Lochgelly Memories (4)

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Sheila Fitzsimmons.

Hi Ian. I would like to say it has been great looking at all the old photos of Lochgelly. I was born in Paul Street in 1947 and then when I was six we moved to High Street.

I used to play in the Ladies Pipe Band but didn't see any pictures of me on the photos  but could not make out what years they were taken.

This has been a blast from the past and thank you for the memories. My Dad was George Beveridge who was a bus driver
and my mum was a Walkinshaw  I left in 1969 when I got married and my name is now Fitzsimmons I used to work in the Drapery department of the Co-op.
So thank you for the lovely memories.  I am on one of the South School photos along with Rita Bathgate who I went on to
work with in the Co-op as well. If anyone wants to contact me then they can email me or find me on Facebook Kindest regards. Sheila Fitzsimmons

 David Jackson,


 Hi Ian.


I'm hoping your readers can help me locate some family members. I am not from Lochgelly but I am trying to contact anyone who could  have known my friend John Kirk.


He used to live in Bolan Square but later moved to Small Street. He joined the Merchant Navy in 1970 where he worked as an electrician. I know he has a daughter and  perhaps grand-children. I would be delighted if anyone can give me some information by contacting me on 07956540312. Please help me. Kind regards. David Jackson.


Alister Reid,
Hi Ian,   I had no idea if this site of yours was still active but I googled "Lochgelly John Sinclair" and up it came. This is a long shot in the dark but I was wondering if there are any living relatives of John Sinclair the baker.  
My father Charles Reid was born in 1907 and brought up in the Longside area of Aberdeenshire before he moved to Epsom in 1930 to become a Police Officer.  His closest pal from schooldays till 1930 was a baker - John Sinclair. 
In 1976 my father retire and cycled up to Crimond to see his mother!!  On the way he stayed with John, who had moved to Lochgelly where he had a bakers shop.
I am trying to trace any living relative as I have quality photographs of John and his wife's wedding. A long shot but can anyone help or lead me in the right direction. Alister Reid

Margaret (Dewar) Morton
Hi Ian. My name is Margaret Morton (formerly Dewar) and I have just seen a photo of myself at Lochgelly West Primary School in 1948 on your brilliant web site!!! I can't tell you how I felt.
I have many memories of my childhood spent in Lochgelly and Lochore. We lived in the Lochgelly prefabs at 14 Boyd Place while my Dad worked in the pits but we moved to Yorkshire when I was ten and my brother Billy was eight.
My grandad and gran, Jim and Sarah Henderson, lived at Yew Cottage, 19 Hall Street, and he had a cobblers shop at the top of Hall Street. I remember walking through the Co-op stables from grans to our prefab at Boyd Place.
I have no relatives that I know of in Lochgelly any more but its possible there is someone. If so, I would love to hear from them or anyone else who remembers me. My dads name was William Dewar and my mum was Sarah Henderson. I think some of my dads family lived in the Happyland.
I will continue to follow your web site with interest. Regards.
Margaret Morton

Bunty (McAndrew) Mitchell, Canada

Hi  Ian

Searching through your site I came across a 1933 picture of Park View kids which included myself and my brother Stanley McAndrew.

Stanley was an outstanding musician but  turned down a scholarship to college to join  the RAF and became a flight-lieutenant, being mentioned in dispatches for bravery and given the Oak Leaf for bravery.

Our grandmother, Isabella Mcandrew, told us that Stanley once flew his Spitfire upside down along the streets of Lochgelly just above the tops of the telegraph poles.

He was killed in a mid-air crash at the end of the war and his name is on Lochgelly War Memorial in front of the old St Andrews Church where we were both baptised in 1939.

I was overjoyed at being able to see this old picture and am having it blown up and framed to be placed in my home in Canada.

I did not recognize anyone else in the picture but was probably too young then. I wonder who took the picture and if there are any others taken before the homes were torn down in the 1940's.

I also wonder if there is anyone out there who remembers the photo being taken. By my memory it was taken on the front of the washing-line green.

Most of the parents were on the dole so it had to be a semi-professional photographer who took that picture and I wonder why it was done - it certainly would not have been done to make money for there was none to be made from out of work miners families.

Park View homes were very similar to the homes in Melville St in the Happyland with front staircases where coal was brought up from the cellars beneath the stairs. My mother (Isabella Smart) used to carry her washing down to the green to hang clothes out, held by large wooden pegs bought from travelling gypsies who came every summer to stay along the woods by Loch Gelly.

I went to Lochgelly South School in 1933 and on my first day in Miss Bird’s class she told me to hold out my hand and then belted my wrist and hand for “gawping out the window”

That woman intimidated me throughout my years in South School and I wonder if anyone else suffered from her bitter approach to kindergarden children.

Despite all that I loved my classmates and after school we played “Kick the Can” and  also “Pauldies” with mum’s empty polish tins as throws.

I lived at Park View where the children were  loyal and affectionate and I have fond memories of standing in line at the families “Wilson” and “Smith” getting asked if I wanted curly kale for my piece of jammy bread.

I used to go with a group of them to the Opera House to see The Three Stooges and when the house lights went down we would crawl beneath the seats up to the better padded chairs  to view the movie.

On Miners bath night the husbands knelt before an iron washtub and had their backs scrubbed by their wives and all the children would line up for their turn at the hot water. Sometimes I would accidentally get in line and have my  hair washed along with the rest! 

Money was tight and when I saved up enough for “The Dandy” comic it was kept in immaculate condition and then traded up and down the row for other comics. If you had damaged the comic you would not get a new one but one suitably tattered to match your carelessness.

I left Lochgelly around 1939 heartbroken at leaving all my pals and though I have travelled the world can truly say I have never met a finer or more loyal group of friends than my auld pals from Lochgelly.

I would love to hear from anyone who remembers that particular period. I was called Bunty McAndrew and lived at 30 Parkview. I could see the Happyland from my bedroom window and it was right beside the Pit and Bings.

I visited from Canada in 1971 but the entire row of houses had been demolished. Again my heartfelt thanks for the connection you provided to part of my life's history 81 years ago. All the Best. Bunty McAndrew(Marjory Mitchell)


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