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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February 2004, 16:09 GMT
R.I.P. Post Office Savings Account
THE POST OFFICE SAVINGS ACCOUNT BOOK has closed, after a long and happy life in which it introduced millions of children to Prudence, long before Gordon Brown came on the scene. It became the final withdrawal, going to the heavenly Post Office counter.

Blue pass book
Happier times
National Savings' Ordinary Account, better known as the Post Office Savings Account, inevitably fell victim to the unstoppable influence of hi-tech banking.

With its famous blue pass book, and a minimum opening balance of just 1, the account earned a cherished place in the hearts of young savers.

For many it was a stepping stone from piggy bank to full-blown current account; a sensible refuge for pocket money and crisp new fivers found in birthday cards from doting grandparents.

Launched in 1861, by Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, the Post Office Savings Account sought to restore confidence among savers after a run of collapsed private investment schemes (sound familiar?).

It was an instant success, helping ordinary wage earners put money aside for a rainy day while boosting the government's coffers.

But over time, poor interest rates and an increasingly vigorous private banking sector led savers elsewhere.

Latterly, the savings arm of the Post Office become National Savings, and the account renamed the National Savings Ordinary Account.

There are still 13 million accounts in existence, but neglect and disuse means that 80% are probably completely forgotten about. Each week, about 250 books are returned to be converted into decimal currency - a sign they haven't been accessed since 1971.

The account has been replaced by the cumbersomely-named National Savings and Investments Easy Access Savings Account. The blue pass book has given way to an ATM card and a 100 minimum opening balance.

Investors have until July to convert to the new account.

No flowers.

Add your tribute using the form below:

It saved for others, but it could not save itself.
Philip, US

Finally lost interest.
Phil Sears, Dorking, Surrey

Hi, can I withdraw my Pound please ?
Ciaran Stephens, UK

Too much LSD in the 60s
Neil Franklin, UK

Goodbye Blue Book. Gone and often forgotten.
James, UK

A life-less Ordinary
Matt Phillips, UK

Farewell my old friend, where do you wish the ashes to be deposited?
Andy, UK

Tessa and Isa send their condolences
Jason S, Southampton, UK

Passbook Number 9568 Blue stiff cardboad, current location Storage depot Vallejo California, Current Balance 1.31p but 18 years interest to be added.
Nic, Havant

Probably just as well....kids would have to travel miles to find a post Office these days.
Gordon Wardle, UK

My misspent childhood - gone forever
Jean, Australia

Please sign the blue book of condolence. Now where did I leave it?
Reg, UK

Pass-ed away.
Richard Alderton, Newcastle, UK

Withdrawn but not forgotten.
Phil, France

The savings book will disappear
Withdrawal symptoms, do not fear
Your hoard is safe, despite revamps
(Unless it's all in Green Shield Stamps)
Mike Yeaman, Newcastle upon Tyne

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