Lochgelly Memories (1)

Do you remember these folk?

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Folk with fond memories of Lochgelly have decided to share some of their thoughts. Feel free to e-mail me at Lochgelly@btinternet.com

Michael Sawicz



My name is Michael Sawicz and I came across your site while doing a search of Lochgelly. I was born in Lochgelly in 1956 and moved to Canada with my family when I was a year old. 

I think the house  that I was born in was on Hunter Street. My late father married a lady whose maiden name was Gillan. He worked in a coal mine called  the Jenny Gray in Lochgelly for about 10 years before packing up and moving to Canada.

I guess you can say I am really wondering about my roots and my place of birth. As I left so young I have no memory of my birthplace and would love to hear from any neighbours or former workmates who remember our family. Michael Sawicz


Joseph Sawicz, Canada



Hi Ian. I received your email address from my brother Michael Sawicz and you have already given him a lot of information about our old home town  and for that I thank you much more than you can ever realise.

I am the oldest in the family and I was about 10 when we left Lochgelly in 1957.  I have been looking for information on the school and church I attended, St Patricks's. Are they still standing?

Our great-grandfather, Francis Gillan, was buried in a cemetery nearLochgellly - I seem  to remember a railway track near it.

Our family doctor was Dr Foote, I believe his office was on Station Road up from St. Patricks school. 

If I remember right from where we lived on Hunter St. to go to Gelly Loch we went up through the park and down a road where my dad had a "plot" where he raised chickens. 

There was something of an old boathouse on the shore of the Loch. I think there was an old mansion at the top end of the park we turned left down a road then right to the road where the "plot" was located. 

I would like to hear from anyone who remembers me and thanks again for everything you have given to my brother. Regards. Joseph Sawicz.

Peter Starrs, Cornwall
I wonder if anyone remembers Peter Starrs who lived in South Street? His mother was Agnes Starrs and he had a sister called Betty Mclroy.
I believe his brother lived in Ballingry. Pete was my father and I am trying to find his side of the family and my name is also Peter Starrs.
I now live in Cornwall but remember visiting Lochgelly and especially the cinema. Can anyone help? Thanks. Peter Starrs.

Brian Wilson, Kirkcaldy

Hi Ian. Just noticed the new photograph of Lochgelly Ladies Pipe Band with my mother Mona Wilson (nee Davidson) situated at the very left of the front row. 

Sadly she died in 1999 and my father Jim Wilson died in February 2006.  As a family we first lived in North Street next to Suttie's shop and from 1965 in Cartmore Road opposite the first tee at the Golf Course.

The Lochgelly Ladies band were crowned World Ladies Champions in 1952 and I still have the World Championship medal which my daughter wears with great pride.

My mother initially worked in the Store bakery and eventually managed the Store chemist up to she retired.  My father worked as an oversman in the Nellie Pit until its closure and then worked for British Rail at the Wagon Repair Shop at Halbeath.

Would like to hear from anyone who knew my mum and dad or was involved with the Pipe Band. Brian Wilson.


Carol Manton, Kent
My grandparents Mills lived in Lochgelly and my mum was born in Melville Street in the Happyland. Grandad worked at the local pit the Jenny Grey and the family lived in the Eliza cottages  by the railway line beside the graveyard.
We would really like to know if anyone has any information about the cottages or even photographs, as the family moved down to Kent in the late 40s.
We saw mum on one of your pictures in fancy dress and she thought the sight was great. If anyone can remember mum it would be wonderful to hear from them. Her maiden  name was Laura Kirby Cowan Mills. Best wishes. Carol Manton

Wullie Davidson, Southampton
Your site brings back many memories, seeing some familiar names from the past. I was born in Hall Lane, behind the Co-op bakery in 1933, the eldest son of Bunt & Effie Davidson (nee Shand).
I attended the South School from 1938 to 1945 and then Beath High School. I served my engineering apprenticeship at the Minto Colliery (Brighills) and left in 1956 to join the Merchant Navy as Engineer Officer.
I married in 1959 and have lived in Southampton since then. I retired as Chief Engineer with P & O in 1983 and worked for the local Health Authority till 1993 when I finally retired.
I usually come up every two years to see the family. My brothers and sister live locally - Jim and Nan in Lochgelly, Ian in Glenrothes, Alex in Dunfermline and Andrew in Cumbernauld.
I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me from the early years in Lochgelly.  Bill (Wullie) Davidson  

John H Reid
Great site, Ian. But did you know that Lochgelly was the centre of the universe? No matter where you go on this earth you will find someone who knows someone from Lochgelly.
On my last visit to New Zealand, my brother-in-law, a retired commander in the NZ navy took me to a lunch of retired naval officers and , in the pre-lunch small talk, I was asked which part of Scotland I came from by a couple of the members.
When I said "Fife" one said "Oh, my mother came from Fife - where exactly about do you come from?" I replied "Lochgelly" and his jaw dropped before he told me "but that is where my mum came from."
Well, if his jaw dropped, his companions face collapsed. He said "My mother came from Lochgelly too."
Incredibly these two men had served, on and off, on the same ship for 30 years and were unaware of the common bond!  John Reid.

Pete Doherty, USA
Dear Ian, I was delighted to find your website.  My name is Pete Doherty (not the punk rocker).  I was born at 5 Union St. in 1935.  My brothers and sisters were: Rose, Mick, Molly, John, Bernard, Gerald, and Margaret.
We moved to 15 Richmond Place (near the Opera House) and then we lived at 120 Small St.  I went to St. Patrick's in Lochgelly, and St. Columba's in Cowdenbeath.

I started in Glencraig Colliery at 15, attended Fife Mining School in Cowdenbeath, and then served an
apprenticeship at Donibristle Aircraft Yard.  I left in 1956 for my national service in the Navy. 
Donibristle closed and I was forced to leave my Lochgelly friends, and my cycling companions from the Auchterderran Wheelers and the Ballingry  cycling clubs.
Some names I remember from those days are: Richmond Place: Eric Anderson, Donald Clark.  Small Street:  Dave Shaw, Tam Dow, Curly Wilson, Jim Scott, Adam Graham. Fife Mining School: John Keddie, Jimmy Logan, Colin McCullough. Lochgelly: Owen Conaghan, Will Wright, Jock Johnson.  Cyclists: Jimmy Fairgrieve and Brenda Dawson.

I worked in London, Glenrothes, and Motherwell.  I emigrated to Canada in 1966, and the US a year later.  I retired there in 1991 after 25 years with a local engineering company. 

I visited Lochgelly in 2003 with my wife, Patricia (Kirby) who worked in the Post Office, but we didn't run into any one we knew. 

I mention these places in the hope that someone will remember me from those days and will get in touch.  My son made a video of my life story, which was shown at our local library.  A newspaper article on the video can be read at: 


Pete Doherty.

Pauline Beaven
Hi Ian, I'm wondering if you might be able to help me - or point me in the right direction !!
I am working on my family tree and when I reach my mother's birth in Lochgelly, where I know she had relatives who remained there when she moved to Bristol,  the trail runs cold with regard to a half-brother - Pat Hynes and his family.
My mother (born Helen Nora Hynes) was born in Melville Street on 9th October 1919.  Her father was Thomas Hynes and mother was Agnes Hynes (nee Byrne).
My grandfather had been married previously and had two sons, Tommy and Pat.  Tommy also settled in Bristol, but Pat either remained or returned to Lochgelly.  I know he married and had several children, the eldest being a daughter called Alison who would be between 65-70 years old now.
We do visit Scotland occasionally and I would love to trace Alison or other surviving members of the family.  Can anyone help? Pauline Beaven

Eric Dewar

Hi there, Just had a look at your site with much interest, particularly the photo of Auchterderran Road featuring the McAllister family.

Patsy McAllister was my neighbour until we left Lochgelly in 1984. I grew up calling her my 'Auntie Patsy'.

My mother and father knew them much longer than I did. My dad's name was William Dewar who married my mother Mary.  Patsy and Simon were like family to us and we still keep in touch with her daughter Margaret.

Thank you for the site. I still regard Lochgelly and these people as my home and second family. I can briefly remember going to Patsy's mother's house in Walker Street in the sixties when I was a child. So many memories. Eric Dewar.

Jim McNeil, Canada
Hi Ian. Just picked up your web site, I found it very interesting. I was born at Brighills in 1939 and my mother was born in Lochgelly - Barbara Ann Hutton.
She married Henry McNeil and they owned the shop on High Street and also the newsagents on Bank Street opposite the Cinema owned by a good  friend Joe Timmons.
I remember the Happland well for I delivered papers there from 1951 to 1956. My dad also was on the Town Council. I am now living in British Columbia in Canada. Thanks for a good site. Jim McNeil

Helen O'Neill, Plymouth
Hi Ian. I have just found your site and found all the photographs fascinating. I was born in Grainger Street in the cottages opposite the police station and remember as children my brother and I used to go and play with the police family.
My name was Helen Baird but my father was killed in an accident in 1949 and my mum later re-married and I was always known as Helen O'Neill.
My mum Nan used to work for Peter Macari in his chip shop in Church Street. I still have family in Lochgelly which I still call home even although I have lived in Plymouth for the past 34 years!
I attended St Patrick's Primary School between 1954 and 1960 and I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. Helen O'Neill. 

Lorraine McGowan



Hello, I wonder if anyone can help. We have been trying to trace the history of my husbands great granddad, Thomas McGowan.

We know he joined the Black Watch from Lochgelly in 1914 and was killed in action in France in January 1915. He lived in Lochgelly - we think with a family called Posslethwaites. 

We would like to try and get a photograph or something just to find out some more about him ... anything really. Lorraine McGowan.


Tom Normand
Dear Ian, Good to see your site. I wanted to ask a question of anyone who can help.  My mum was born and raised in Lochgelly, from a large family called Reid (her father was called William Reid).
I have vague memories of my her singing a song at New Year.  It began:
'Ma wee man's a jigger
 a jigger man was he
 I met him by Lochgelly clock...'. 
The chorus, as I recall, went 'Strike me now/and there'll be a bliddy row...'.  Does this mean anything thing at all, or did I dream this? Tom Normand.
David Smith, Lochgelly

Hi Ian, I just have to say what a great web site, I've visited a few times but this is the first time I've came across the e-mails from around the world.

I am 44 years old and have stayed in Lochgelly for the past 39. Its a bit of a shame they way the town has gone with all the shutters and graffiti, the old place really looks run down, but its great to read all the e-mails from around the world of the happy times some poeple had during their time in Lochgelly,

People like Bryan Archibald from England, John Muir from Australia, (any relation to the Muirs we still have?), Ross Gibb from Canada, (I have relations in Abbotsford, Canada), Michael Kirk, Erica Deben but to mention a few.

It is so wonderful to read the stories. My father (James Smith, his pal Pottsie, Happyland kids) were born and bred Lochgelly.

To all these people around the world from a Lochgelly man, (you included aunt Pat and unk Bill in Australia, and family) I wish you all the best of health and a great future, but remember one thing, whair you came from, LOCHGELLY.  Davie Smith. 

Helen Lomas
Hi Ian. I have just  been trawling through the News section - your website goes from strength to strength.
I was in Lochgelly last week, and was glad to see signs of regeneration everywhere - new school, trees being planted and more imaginative housing.  
The beautiful building that is the Institute is still in a sorry state, but I have hopes that it will still be saved for the community. 
The Opera House has long been a landmark in my early memories... after all, I was born in a single end on the second floor, and distinctly remember it. So much so, that it constantly features in my paintings.   For that reason, and because this is the Lochgelly website, I am forwarding one of my paintings with the Opera House in full glory. Helen Lomas
Note - Helen's painting can be seen on Pics (4) on www.lochgelly.net

Jim Eyles, Alaska
Hi, I am James Gerald Eyles presently living in Alaska but I was born in Lochgelly on July 4, 1947.  My mom's maiden name was Marjorie Campbell, her mum Janet Mowat Kenny and my dad's was Dereck Eyles, a Brit from Barton, Yorkshire. 
I have lost my birth certificate and am trying to do the genealogy thing.  All I can remember about Lochgelly (I was wee then) was I believe we lived near the coal mine in a Quonset hut, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the address.
I don't know if anyone can help me in this endeavor but if they can it will be greatly appreciated. Jim Eyles

Rene Ponce K, Chile
Hi Ian, I am from Chile and I lived in Lochgelly for about seven years when I was a kid with my dad,  mum and brother who was born there.
We lived in Lochgelly from 1974 until 1981 and I have very good memories of living there. I studied in St. Patricks and lived in 15 Minto St., then went to St. Andrews High School.
I was looking at all the photos and trying to remember that time, a nice time.
Congratulations for this site. I´m sure one day I will be back there to visit Lochgelly. Regards, Rene Ponce K. (Valparaiso, Chile)

Bryan Archibald, England
Hello Ian! My connection with Lochgelly is directly due to my father Peter Guthrie Archibald and my mother Joyce. We lived originally at 77, then 79 Station Road in a block called Jubilee Terrace from 1950 onwards. 
My father's sister Margaret Archibald also lived in the same block. My father was a church elder at St Andrews Church, Scoutmaster of the 100th Fife Scouts and a close friend of Mr Dickson, Cubmaster.  He was also a choir member when the Reverend Musk was the minister.
I can remember as a lad going up into Lochgelly to Morrison's,(Mollison's?) Grocers, about 4 doors up from the Cinema and opposite the Lochgelly Times newspaper offices. I always had to have a note for the messages as my Birmingham accent could not be understood!
I went to the West School, then the old Beath High and finally Lochgelly East School where I won a scholarship to Tech College Cowdenbeath. Left there as a Pre-apprenticed engineer only to go into the Army in 1964.
Now living in the sunny south of England, Dorset, I am happily married - 13th wedding anniversary coming up next month! - and living with our two Samoyed dogs. 
I have memories of disappearing for days "doon the braes" with a tent and a rucksack! At the end of Launcherhead Road was a shortcut (the auld geig) up to the bottom of Cartmore Road, a route often taken by me to get home quick from the West School! Less effort than Station Road when you went back!
I can remember the Bakery horse being put down when it fell on the ice outside Turners shop on the corner of Launcherhead Road and Station road when I could only have 8 or 9! (I'm 58 now!)
Names I can remember? Alan Tandy, lived on Main Street just behind West School,  Bill Stuart lived in the flats opposite. Bill Rattray lived up opposite the pub at the top of Church Street, Robert Wilson lived 69? Station Road, His mother owned/ran the Queens Hotel in Main Street and his father worked in the Co-op Joinery at the bottom of Cartmore Road, (They were my godparents!)  William Walkingshaw, who lived down about 83/85 Station Road!
I can remember the Halfpenny family from Jubilee Terrace, and the Marshall family who went to Australia. Any more that comes to light I shall be in touch. God bless. Bryan Archibald.

John Muir, Australia
Hi Ian, I have just found your website, top marks for a great project. Looking at the old photos and reading the emails stirred lots of memories.
I was born in the Happyland (11 Melville St.) then moved to Kennard Street, staying there until the family went to Australia in 1949. I went to South School then Beath High from 1945 to 1948. Wilma Fraser was in my class at South School - any relation?
Jack Fergus' email brought back a lot of names and memories. My parents were Jock Muir and Annie (nee Anderson ). Dad was a miner and Mum was a "pithead worker" at the Jenny Gray when she was a young woman. 
I was last in Lochgelly in 2001 for a few days and was saddened at the condition of The Store. I worked in the drapers as a junior for a short time and managed a few trips up behind the clock with the maintenance man.
I also posted a letter from your P.O. across the road. I delivered  a few telegrams from the old P.O. equipped with the pouch and big heavy red bike. Mr. Seaton was the postmaster then, his son Chris also went to Beath.
Thanks again for a very interesting website, I will be a regular visitor. John Muir 

Rose Gibb, Canada
Hi Ian, Just wanted to say what a great site this is.  I came across it by accident, but what a happy accident it was.
My grandparents lived in the Happyland until they moved to Forrester Court in the early 60's.  I used to go to the post office to buy my savings stamps - Princess Anne and Prince Charles were on them, but I can't remember the denomination of them.

I was back in Scotland last year and had a drive around Lochgelly and I was heart sore when I saw what a state Forrester Court was in.
Does the town clock still chap the quarter hour?  I used to lie in bed in the recess in the living room in my grandparents house in the Happyland listening to the clock chap and the light from the fire casting shadows around  the room. Thinking about it now makes me smile as I found it really comforting.

Another memory was going to the miner's treat and walking down Station Brae in the pouring rain only to be told that it had been cancelled and we all had to walk back home again.  I can't remember where we were supposed to go but another time we went to Burntisland and we went by bus that time.  On the way home I sat next to this old man who pointed out the mare's tail clouds and predicted rain - he was right but we didn't care as we had had our treat.

When I was about two my grandmother took me to the Miner's Christmas party in Cowdenbeath as my grandfather worked in Kirkford pit.  I got a Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing doll and to this day I still have it and it still works.  My parents put the key on a piece of string and I still have that and it sits around Cinderella's neck.  I was rarely allowed to play with it and it has made many moves with me.  I never let my children play with it, but in the days of computers and video games how tame is a dancing doll?

Keep up the good work with your web-site. Rose Gibb

Michael Kirk
Hi Ian, What a fantastic site. I have family roots in Lochgelly as my Dey was born there in 1914. His name was Robert Gourdie Kirk he was part of a large family and they all lived in South Street, Number 35 to be more precise.
His father and mother where Archie and Helen Kirk nee Gourdie. Also my mothers Uncle and Auntie used to run the bone yard down the bottom end of Auchterderran Road. Their names were Alan and Grace Steele. Michael Kirk

Erica Deben (nee Campbell), Holland
Dear Ian, first of all let me congratulate you on your wonderful initiative.  It warms my heart to know someone is doing something positive for Lochgelly. 
I was born in 1956 at "Honeylea" 105 Lumphinnans Road and we moved to Cooper Ha' Avenue in 1958.  It's lovely to see that our old house is prominent on the photograph on your website.  My parents were both from the Isle of Lewis and had 6 children.  I went to the South School and was a keen ballroom dancer.  My first partner was Kenneth Baxter.
I remember playing on the swings up in Hall Lane and going down the Braes during the summer holidays.  Who could forget the aroma of freshly-baked rolls from Neilsons.  My Dad used to go up there Friday nights and buy warm rolls. 
There was also Dickie's sweet shop at the corner of Auchterderran Road and Reid Street and we used to go there on our way back to school and buy a penny caramel or parma violets.
My first teacher in school was Miss Gair and I have fond memories of her.  When I first started primary school there was no Lollipop man and I remember being terrified at having to cross Auchterderran Road on my own. 
I was frightened of a number of things back then especially "Flannel Feet" who was a popular bogey man and the store horse (milkman).  I too remember Pete Tosh and Larry the Darky (not very pc nowadays but that was how he was known locally).
I married my husband in 1978 and went to live here in the Netherlands (his country).  We have 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, 23, 20 and 19 years old.  I try to get over a couple of times a year to see my Mum and although I've lived longer here than in Lochgelly, Lochgelly is still home. 
I look forward to visiting your website in the future and hope more people let you have old photographs to add to your site.  I've been in touch with my old neighbour Joe Canavan (he lived at 49, we lived at 43 Cooper Ha' Avenue).  I have very fond memories of our childhood play with them. 
Keep up the good work, and once more thank you for doing this for my hometown.  Best wishes.  Erica Deben (nee Campbell). 

Annette Stenhouse
Hi Ian,  I just found your site a few days ago and it is fascinating.  I recognise all of the things that the writers of most of the emails describe.

My name is Annette Stenhouse (nee Beveridge).   I lived at 97 High Street and I have a brother Alastair and a sister Sheila. I used to work in the Burgh Chamberlain's office in the Town House where you had to have all your qualifications and certificates before you got on the short leet for an interview. 
I started when I was 17 and was allowed to work for a year after I got married because at that time you had to remain single to work there. When I tell my children this they laugh but it was true. 
I remember well David Campbell the provost and have a letter of recommendation signed by him when I left to live in Kirkcaldy.  I now live in East Kilbride and have been over here for 40 years. 
I remember Mary Steele she worked in the Surveyors office and Harry Patterson was the Foreman of the men in the yard.  The Burgh Chamberlain was Alex Laing and then Alex McKenzie. Isobel Reid and May Beveridge, Mrs Turner, Mr Thomson all worked in the same office. 
Ann Wilson and myself were chums and she worked in the Surveyors along with Ian Forrester and Tom McPartlin.  Anne's mum and brother owned Wilson's the joiners and undertakers.
I had to walk down to the Clydesdale Bank through the stables and used to give the horses bits of bread as I walked through.   I used to have to take all the banking down to the bank on my own in a big leather bag that was obviously a bank bag. You wouldn't dare do that nowadays.
My mother's cousin was married to Bella Dick of Dick's the sadlers - he was called Agnew Walkingshaw.  My mother was Jessie Walkingshaw.   My grandfather was in the Fife Constabulary and then the Durham Constabulary and later became a Contractor in the Glencraig Colliery.
My auntie Meg was the first manageress in the Glencraig Canteen and I have cuttings from the Lochgelly Times of the people who attended her going away party. 
Doctor Foote was a friend of my mother's family and Dr Steven nearly lived at my grandparents home in Bain Street when he was studying to become a doctor. My grandparents lived in Jenny Lee's house in Bain Street then exchanged with the Lees and moved into 14 Bain Street. 
Jenny Lee also went to university and later married Aneurin Bevan who started the National Health Service.
One of the girls in my class at the West School was Joyce Wilson and I used to go down to her farm to play.  It was near the meedies and we had great fun collecting tadpoles and small fish to take to school for the class to observe.  I remember cattle getting out of the slaughterhouse and stampeding through the streets. 
Thanks for the site it has helped me get in touch with lost friends. Annette Stenhouse
Joe Canavan
Hi Ian, once again I have been viewing your great site, especially the photograph looking down Cooper Ha' Avenue towards Hill Street. I lived at No 49 Cooper Ha' Avenue, the last house in the avenue, with my family from 1961 to 1965 when we moved south to Coventry.
Our neebs the Cooks lived in the first house in Hill Street. Both houses were opposite what we called as kids the diamond and which is still present today although it looks more like a square.
Keep up the good work and I hope you and yours are both enjoying your retirement. Joe Canavan.

Betty Wilson (nee Bremner), Canada
Hi Ian. It caught my eye that you had worked at the "Lochgelly Times", I did too from 1953 to 1957, then I left for Canada.
Jack Dougary was reporter and old Alex Westwater and his son  Jack Westwater still ran things.  Jimmy Mitchell, and Harry Goodall as well as Jimmy McIntosh and Jenny McKinlay were all there at the Bank Street site.
Anyway I enjoyed your web site, but some of the pictures I must confess I don't seem to recognise. Things have changed even since my last visit in 1996.
I first started out at 9 Gardiners Lane, then after the war we were moved to the prefabs at 9 McGregor Avenue, I left for Canada when I was 19 from there, but my parents George and Annie Bremner then moved to 108 Cartmore Road just across from the Golf Course.
I'm glad you have this site, its good to revisit. Anyway I am all thats left of my own little family, Mum, Dad and sister Anne have all passed on, but I have an Aunt (my Mothers sister) in Canada (the one I came out to visit for just a year or two) who will be 100 years old this September.
Her maiden name was Mary Hutton, and her mother was a Moyes,  Uncle Wullie Moyes did indeed have horses stabled next to St. Andrews Church as someone mentioned.
Anyway I've bookmarked this spot and will visit often. Betty Bremner Wilson
Anne Wright (nee Stuart)
Although I am not from Lochgelly I did spend many happy times there and saw some of my friends in your school photographs.
I was born in the Milton in Crosshill, moved to the prefabs then to Ballingry. I went to Crosshill School with Moira Allan, Barbara Honeyford, Jean Kerr, Irene Kent, Moss-side School with Margaret Barclay, Barbara Patterson, Jean Graham and Annette Beveridge all from Lochgelly.
I trained as a nurse at Bridge of Earn Hosptal with Mary Rafferty (Ballingry)and Georgina Walkingshaw and Ellen and Jimmy Legge (all Lochgelly) while Miss Foote from Lochgelly was my first school teacher.
My father Andrew Stuart worked and was killed in Glencraig Pit and ran Crosshill Hearts football team for many years. Anne Wright (nee Stuart) 

Marie Simpson, Australia
Hi Ian, I am tracing my husband Ian's family and found your great site. The photos are really good to see.
My husband's father Douglas Simpson was born at 85 Auchterderran Road on the 18 November 1917.  He was one of 13 children born to David and Mary Ann (nee Lees).  He migrated to Australia in 1928 along with his brother James Walker Lees Simpson, sister Isabella and mother Mary Ann. The other members of the family had already come out or came out later.   
He attended Lochgelly East School until 1928.  His father David was a miner in the Lochgelly mines along with his older brothers. I would love to know if any of your readers would have any photos from around that time of the school he attended or any other photos from around that area.   Also if anyone knows of the family could they please let me know. 
We hope to visit Lochgelly towards the end of next year and see the places that my husband's family grew up in.  Marie Simpson, Wollongong, NSW.
Mark Dean Ellen, Kent
Hi Ian, I was brought up near Kelty in the 50's/60's My father Robert Main Ellen was head forester Blairadam forest.
To cut a long story short. I learned to play drums in Kelty and Blairadam Pipe Band. Later I played with a short lived Glencraig Juvenile Band. We used to practice in Lochgelly Miners Welfare. It is a sorry site now.
I went down to London 1968 eventually joining Vanity Fare who were riding the charts at the time www.vanityfare.co.uk I am still with the Band and I now live on the Isle of Sheppey Kent.
Vanity Fare are looking at putting a Scottish tour together this year and Lochgelly Centre is a possible venue.
Enjoyed visiting your site. The place sure has changed I remember Lochore Ball where I played with the Falcons in the mid 60's, That was a wild gig! Mark Dean Ellen www.geocities.com/markdeanellen/My_page

Nick Fox, Australia
Hi Ian, I came across your website while doing research into the mines around Lochore (where I was born) and would be grateful if anyone was able to point me to possible sources of information (photographic and written) on the Lochgelly-Ballingry area for the period 1890-1970.
Since the mines are now all gone it also appears that so too has much of the collected memories of the people and I fear that there is also a danger that the little that does remain will eventually be lost if it's not preserved.
What I'm trying to do, in my humble way is preserve old photographs that I can put onto CD that I can lodge with one or more of the libraries in Fife for public access. The trouble, as always, is finding the right material.

When I left Ballingry school in 1961 I worked for a short time at Munro's the butchers in Lochgelly near the Cinema de Luxe and I came to Australia after leaving the army in 1970 and after 9 years study graduated as an architect from NSW University.

Your site certainly brings back a heap of memories and my wife was fascinated by the scenes you have of Lochgelly then and now - personally I think I prefer the town as it was then but that might just be because I remember a lot of the town as it was. Anyway, I'd be eternally grateful for any assistance you can give me in my seemingly impossible endeavor. Nick Fox

Will Mellon, New York
Hello Ian. I've been enjoying your site and reliving old memories of my childhood. I was born and raised in Crosshill on Castle Avenue and left with my family for the U.S. in 1965. My father, Tam Mellon,  was raised on Park Street and my mother (Nell Hunter) in Scotlandwell. My dye (Wull Hunter) was a gaffer in the Mary pit and my dad worked in the Nellie, Glencraig and Benarty mine.
The Auld Castle by the Burn, the Meedies and the fields and paths around Glencraig were where I spent my childhood. I learned to play the pipes in The Glencraig Colliery Juvenile Pipe Band and was instructed by Jackie Taylor who emigrated to Australia. We practised at the Masonic Lodge on the road tae Lo'gelly. Later I played with Lochore and District under Pipe Major Shug MacPherson.
 I switched buses and took the train in Lochgelly many times and remember flying doon the brae on my bike going hame from there after I had pushed it up. In those days much of what you can see in todays pictures was obscured by the bings where we used to play and scrounge for bits of coal when times were hard.
Our local tinkie was called Black Jock and he lived in an auld caravan that had once been horsedrawn behind Park Street by the Burn. My Grannie Mellon would knit socks for him while she sat and watched movies in the Star Theatre and make us take things over to him. We'd leave them by the door and run awa' as fast as we could.
I grew up with families called Crawford, Rafferty, Gangley, Blyth, Doherty, Webster,  Peattie, Rowan and mair. We all made many a run doon Piggery Lane with our noses held.
Tattie howkin' and berry picking in Kinnesswood and the surrounding farms was how we made money and my brothers John and Tam worked the coal lorries and the Open Cast.
I remember the auld steam engines and the smell of the ash and cinders as they pulled out of Lochgelly station and the signs on the road tae Glencraig which said "Roadway subject to collapse without warning." I always got a kick out of that one.
We swam in Loch Leven, rafted on the Meedies and hiked Benarty and Bishop hills collecting birds eggs and skippin' stanes. I mind the miners blethering and smoking as they crouched endlessly on their haunches, backs against the wall by the Shank in Crosshill. They all had blue scars from the coal dust and I carry some in my knees to this day from when I fell off my bike on the old Park Street.
My uncle Bill Hunter was a fair runner in his day and did well at the local games. He now resides in Canada with his wife Christine who is from Kelty.
They say that one of Scotland's biggest exports is it's people and that is certainly true in the case of my family as we now cover a fair portion of the globe.
But  I canna' walk doon the brae tae ma Grannies hoose ony mair.
Thanks for the memories. William Kilgour Hunter Mellon,

Janet Bodenmann, Switzerland
Hello and congratulations on your super web site! I live in Switzerland but still have family and friends in Lochgelly and district. I used to be in Lochgelly Musical and when I heard that Donna Hazelton was going to be in the Musicality finals programme I managed to get tickets for myself and Wilma Finnie(ex president of Lochgelly Musical). 
We were so proud to see her in 'CHICAGO', she really did so well. Wilma got the train from Kirkcaldy and I got the plane from Geneva and we had a lovely time catching up and seeing Donna! Janet Bodenmann (née Wilson)
Shirley Jackman
Hi Ian, I spent the morning just reading all the information about Lochgelly. My family were living and working in that area in the 1800's. The name was Mathewson. The spelling can be different. Robert Mathewson married Catherine Cairns in 1836 and they had a nine big family.
I have traced Christina Wishart Reid Mathewson Penman born in 1855 to USA. She died in USA in 1936. Her husband was Richard Penman. I would love to know if there are any connections to the family still living in the area. The father Robert was born in Dysart in 1816. Shirley Jackman
Jim Steele, California
Hi,  your site was just passed along to me and I  really enjoyed some memories of Lochgelly. I was born in Crosshill, went to school in Ballingry and worked at the Nellie Pit to 1960 when I left for Canada and have never been back to Scotland.
I have contact with a few people from Fife but have never made contact with anyone from or hear much about Crosshill. If anyone has any news of Crosshill then please get in touch. I will return to your site often. Jim Steele

Jimmy Smith



Hello Ian. I  came across your site while browsing and the mention of the Opera House brought back many happy memories for me.


I worked for Joe Timmons first as a projectionist and then as a maager in the bingo clubs at the Cinema de Lux  in Lochgelly as well as the Cowdenbeath  Picture House, Kelty Regal and the Rex in Cardenden.


I have  happy memories of runnng the talent contests for  kids  in the eaarly 70’s with the Muir brothers being one of the top acts. The final was always held in the Cinema where Joe’s expertise as a showman always prevailed. However what I learned from his wily wit and knowledge carried me through a very successful business and an entertaining life.


I was born in Mungall Street, a miners row in Lumphinnans, and we  lived in an upstairs room and an attic. Thanks for a very entertaining web site that has rekindled many hapy memories.  Jimmy Smith. 







Hi there! Great site which I can't wait to show my mum when she next visits! Mum was born in Lochgelly, Julia Williamson, daughter to Tim and Janet Williamson of Small Street.  Her sisters were Cathy, Maureen, Etta, Wilma and Betty and her brother George. 


Grandad Tim was a professional footballer both in Scotland and for West Ham and Newcastle United.  I think he or his family originally came from Belfast, but Nana was definitely local from the Beveridge family. Greeat-grandma Beveridge lived up in Park View, near the Loch until about 1950.


Is there anything else anyone can tell me about them or point me in the right direction as mum is not very specific when I ask questions!  She just says she has very happy memories of her childhood.  Many thanks. Freda



 John Chalmers, Texas



Hi Ian, I have enjoyed looking over your site although  I never lived in Lochgelly but my mother, her mother and her mother before her were all born in Lochgelly.


My own memories of the place were of visiting my great-grandmother Mary Donaldson in Lumphinans Road.  She was born Mary White at Little Raith Colliery in 1880 and was the 10th of 11 children to her parents and one  of my proudest possessions is her original  birth

She died at the age of 89 in 1970, when I was 17 years old, so I remember her well and she is buried in the cemetery in Lochgelly. She told me stories of working at the pit-head, leading pit-ponies, and her  marriage record says she was a pit-head worker.  She was a founding member of the Eastern Star, and she used to speak of going through to Edinburgh, where she met 'someroyalty' (I can't remember who) and bringing papers back to Lochgelly so the Star could get started.


I never knew my great-grandfather.  He was James Donaldson, born in 1876 in Ballingry.  He married my great-gran in Lochgelly in 1898.  He was a great mason and was RWM for the Minto Lodge in 1919-1920.  I have a cup presented to him for his years tenure He died suddenly in 1940 on the bowling green in Lochgelly. 

My grandmother was Agnes Donaldson, born in 1901(2 1/2 Brewery Court). My mother was born in Lochgelly (68 Lumphinans Road) in 1927, but her family moved to Kelty shortly afterwards, where her father started a coal merchants business behind 'Braehead Cottage' - which used to be at the top of the hill in Kelty, beside the police station.


I was wondering if anyone can provide me with any connections to 'Minto Lodge' or  the Eastern Star in Lochgelly? I would like to contact them to see if they can provide information about my Donaldson family. I found out  by chance that George and Rita Donaldson were caretakers of the Town Hall, Bank Street, Lochgelly!  That was their address in 1951 (when my parents got married).

I was born and educated in Scotland, but now live in Houston, Texas.  I have a 'genealogy site' at:  http://www.dgnscrn.demon.co.uk  showing what I know of my family. Kind regards,  John Chalmers

Andy Davidson



Hello, my name is Andy Davidson and I was born and brought up in Paul Street in 1952. My father "Bunt" Davidson and my mum Effie were well known in the town but sadly have passed away. I really enjoyed your site and will keep looking in as it is good to reminisce every now and again.  Andy Davidson.



Elizabeth Stephen




Hello Ian, I am trying to find out about my grandparents William and Helen Flockhart who stayed in Glencraig. My father George was a miner as was his father. If anyone could give me any information on what school or pit my late father attended I would be delighted. I really enjoyed the photos on your site. I hope someone can help me. Thank you . Elizabeth Stephen

Anne Moringello, New York
Hi, my daughter Sally-Anne found your site on the internet, so she gave me your e-mail address.  My mother, Anne Thompson,  was a Lo'gelly lassie from a Gardiner Street family, and used to keep me in stitches about her childhood.  The other relatives were from Cowdenbeath, 'Toonhull' (Townhill) and Dunfermline. My mother and her sister and cousins went from Scotland to Australia between the wars and I was brought up by these wonderful women, who all seemed to lose their husbands in WW2, and I couldn't wait to be old enough to visit Lochgelly for myself.
My mother sent me to see "Lumphinnans Pier", which gave the Scots side of the family a good laugh. That was in 1956 but I have never made it back to Fife although I would love to revisit with Sally-Anne. I stayed with my mother's cousin, Annie MacDonald in Couston Street, Dunfermline, and worked at Greens the Hairdressers on the High Street.  Now I am a senior citizen in New York City, and my only daughter is in Washington DC. I am just so happy she found your website.  Keep up the good work. Anne Moringello

Jim Fergus, Fife
Hi Ian, I was born and brought up in the Happyland and lived at 3a Hunter St from 1946 until 1958. The house was right against the railway between the Jenny Gray Pit (where my dad Bob worked) and the Nellie Pit. We moved to Cartmore Rd into the new flats, now demolished, then down to McGregor Ave. My dad died in 1991 and my mother in 2002.

My memories of Lochgelly include the following: 
* Playing on the Jenny Gray bing (the Tipper), the red bing where we made bows and arrows, walking through the canes at the loch to the black woods.  Sunday walks with my parents to the fingerpost (junction of Kirkcaldy/ Auchtertool roads). Walking down the strips (tree avenues) leading to the loch.
* The store in Minto Street where there was a butchers, bakers and grocery. They had marble floors with sawdust scattered on them daily. The laden coal wagons breaking away as they were slowly lowered down the Nellie Pit brae to the main railway line.
* Playing down the braes looking for newts. Magnificient bonfires due to the proximity of the Jenny Gray scrap wood yard and Frasers Garage (old tyres) in Auchterderran Rd. Pete Macari's horse drawn two-wheeled ice cream cart. Jackie Whytes' horse-drawn cart selling the Sunday newspapers. Horse-drawn bakers van and milk vans from the store. The stables were off Union Street.
* The Co-op stores cash transfer pulley system where the lady would take the cash and receipt place them in a cylindrical container attached it to the pulley system and it would make it's way to the main cashier. Any change would be returned the same way.
* My father and Davie Campbell, the Provost, running the boxing and football sections of the Miners Boys Club in the Institute. My grandfather was John Guild the first lollipop man in Lochgelly and he lived until he was 99yrs old.
* The cinema, the Opera House, the cafes - Mazzonis, Macaris, Faccendas and Capaldis. I remember JR and his 'big tackity pit bits' at the cross stopping the buses from running into each other. Aundry Pawton (Andrew Paton) walking juggling the bottles as he went up the road. Pete Tosh the local tramp and McCulloch's bone lorries coming through the town. Please do not think I am ridiculing any of these people as I have very fond memeories of them and that time. I lived in Lochgelly until I was 27 yrs old, moved to Cardenden for three yeers and have now lived in Glenrothes for 28 years.
* I remember  the pig-sty at the top of the Avenue. It belonged to my uncle Willie Walker and his business partner Willie Baptie. They had distributed metal containers to many households in the town, asking the residents to put their discarded vegetables or peelings for the 'brock' collection. They started with a horse-drawn cart, the horse's name was 'Jock' and he was later sold to Wull Moyes who had a contracting business in the lane between St Andrews Church and the Minto Hotel. I think the Coop had a garage along there at one time before moving to David St.
* There were quite a few plots up in the area. Further over was a shaft that had opened up down to one of the Jenny Gray pit roads and the miners used to exit here at 'piece time'. The Avenue was closed due to the subsidence of underground workings, with barriers at both ends.
* When going to the South School from the Happyland I went up through the bottom half of the public park, past Neilson's bake house at the end of Plantation St. I'll never forget that smell of the fresh baked rolls, cakes and bread.
* In Hunter St just diagonally below our house lived Mrs Seath. She operated a small shop from her kitchen selling penny sherbert, lemonade and some household goods. On Sundays she would bake dough rings to sell to anyone who came to her door. There was also a house in Russell St which was converted to a general shop by a Mr Reid.
Congratulations on your site which is fantastic.  Please keep the memories alive. Regards. Jim Fergus

Ian Guild, Netherlands
Hi Ian, I have lots of happy memories of Lochgelly. I was born to Harry and Barbara Guild. My father was the only son of John and Jenny, néé Bennet. There were two sisters, Christine, later married to Murdoch Stuart, a miner, and Isa, who later married Bob Fergus, who left the mines and became a driver for the Co-op.
Many people may remember my grandad John as a lollipop man at the est School in the 1960 while my father Harry was active in the Scouts.  During the Second World War he served with the Argylls and later worked in the SCWS factory on Halbeath Road and later as manager in Dumfries. He saw the writing on the wall for the Coop in the early 1960s and we moved South to England and unfortunately lost contact with most of the family.
Grandad remained active until he died at the age of 99. Dad died some 14 years ago and I have just retired after 35 years as an Air Traffic Controller in the Netherlands. Regards, Ian Guild.

Peter Strauss, Australia
Hi Ian & Anne. I have been researching my Scottish ancestors for only about six months but have accumulated a considerable amount already including finding two ladies in "Freuchie Cupar" in Fife.
My g/g/grandmother came from Fife and my new contacts tell me that the family were for many generations in Dalgety, Dunfermline, Crossgates, Auchterderran and Lochgelly.
Her name was Agnes Wildridge and I have been told that there is a Wildridge Way in Lochgelly named after a Wildridge who became rich in Australia and sent money home to aid the sick and infirm. I would like to find out who this Wildridge  was and perhaps you could let me know where I may contact the municipal or other authority who may be able to help me here.
I would be interested in contacting any individual or any local family history group who may be interested in exchanging information. Peter Strauss.

Alex Ferguson, Montrose
Hi Ian,  I only found this site by chance when I was thinking of my mate Rab Cairns with whom I worked for over 25 yrs. He was always so proud of Lochgelly and spoke constantly of the town where he learned golf and darts. He also spoke of friends from there, but I can only remember one name Wullie Barrie. 
Anyway I am just letting you all know that Rab passed away on 6th august 2004 and I for one am very happy to have met someone from Lochgelly who I can only describe as one of the nicest guys Ihave ever met in my life. He will be sadly missed by many. Alex Ferguson 

Ann Anderson  (nee Bremner)


Dear Ian, I was delighted to find your web page. I have not travelled far as I live in Longniddry and at the moment I am working as a storyteller and freelance writer for a project funded by the Scottish Art Council and East Lothian Library service.

This project is working with the elderly, reading and reminiscing, and I am a member of The Scottish Storytelling Forum. Through another project 'Storytelling Unplugged' I am going to be working in Fife and could you tell me the name of the residential home for the elderly in Lochgelly where the Happyland was?

I have great memories of Lochgelly as I was born in Birnie St and my parents had a drapers shop in Main Street along from the Cross. There was Mitchell's the ironmongers, Duffy's the drapers, Bremner's drapers (my mum and dad) and Newlands the jewellers. There was also a hat shop run by two of mums friends and Dick's the saddlers.

On the opposite side  there was the shop I took my aunt's accumulator to be recharged. There was also a sweetie shop, Wilson's the joiners and undertakers on the corner abd there was also an Italian ice-cream shop.  Ann Anderson


James Abbot, Australia


Dear Ian,  I came across your web site during a fruitless search for the Lochgelly Times web site. You probably think that I am a wee bit behind the times (no pun intended) and you would be right.
I lived in Glencraig until 1961 when I moved to Australia at the tender age of 14. Australia has been very good for me and I would not live anywhere else. One thing that is missing in my life is knowledge of what happened to all my old friends and school mates.
The reason I was trying to contact the Times was to see if they would publish a photo from Glencraig primary school (it's all I have left from Glencraig) taken around 1958 so that I might be able to meet up with as many as possible of the faces when I visit Fife during September/October this year. 
I was fascinated by your web site, it brought back so many memories and even had a tear in my eye at some of the changes. I would just like to acknowledge my thanks for your efforts and confirm what I'm sure you already realise, that sites such as yours are revered by people like me.  James Abbot
Helen Lomas (nee Graham)
Hello Ian Fraser. I just found your website by chance,and was amazed to realize I knew you from schooldays.  We were in the same class at the West up until the 11plus, along with Sheila Muir, Ellen Legge, Margaret Lorimer, Tom Muir, Margaret Dewar and May Wilson amongst others.
There's been a lot of water under the bridge since those days and I haven't lived in Lochgelly for decades but I have never lost contact as my mother still lives there in North Street. 
I have been attending Dundee University doing a fine art course  and this year I plan to return to do my honours. I have given a lot of thought to my dissertation and even before I knew of this site, the idea of involving Lochgelly was in my head .. and in fact I have been painting nostalgic paintings of Lochgelly as it once was - a rose tinted memory, no doubt.
But I visited the loch several times recently and was depressed to see what had once seemed like a vast body of water, reduced to little more than a puddle in a field ... no more rhododendrons, no Black forest ... no Rosie pond ... a motorway slicing across the mairs ... and opencast coal mining in the distance.
I was gratified to see the miners institute on your site, as it once was. I desparately wish I could see it brought back to life and used in the community.  Its a gorgeous old building. 
Ideas can change, but initially I am thinking of telling the miners story, set in a context of Lochgelly ... it would be many peoples story, and its still raw and undeveloped in my head, but your site encourages me as there are images out there, and people who can remember details I need. Helen Lomas. 

Annette McDill (nee Quinn)
Dear Ian
It was wonderful to come across your website. I was brought up in Lochgelly at 43 Gordon Street. I was looking for information for my children and was delighted to show them my school (St Patricks) and of course where I got married. It was wonderful to see Timmons Park where I used to play and I remember when the slaughter house was there. A bull got loose and frightened the life out of me.
The Braes were wonderful and safe although we used to get chased by Andy the tinker????? My pocket money job was at the bingo on Bank Street where Joe Timmons was in charge.
My parents Mary (teacher special school Lochgelly) and Michael Quinn (miner Bogside pit) died when I was 28 about 15 years ago. I think the house is now owned by a girl I grew up with, Janice Taylor. Our neighbours were Mr and Mrs Grierson (Tam and Mary). I have two sisters Margaret and Mary who are a bit older than me. I left Lochgelly to go to nursing college and have since travelled worldwide living in Africa and America, came back for a short time in Edinburgh and then moved to London. I have now settled with my family in Thirsk North Yorkshire.
I am certain with your lengthy connection with Lochgelly you will have come across some part of my family. I still have my Aunty Isa Bain who lives in Timmons Park.
Thank you for your wonder effort with the website. If you find yourself down here please get in touch. We still keep the home fires burning! Annette McDill.

Anne Horne (nee Farmer)
Ian, I find your web site very interesting. I too lived on Stewart Crescent. I lived at number three, I believe from when I was born in 1952, until 1962, when we were relocated to a new house on Gordon Street.  In 1963, we emigrated to Toronto and this is where I now call home. I am very interested in communicating with people from Lochgelly, as my mother and father are both deceased, and I do not come from a large family. My maiden name is Farmer, my father was Dave Farmer, whose parents were Jim and Annie and lived at 24 Inchgall Avenue, Crosshill. My mothers name, was May Stuart, whose parents were Dave and Vi Stuart, who lived at 117 Small Street, Lochgelly.  I remember our neighbours on Stewart Cres, they were Mick and May Quinn, Burdens and I believe Johnson.  I would appreciate if you could give my e-mail to other folks,  as I would love to hear from them.  Thank you very much for the picture of the prefabs.  Are they still standing?  Once again, thankyou.   Anne Horne.
Les Grierson
Hi!  My name is Les Grierson  Just looked at your photos of old Lochgelly and they brought back happy memorys I was sent to stay in Lochgelly during WW2  when the bombing started in Liverpool . I stayed at 24a Hunters Street with the Wilson family,went to the junior school for about 8 months when I had to return home.  I had some great times while I lived in Lochgelly, so much so that I returned in1946 and got a job at the pit head in the Minto colliery in Brighills for six months. The photos  made me decide I must make a return journey to see how the town has changed.  Once again congratulations on your great web site  Cheers    Les Grierson.

Margaret Parker (nee Dickson)
THANK you both for a wonderful trip down memory lane this afternoon. I left Lochgelly 30 years ago to live in Nairn and although I still have contact with friends and relatives in the town it was great to see it on the computer. I worked in the Co-op office prior to my marriage and later in the Co-op garage in David Street. My father was the Manager of the Opera House and we lived above it for a few years. Mrs Leslie, the oldest citizen, was my next door neighbour for 10 years before we moved from Ballingry Street to here. I have stored your site among my Favourites and will be going back to it often. Again, many thanks. Margaret Parker .
Mary Granville-White (nee Quinn)
Ian, joys and sorrows but great stuff. I have contacted Anne Farmer in Toronto, great news about Mr Mrs Grierson's golden wedding and about Mrs Jackson's service being given recognition. Great photos. Gala days are back - that has to be good and my old school had its 100 years - wow! I am getting on. Reading about Bill Shaws death, I suddenly realised I was reading about Billy Shaw who was a classmate and I felt really sad. We are all so busy and all over the place its difficult to keep in touch. I stayed at 1 Stewart Cres and 43 Gordon Street and of course 14A Hunter Street in the Happy Land
Now living in Norfolk at the Cromer Seaside and Cruising the Broads - Thank goodness for the teaching and tawse - it ensured an education and adequate financial rewards. Would love to hear any news of Alan Hunter, Catherine Allen, Veronica McLauchlan, Ann Izatt or Catherine and David Reid. Take care.  Mary Granville-White.
Jeff Read
I am trying to find out about a family called Marlow who lived in Lochgelly from about 1900 to 1925, in particular a lady called Margaret Fair Harley Marlow.She is my wifes grandmother and she is trying to compile a family tree and this is proving quite difficult.We would appreciate any help at all no matter how insignificant the info might seem to be. We believe that she had a brother but we do not know his name just that he was younger than her. I would appreciate your help be it a long shot. I enjoyed looking at your web site it is very interesting. Jeff and Sheila Read 

Steve Duff, Canada



Hello Ian, I am the son of a man named William Duff (husband of Jane Robb) and I am trying to find any information about David and John Birrell who are my dad's half-brothers.

I forget the name of my gran but she may still be alive although I know she was in a facility for the elderly. I am simply trying to pass on Information to David and John to let them know my Dad has passed away at the age of 70. Any help would be appreciated. Steve Duff


Bill Robertson, Australia
Dear Ian, May I first of all congratulate you on such a wonderful site. It brought back many happy memories for me to see the old Happyland. The pictures are a real treasure and I have already copied them. I was born in Melville Street and attended the South School then the East School.While looking through your site I was sorry to read about the passing of George Aitken, the international football player. His mother lived in Hunter Street and used to serve our school meals at the South School.. 
Just to correct something on your site, regarding Jimmy Bryce. As much as we would all love to claim Jimmy as being from Lochgelly, I'm afraid it is just not the case. Jimmy came from Alva and was of a mature age when he came to Lochgelly.  Jimmy has been a great ambassador for professional running and an inspiration to all the young local athletes  that he has trained . He deserves all the praise that has been bestowed upon him and he is a marvel, still competing in his seventies
Each time I come home, it seems to start off a debate about Lochgelly athletes and what they have achieved. I am sure not too many people realize just how many really good athletes were born in Lochgelly and the major races won by them .When I started running in 1952 at the age of 15,   J.Usher  (Lochgelly) was considered to be one of the best milers in the country. Other notable athletes competing at this time were D.McKinnon (Sprinter) and J.McIntosh  (half-miler). The following is a list of Lochgelly-born pro athletes and some of their major races results.
Jimmy Kirk.- British  professional half-mile champion and New Year Sprint winner.
William Robertson - British professional half-mile champion in 1967,  New Year half-mile winner in 1961, Jedburgh Sprint winner in 1964.
Mike Starrs - New Year half-mile winner, Jedburgh  half-mile winner
Jimmy McCleland - Jedburgh half-mile winner
The above Lochgelly squad were all trained by Willie Young  from Thornton and he considered that this was his best ever squad and probably the best in the country.
Other notable Lochgelly runners include - B. McGurk - Jedburgh Sprint winner;  H. Mclelland - New Year half-mile runner-up and D. Campbell - winner of  many  sprint races
I have been  living in Australia for over 20 years now, but  I am sure the winning tradition has continued with Lochgelly born athletes. My apologies to anyone who has been left out but I hope this information settles a few arguments in " The Old Ship  Inn".   Best Wishes.  W Robertson                  

George Black, USA

I came across your web site completely by accident ! I moved from Lochgelly to Seattle, USA, about seven years ago and have lost contact with  most of my Lochgelly friends (Ernie McPherson, Mick Stevens, Jimmy Gilruth) I enjoyed reading your update page! It was sad to see that Doctor Wright had passed away, but I was happy to see that Lochgelly Albert were doing well. I miss Lochgelly very much, especially all of my friends from the Masonic lodge.
Thank you for such a nice web site, it made my day reviewing all of the old photographs. George Black.
Robert Dalgleish

Just had a look at your website on Lochgelly, Full Marks. At one time I stayed in Montrose Cottages, now Montrose Crescent, Lochore. I was moved to East Kilbride in 1960, regrettably. I have always wished to be able to return home to Fife but been unable to do so. I have my own site,
www.geocities.com/robert2fife it is mainly family history but, so far, I also have two pages on Fife. Let me know what you think and any suggestions for improvements to the site would be welcome. Warmest regards.  Robert Dalgleish
Marion Martin (nee Faulds)
I really enjoyed the photos of Lochgelly as they brought back a lot of memories.  I have been away for so long,  43 years to be exact, but there's no place like home. Keep up the good work  Marion Martin
Bill Ramsay, New Zealand
Hi there, thought I would take a dabble on the web to find out what I could about Lochgelly. My mother and her two brothers were born there,  they lived with my grandparents,  Tom and Liz Kean,  at 20 Sunnyside place.  These houses were started prior to WW2,  but were not finished until after the war.
I spent all my summers in Lochgelly from about 1960 through to 1971 and these days are always played back in my mind like old 16mm kodachrome movies. My uncle,  Tom Kean Jr,  was a councillor in Lochgelly,  he died at a very young age, 39 in about '68. I always remember walking up the old railway line (long since pulled up) to Auchteertool to pick wild rasperberries and making jam with them. Ah,   halcyon days.  I tell my sons about those times but they mean nothing  to them  but mean heaps to me. I live in Auckland,  NZ now, but my mind always drifts back to simpler times, with far simpler pleasures. Kind regards Bill Ramsay

Scott MacAinsh, Canada
My 12 year old daughter is doing some school work related to the history of our name, and there is very little info out there, as ours (at least here) is a very unusual surname. We get lots of pages about an Australian rock star, but that's about it..I can count the MacAinsh people on my fingers here in Canada. I remember fiinding a Macainsh Church site previously but no more. Can you help? 
Ian, my entire family is delighted by your kind, detailed response! Please enjoy some warm, personal gratification in the way that you have amazed our 4 kids  to see such wonderful, detailed info come back, from a blind request for some help to the "other side" of the world!  This truly is the spirit of the "global community" that they are growing up in - something that you and I could never have imagined at their age. Thanks for the incredible investment of time to get those photos, and all of the background facts on the Church. It was a search for "MacAinsh Church" on Google that brought me to your page, as it included a sentence about you growing up next door to it. Adieu. and Very Sincere Thanks!! Scott, Jan, Carissa, Justin, Brooke, Shelby Mac Ainsh
Robinson family
Hi Ian.  I was born at 52 Stewart Crescent in Lochgelly in 1949. My mum worked in the dentists in Main Street around  1959. Our family name is Muir. It was nice to see the loch again .

Angela Brass
Hi  Ian, I saw your posting on my website about Fife Ancestors and had a look at your website. I aim hoping you will allow me to put a link to your website on my Community.Please have a look and let me know if its ok.as it would be nice to let everyone know of your pictures .All my ancestors came from Lochgelly. I also have Frasers in my line though not my main line. They were John Fraser and Emily Shirret. Their daughter Janet married into my Cook Line. Angela Brass, PS My site is http://uk.msnusers/FifeAncestors 

Alex Mackay
Hallo Ian.  I  have just looked at the old town on internet. Excellent viewing and a big compliment to you. I used to live in 3 Well Road and left nearly 30 years ago. Many thanks. Alex Mackay

Jan Wilson, Canada
Dear Ian, I just returned to Canada after a great trip to Lochgelly. I was born in The Happyland, in what was known as " Pug Row" and many a great time we had. I was delighted to see the regenaration of the Co-op building where I worked in my youth but was disappointed to see the nice post office building still sitting empty. I hope they will soon put it to use.
I lived in Wildrige Way flats before coming to Canada in 1970 and it was sad to see them coming down but they really were slums.
Lochgelly is beginning to come back to life and I was really impressed with what I saw and heard of what was still to come. Now if we could just do something about the weather!! Cheers, Jan Wilson
Sharon Inkster, Canada
Hi Ian, I like your site. My husband and I were in Scotland in 1999 and seeing your site made me wish I could go back! We only spent a few days in Lochgely, visiting a cousin of mine and her family (not much time for sightseeing).
My grandfather was born in Lochgelly, and all of my (Stewart) ancestors on my grandfathers side, were from the Fife area back to 1821 (Ballingry, Lochgelly, Auchtertool, Abbotshall, Auchterderran ).
Sharon Inkster.
Doriana Friedrichs (nee Capaldi)
Dear Ian and Anne, I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely memories you gave me looking at your great web site. My name is Doriana Friedrichs, my maiden name is Capaldi, and I was born in Lochgelly.
 My family used to have the fish & chip shop in Auchterderran Road and we lived for many years at 7 Grainger Street till we emigrated  to Germany. I want to thank you so much for the wonderful pictures of Auchterderran Road.
To tell you the truth I had a good cry as I was looking at them and it made me so happy. First the pic of the house in Auchterderran Road with the window of the room I was born in. I cant wait to show my mum and my brother the pictures.
I would like to hear news of Sandy Davidson or Derek White or in fact  anyone who knows me in Lochgelly.  Doriana Friedrichs
Derry Hay, Canada
I came across you web site the other day and it made me fair homesick. My name is Derry Hay and I used to live at 2 Station Road or 1 Auchterderran Road depending on what door we used. 
We had a sweetie shop and a cafe there and all the kids from East school used to run over on a hot day for a penny vantas.
It was called Jeanies and my mum still lives in Lochgelly on South St. It was great seeing all the old pictures of Lochgelly where I used to roam as a boy. Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Derry Hay
Hugh Somerville

Thanks for the happy trip back to the town of my childhood! I left the West school in 1949 and Lochgelly itself in the same year - not that I wanted to go I assure you!

Edinburgh has been my home for most of the time since - give or take a few years here and there - but I have had a trip back to the old town from time to time and been sad to see it decline in prosperity over the years.

Tom Timmons (mentioned by you once or twice)  married one of the teachers at the West school (Miss Isobel Walker) and they used to play bridge with my parents.  My father was in Public Health - doctor but not GP. My mother had big ideas about herself and if I wanted to have anyone back to the house to "play" I had to ask them if they could "speak posh". If they could then they were allowed in otherwise access was denied!  I'm still ashamed!

We lived in a house in Bank St which was joined to the Police house. The house has now been flatted I see. Best wishes. Hugh Somerville


Alan Kendall


Have you any information you could please give me regarding the Rev Finlay Stewart who, according to the proceedings of the Church of Scotland died on Feb 5th. 2002 late of Lochgelly.
He was a padre in India and  served in my unit for several months in 1945. Attempts years ago to contact him were unsuccessful. This time alas too late. Very impressed by your website. Alan Kendall
Ian McKinlay

I'm tracing my ancestry and starting with my Lochgelly connection. My father Andrew Foote McKinlay was born in Lochgelly in 1924 along with the rest of the family. His cousin Bob McKinlay was born in 1932 and recently died after a very distinguished career with Nottingham Forest FC.

Its stated that Bob's father was a semi-pro with Cowdenbeath but I can't find any info on past players at any of the websites. If you have any information on the Mckinlay's past and present I would be most grateful. Ian McKinlay

Reply  from David Allan --   Bob McKinlay first made a footballing impact in the Cowdenbeath Schools XI and among his teammates were Alex Herd who later was a star with Manchester City (his son was David Herd who played alongside Best, Law and Charlton for Manchester United) and Alex King who scored a last minute
winner for Scotland v England at Wembley in a Schoolboys International.  Bob McKinlay joined
Cowdenbeath in 1927 after some time in the juniors with Thornton Rangers. His appearances in the Cowden 1st team were restricted by tough competition and he soon moved on to Dunfermline Athletic.  Later, he played with Hearts of Beath and Lochgelly Amateurs. Bob played for the Amateurs v Hearts and Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup. 
The whole McKinlay family based in Lochgelly was steeped in football.  Bob's brother, Billy McKinlay, made 357 appearances for Nottingham Forest before becoming a scout for Forest and signed Bob's son, Bob McKinlay jnr,  from Bowhill Rovers, and he went on to make a record 614 League appearances for his team 

Derek Stuart, New Zealand


I have really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Originally I'm from Crosshill, but have spent most of my life living in New Zealand (I emigrated at the tender age of 7, I'm now 33). My grandparents - Murdoch and Christine Stuart lived in Dryburgh Place, and my great grandfather - John Guild - lived in Francis Street many years ago.  Anyway, love the website, and keep up the good work. Derek Stuart.

George Courts, Canada


Hi Ian, Congratulations on a fantastic site. I emigrated to Canada from Glorious Lochgelly (where I spend many happy times !!!!). No doubt you will know my family who have resided in Lochgelly for many years, My Gran & Di hailed from the " Happy Land " ( Jock & Elizabeth Courts), to which I have heard many a story of the fun and the friendship the made the area. Anyway it was great to find your site on the internet and I will be a regular visitor to keep up to date with the Auld place. Thanks .....George Courts

Lynn Campbell, Canada
Hello Ian, I was asking on the Fife List if anyone knew of a John Harrower who was a professional footbal player and who apparently, with his wife Isobel Sneddon, moved to England to further his career.  This would be in the 1930s as far s I can gather.  Isobel was from Cowdenbeath and I have no idea where John Harrower was from.
Can anyone offer any assistance - either from personal knowledge or by perhaps providing a possible source that I could check out for myself.  (I'm not a footbal fan and. anyway, I live in Canada, so the only thing I know about football is that my grandfather used to do the "pools" each week) By the by, I enjoyed your Lochgelly site.  My second cousin's wife was born in Lochgelly and I have sent them the site name so thay can look at it for themselves. Lynn Campbell.

Lochgelly is the original Happyland