordinary Department deposits were received up to an annual limit of £500 with compound interest at 2.5%, credited to the depositors’ accounts.  The money in this department was invested with the National Debt Commissioners, and the Government was responsible to the trustees for the repayment of the money so invested, as and when required.

In the Investment Department deposits could be made up to a limit of £500 and were repayable at short notice.  These deposits could be made by anyone who had £50 or over in the Ordinary Department.  The rate of interest payable was fixed, from time to time, by the trustees, subject to the approval of the National Debt Commissioners.  The rate in 1938 was £2 15s per cent.

In the Stock Department depositors could purchase up to £1,000 each day of any particular stock, and there was no limit to the amount of stock that could be held on the bank’s register.  Dividends were received and credited to the depositors’ accounts without deduction of Income-tax.  Commission on a low scale was chargeable on the purchase or sale of stock on the register.  Transfers to and from the Post Office register and the Bank of England register were arranged free of charge. The bank had always promoted small savings amongst children, and others, through the medium of Penny Banks in schools, etc.  From 1923 it also issued on loan home safes free of charge.  The key of each safe was kept at the bank and the customer took the safe there to have it emptied.

1845Alexander Smith Jaffray
1847-1857, 1860-1900Thomas Gentles
1857-1859T.Y. Mungall
1899-1913Archibald C. Rennie
1914-1951Alexander Lang Grant
1951 –Alexander Clinton Grant
Illus 4: An assortment of home safes.  That on the left is in the form of a small book with the title “Self Help” on the spine.

Another service was safe custody.  Securities and valuables were accepted for safe custody without charge.

By 1939 Britain had been through a deep economic depression and the national debt had increased significantly.  “Thrift” was the order of the day and in May 1939 was the theme of an exhibition in Falkirk Town Hall.  The nation’s three main savings organisations had displays – the Falkirk and Counties Trustees Savings Bank, the Post Office Savings Bank, and the Scottish Savings Committee.  War was on the horizon and the cost of living rose.  Rather counter-intuitively it was a record year for savings with £142,759 added to the bank’s deposits.  The following year to December 1940 saw a further increase of £206,680.  There was a phenomenal increase of £451,301 to the end of 1941 taking the bank’s total holdings to three and a half million pounds.  Gratifying for the bank was that the increase was spread pretty evenly across all of its branches as follows:

Head Office£208,900

In all, 22 out of the total of 32 members of staff served in HM Forces during the war.  Record deposits became the norm.  To December 1942 the increase was £524,760 with 2,794 new accounts.  Home safes had been presented for clearance no fewer than 7,451 times yielding a sum of £21,706.  The school Penny banks had deposited £16,609.  The increase to December 1943 was £614,836 by which time 20 members of staff were in the armed services.  The money, of course, helped the Government to prosecute the war.  The bank also helped the war effort by actively participating in the various fund raising campaigns such as “Salute the Soldier”.

18756,24686, 620
1939142, 7592,934,914

In October 1951 a party of Rover Scouts were given a guided tour of the head office at Falkirk as part of promotion – said to be the first such tour in banking history!

Illus 5:  Cookery Demonstration at Falkirk Gas Showrooms, March 1953.
Illus 6: Thrift Menu for Seven Days for Two Adults, 1955.

In March 1953 the Bank arranged for seven cookery demonstrations in the Gas Showrooms at Falkirk to demonstrate thrift.  Miss Ruth Murray, home service advisor for the South East Division of the Scottish Gas Board, demonstrated to a packed audience of 200.  It was so successful that it was repeated the following year and in 1955 knitting was added, with demonstrations from Paton and Baldwin’s at Falkirk, Alloa and Bathgate.

Illus 7: Presenting the National Savings Thrift Twin Set, designed for the Scottish Savings Committee by Paton & Baldwin’s Ltd.  Cleverly designed with the saver in mind by James Norbury, television’s knitting expert, 1955.
Illus 8: Interior of the Camelon Branch, 1954.

In 1954 the Bank embarked on a programme of structural alteration and improvement at its branch offices.  To improve the depositors’ privacy new counter sections were installed at Stenhousemuir, Bainsford and Camelon.  It now had 66 schools in Stirlingshire, West Lothian, Clackmannanshire and Dunbartonshire attached to it.  Mechanical computers were introduced to take the tedium out of record keeping and to ensure accuracy.

In 1955 the Alloa Town Mission Savings Bank was taken over by the Falkirk and Counties Savings Bank.  The exact date of foundation of the Alloa Town Mission Savings Bank could not be determined as its early records had been lost, but it was believed that it was the first savings bank to be opened after that in Ruthwell, in 1810.  Latterly, from 1854, it had been run under the auspices of Moncrieff Church, and business as conducted in the office of the Commercial bank of Scotland on Wednesday evenings

Illus 9: Road Safety Campaign leaflet from 1959 in support of the Scottish Homes Exhibition at the Falkirk Ice Rink.

In April 1958 the Bank ran a competition at Bathgate and then at Falkirk for children on road safety and health.  Twelve questions had to be answered and the first prize was a puppy cocker spaniel, which was won by a 12-year old in Bathgate; second prize was a Kodak box camera.  The campaign generated a huge amount of publicity for the Bank.  The following year the first prize was a bicycle.  Another innovation was the introduction of house visits.  Some 15,000 householders were visited by four married women from the bank staff, who had been trained for this purpose.  They went in pairs and apparently never had a door slammed in their faces.  In fact, so successful was this campaign that the following year it was adopted by trustees banks nationwide.

Illus 10: Depositors in Head Office during Savings Week 1959. The showcase contained medals from European savings banks.

1959 was also the year that the Trustees Savings Bank Association announced that it was to adopt the use of cheque books so that its depositors could draw on their accounts to settle household or other bills.  Prior to this they had to go to their local branch to take the money out, or indeed to pay it in.  The Falkirk and Counties Savings bank had a late night banking service once a week to help with that – usually on pay nights.  The big commercial banks were already using this system and had begun to entice savers away from the TSB.  The Midland Bank referred to it as a cheque system for “cloth cap” savers.  Demand for the change came from the south of England and the Scottish banks were sceptical.  It was 1965 before it became fully operational and initially the customer was expected to pay for the cheque book.

The big banks also led the way in personal loans and overdrafts, undermining the very concept of thrift upon which the savings banks had been founded.

Illus 11: The Machine Room in the Head Office at Falkirk, 1960.

A signal lighted up when either principal or interest was over-debited.  The machines were twice as quick as normal mechanical devices.  Other advantages include an immediate account check; automatic acceptance and alignment of cards; electronic check of pickup aggregate balance in proof of manual pickups; and automatic ejection of the posted card.  Posting of deposits or withdrawals could be made at the rate of 300 items an hour.  Trial balancing (with auto-reader connected) was at the rate of 3,000 balances an hour.  Capitalisation of interest at 600-700 credits an hour involving only one manual operation (the coming year’s interest rate) – all completely accurate.  In practical terms this meant a large reduction of time (up to 40%) taken at the eleven offices to post transactions; a 75% reduction in the checking of ledgers; virtually the complete relief of staff continually engaged on trial-balancing ledgers.  All of which meant that more staff could be diverted to the counter.  The machines cost £5,500 each and were made at Cumbernauld.  At Falkirk they underwent rigorous testing and in 1962 were declared 100 percent successful – a fact used in marketing future machines.

When completed at the Falkirk head office in 1960 the “Electronic Control register Posting Department” was the first in Britain.  A pilot scheme had operated from 1958 at Bathgate where a centralised ledger posting system was introduced and two of the adjacent part-time offices had been brought into the scheme within eighteen months.  The “mechanical machine” used was a Burrough’s Sensimatic.  In 1960 the remaining eleven branches were parented on to a similar centralised ledge posting system based at Falkirk using two Burrough’s electronic bank book-keeping machines, and auto-readers and a twin microfilm unit.  Ledge cards backed with three magnetic stripes were used.  These absorbed electronic impulses from the machines to record the last four figures of the account number and the aggregate balance, made up of interest and principal. 

Illus 12: The Comptroller General of the National Debt, Mr GD Kirwan, visiting the Falkirk and Counties TSB on 14 December 1960. He is seen viewing the new electronic-mechanical machines with HC Stewart (chairman) to his right, Finlay McRae (vice-chairman) to his left and AC Grant (general manager) on the left.

Between 1970 and 1985 the various trustee savings banks in Britain were amalgamated into a single institution called “TSB GROUP plc”, which was floated on the London Stock Exchange.  In 1995 it merged with Lloyds Bank to form Lloyds TSB.  In 2009, after further acquisitions, it was renamed Lloyds Banking Group and it looked as though the TSB brand would disappear.  It was resurrected, however, in 2012 when the new group had to divest itself of 632 branches.

Head Office and Branches

(click on hyperlinks to read more)

  • Falkirk
  • Alloa
  • Armadale: Opened 1 November 1949.  Premises purchased 1949.
  • Bainsford
  • Bathgate
  • Bo’ness
  • Bonnybridge: Branch opened 1925. New premises designed by William Graham in 1961
  • Brightons: Branch opened 1914.  Premises purchased 1922.
  • Camelon
  • Cumbernauld
  • Denny: Branch opened 25 June 1915 in Duke Street; purchased 1925.
  • Fauldhouse: opened 1950.  Closed March 1955 and business transferred to the Whitburn branch.
  • Kilsyth: Premises purchased and opened 1933, but only purchased in 1952.Altered offices opened 10 September 1958 with new counter and cubicle for privacy.
  • Linlithgow: opened 1950.  Premised purchased 1950.
  • Stenhousemuir: Opened 1914 and owned by the Falkirk Savings Bank. Strongroom extension, cloakroom and toilet, and central heating installed 1951/2; William Graham, architect.  New counter sections installed 1954.
  • Whitburn: Opened 7 November 1949.  Premises purchased 1949 and frontage renovated in 1955.


Falkirk Archives
The Falkirk Herald
Gillespie, R.1968Round about Falkirk.
The Falkirk & Counties Trustee Savings Bank File.

The original archives of the Falkirk and Counties Trustee Savings Bank are held by the Lloyds Banking Group in their archives at the Mound, Edinburgh – TSB/45 1845-1977.  These were not consulted for this article.

Geoff B. Bailey, 2022