A PIECE of local history has been uncovered by chance at a former bank building in the Hillfoots.

A bundle of antique cheques, dating back more than 131 years, were found in the loft at the former Clydesdale Bank building on the High Street of Tillicoultry.

Around 70 items were unearthed and the finding could provide some insight into how the town's mills operated as a local heritage expert has already discovered some familiar names among the signatories.

The cheques were stumbled upon by acoustic moveable wall solution company Style Scotland, which has been occupying the office space above Clydesdale Bank for more than a decade.

The firm recently bought the building after the bank closed its local branch and refurbishment got underway to bring it up to modern standard.

It all started with the clearing out of the loft and that is when David Louden, director of the company, was stunned to make the discovery.

The cleared Clydesdale bank cheques were all sitting there in a box, tucked away in the corner of the loft, dating back to March of 1888.

David said: "I was completely surprised, so much so I took them to Dollar Museum."

The museum's Mick Rice immediately took an interest and in turn brought in Susan Mills, former museum and heritage officer at Clackmannanshire Council and a trustee at Dollar Museum.

She quickly recognised the familiar name of Archibald, who had built a mill in the village.

Susan explained the find was interesting as a bit of Tillicoultry history and she has been examining the cheques to see what sums were being exchanged at the time.

Some totalled several hundred pounds, practically a small fortune at the time.

This is particularly helpful as there are little to no financial records from the mills, which once dominated the townscape and were the main source of employment and wealth at the time.

And the fact they survived in such good condition, having been tucked away in the corner of the loft for this long, was just as astonishing.

The find certainly generated a buzz in local circles interested in heritage and history, but it only came because Style Scotland stepped in to save the historic building from lying empty.

While the company started out when the global financial crisis started taking its toll, it managed year-on-year growth and was recently able to take over the property.

Not only did Clydesdale Bank close its local branch around two years ago, the brand is also disappearing after more than 180 years following its acquisition by Virgin Money.

Jon Richards, operations director at Style Scotland, added: "At a time when the high street in many towns continues to suffer neglect and dereliction it is great to have been able to save this historic building and to repurpose the space with one half of the ground floor being let to a new hairdresser business Cut and Run and the other will shortly be available after the renovations are complete."