Lochgelly

Lochgelly Memories 5

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Bill Peden


My name is William Peden and I was born and grew up in Lochgelly.   I have many fond memories and found your website which has been wonderful to read all the stories. 

I have put together my own contribution for you in a word document.  Please feel free to share this on your web pages.   

I was amazed to find your site and  read about Lochgelly. I lived with my parents Andrew and Louie, sister Ann and brother John, at 29 Parkview Place.

My father was a coal miner and we attended Lochgelly South Primary School before moving on to the East  Secondary school. 

The Clark Family lived opposite us.  June, who became a policewoman, played  in Lochgelly Ladies’ Pipe Band and Sheila was the Drum Major. Their older brother Donald went on to play professional football for Cowdenbeath. All three went to Lochgelly East. 

Our upstairs neighbours were the Wyse Family and the sons Harry and Bobby played for Lochgelly Silver Brass Band.   I think  it was the Campbell family who lived above the Clarks. If my memory is correct Donald Campbell, the young father, was killed in a mining accident. 

I think by then we had moved to 13 Hugh Avenue, a new housing scheme and found for the first time that there was a bath in the house. What a luxury!

My mother was the secretary of Lochgelly Ladies Pipe Band and my Dad  and I travelled by bus with them to all the competitions.  The band was very successful. I think that the pipe major was Jean Harris and the pipe sergeant was Jean Lawson.   Her younger brother John was in my class at Lochgelly East and went on to become a professional football player.   

I started playing the pipes with Lochore Juveniles Pipe Band and we won the world juvenile championship and Cowal Games championship several times. 

I gave up the pipe band to keep racing pigeons but later I joined Dundonald Pipe Band.  The big drummer was Bill Davidson and a side drummer was David Donaldson and were my  best friends.  I actually introduced Big Bill as he  was known to his Glasgow based wife Lilias and was best man at their wedding.  David Donaldson and his wife Jane were also there.    

Bill and his wife settled in Toronto and we kept regular contact.   I always had to have Dundonald Bluebell’s football results to hand.  Provided of course by the Sunday Post.  

Bill and Lilias and children (Ranald, Marie-Ann and Fiona) visited my wife Julie and I at our home in Eskbank, Dalkeith, where we still live. 

 My wife and I twice visited Bill and Lilias for the weddings of Marie-Ann and Fiona.  I piped at both weddings. Sadly, 18 months ago Bill died.  Lilias preceded him a few years earlier.  It was a very nice service but a sad return flight home.                                                                                   

While in the police I was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship and spent two months in America  studying how  the police and social agencies dealt with the young unemployed.

June Clark and her  husband invited me to stay with them for a weekend in Cedar Rapids and that was very enjoyable.    I retired from Lothian and Borders police in 1986 and was Chief  Inspector in charge of East Lothian.

I hope these memories show how much I think of Lochgelly, my old home town. Bill Peden.

















































Their older brother Donald went on to play professional football for Cowdenbeath. All three went to Lochgelly East.  Our upstairs neighbours were the Wyse Family and the sons Harry and Bobby played for Lochgelly Silver brass band.   I think  it was the Campbell family who lived above the Clarks. If my memory is correct Donald Campbell the young father was killed in a mining accident. I think by then we had moved to 13 Hugh Avenue, a new housing scheme and found for the first time that there was a bath in the house.   What a luxury.  My mother was the secretary of Lochgelly Ladies pipe band and my Dad  and I travelled by bus with them to all the competitions.  The band was very successful. I think that the pipe major was Jean Harris and the pipe sergeant was Jean Lawson.   Her younger brother John was in my class at Lochgelly East and went on to become a professional football player.   I started playing the pipes with Lochore Juveniles Pipe Band and we won the World juvenile championship and Cowal Games championship several times I gave up the pipe band to keep racing pigeons.  Later I joined Dundonald Pipe Band.  The big drummer was Bill Davidson and a side drummer was David Donaldson and  were my  best friends.  I actually introduced Big Bill as he  was known to his Glasgow based wife Lilias and was best man at their wedding.  David Donaldson and his wife Jane were also there.     


Linda Brough (nee Beveridge)


Hi
I have enjoyed reading your pages as I am presently staying in England and missing Scotland! 

I stayed at Paul Street until moving to university  in 1974  and then Linlithgow. I went to Lochgelly West school from 1961-1968 then Beath Senior High school from 1968-1974.

In my primary classes I remember Roland Tandy who moved school, Peter Wright (Dr Wrights son) Lorna Wilson (her dad had the local joiners  firm) Linda Wilson, Eleanor Mckay, Sheena Macdonald, Chick McEwan, Barbara Malcolm, Linda McConnell, Senga Campbell,  Avril Jackson, Anne Mckay, Ann Dick ... can't remember any more!

At Beath  I remember Mr Clark,  Mr Paton, Ms Haig, Mr Hutchison, Ms Rrobinson, Mrs Love, Mr Cordiner etc! "happy days! Also alison ? now Wright, Jackie York,  Helen Mckenzie? Katriona Snowden, Ian Wardrobe,  Colin Duff ... to my shame I lost touch - went to univ with Margaret Page, Isobel Simpson and Irene Mcarthur. Any way of contacting people for a catch up?

Thanks for the wonderful thought provoking site!  Linda Brough (nee Beveridge)

 
 
Jim Burke, Canada
 
 
Hi Ian. I am sure you have heard this many times before but thank you for producing a great website.
 
Last year you posted some information from me on your site. I was looking for "blood relatives" since I had never met with any of my cousins, aunts, uncles or grandparents.
 
Since then I have connected through your website with FOUR relatives. It has been a great experience and I am sure we will all meet personally in the near future to exchange family history,etc.
 
Thanks again, Jim Burke
 
 

 Rachel Cowan
 

Hello Ian. I only recently discovered you site and what a treasure trove it is!

My grandparents lived in Lochore (my granny had a jenny a’things shop there) and my granddad John Cowan, a miner, was killed down the Aitken in 1925. My father was a policeman (Inspector Tom Cowan) and moved around Fife being being appointed to Lochgelly in the 1960s. The photo of some policemen and policewomen on this site shows some people I knew, for instance Sgt Bob Peebles.

We lived in a police house in Bank Street, where the quarter hourly chime of the Co-op clock kept me company, being right next to my bedroom. Our neighbours were the Sanitation Department.

I went to Lochgelly West School and remember Mrs Timmons, the Head of Infants and Miss Spowart, who taught me in my last year of primary school. She was strict (not averse to using the belt!) but fair and she taught me a lot. I was Miss Swotty and sat up the back of the tiered classroom with Gordon Scott (who had freckles) and Tom Johnston (who would later take over his family’s legal practice in the town).

At playtime, we used to play a game on the railings and steps that led down to the school entrance - Port & Starboard. Someone yelled one of those names and you had to run in the right direction and fling yourself up at the railings. We also played ‘Statues’.

 It was a big honour to be given the school bell to ring for the end of playtime - it was heavy too! The ‘lavvies’ were a horror for me - some of us were scared of them and boys used to run along the roof to frighten us more.

I remember Paton & Turpie the grocer and Mollisons and the Post Office on the corner. The Town Hall, which was opposite our house, held a big flower show every year - I remember being given a huge cactus dahlia by one of the gardeners. And ballroom dancing competitions where I seriously envied local girls who were dressed like wee dolls in layers of pastel coloured net and sequins and bouffant hairdos.

We shopped in the Co-op (I still remember my mother’s divvy number - 261) and the stables were nearby, because I remember hearing the milkhorses going out in the early morning.

I spent many happy hours (unbeknown to my parents, who would have been horrified!) 'doon the braes', although I was always scared of both falling in the burn (I was utterly useless at jumping across on the stepping stones) and of the 'tink' - who was he? The burn was always full of tadpoles and many jam jars of them made their way back home with me, only to die from neglect later.

I remember being friends with Linda Reid, who lived in Zetland Place and later Lizzie Bain. She and I worked as Saturday girls when I was a bit older in an old fashioned draper’s shop - I wish I could remember its name.

We went to St Andrew’s Church where my dad was an elder (and remained one until his death in 2001). I was in the Pixies at Brownies and later a Guide. I remember being very proud one year of being picked to carry the guide flag in the Remembrance Day service and at the war memorial. My Dad usually led these parades, marching ahead of the Terries and the BB company.

Out of necessity, I had two selves when I lived in Lochgelly.  One was 'posh' which was for home and one was 'Lo-gelly' for school and my friends. Being a policeman's daughter in those days was a pretty hard thing to be and I often had a pretty miserable time of it.

After Lochgelly West, I went to Old Beath High (where the gym had so badly subsided that a ball ran from end to the other without you touching it) and then to New Beath. I remember that Jim Leishman was in the same year as me.

Our dentist was old Mr Nicol in Bank Street and our doctor Dr Roy Blues, whose surgery was on Station Road. The waiting room had long benches and when you went in, you asked ‘who’s last?’ because there was no appointment system back then, you just waited - and waited. I remember also Dr Harry Wright and Dr Yellowlee, whose daughter Margot was at school with me.

We moved away in 1969 when my Dad retired from the police force (he had a big do in the Town Hall, I remember). Before finding this site I wrote a poem called 'Cuddies' which directly recalls my days as a child lying awake on a frosty morning listening to the Co-op milk horses clip-clopping down the street. Thanks again for such a memorable site - it was a fantastic find. Rachel Cowan.

 

Cuddies


jes' a glimmert o' licht

hoar

oan milk bottles

an' the cuddy

chompin' thae big teeth

huge heid

sunk in his brakefast sack

the cairt clinkin' and shakin'

doon the street

ma mither’s rolled up

note in the empties

two please

bi the time

the milk cam in frae the door

the canny wee spyugs

shelpit breists a puffed oot

wid hae

takken the tap aff it

ah wiz sent

tae pey the milk

at the co-op

mither’s divvy nummer

twa six wan

and me wi' a mooth

fu' o' braces



Ian Fraser, Lochgelly
 
Over the years I have had several enquiries about the sport of quoiting, or 'kiting' as it was pronounced in Lochgelly. Local historian David Allan has thankfully come up with the answers in the following article. 

"I wonder how many readers have actually played the old Fife miners game of quoits? No not that daft hoopla game with the rubber rings but the tough traditional sport that was played in Scotland for generations.

Quoiting - pronounced kiting - had tens of thousands of participants all over the country at the height of its popularity before the war; almost every place in Scotland had a quoiting team with greens located alongside the local pub.

Big crowds watched the games and it was a great occasion for gambling. The local press devoted many column inches to the local games played each week.


In Scotland, the old game is played on an 18-yard pitch with the object being to throw, underhand, a 16lb quoit - a D-shaped ring of iron - as near as possible to the ''pin'', or at least closer than your opponent. Similar to bowls.

The pin is a three-foot metal rod sunk to its narrowed half-inch neck in a deep pit of clay. Since the head of the pin cannot be seen from the footing board - the area where the quoit is thrown - a scrap of paper is stuck to the clay as a guide by ‘a lighter’.

A quoit in ancient times was synonymous with a discus, and the Greeks passed on quoits, a weapon of war, to the Romans who also brought the game to these shores. There are of course some similarities to the American game of horseshoes but you can’t ring the pin in quoiting, it is sunk flush with the clay bed.

It was a game played by strong brawny men – hence the sport of miners. The ladies game was unheard of – the weaker sex couldn’t throw 16lb weights over an 18 yard distance with the winner requiring 61 points.


Lochgelly in particular was the bastion of quoiting in Fife. It produced a champion in the great Willie Watters (Watters Crescent is named in his honour). There was a quoiting ground at the Jubilee in Auchterderran Road and at the Minto in Bank Street as well as a few others.

Watters and his ilk played men from all round the country with huge purses at stake and major side bets were the norm. Watters’ great rivals included Thomas Bone of Glenbuck (home of Bill Shankly) who beat him in the 1889 Scottish Championship at Glasgow, by 61- 58. They had many historic battles.

Other famed champions included Andrew Connel of Darvel and Robert Kirkwood of Banknock. Watters was a champion for decades. For example, he was still to the fore in 1919. That year he defeated Kirkwood by a crushing 61-28 to win the Scottish title and 100.

He had beaten Kirkwood to win a purse of 200 in 1900 – the biggest stake ever offered in a quoiting match. Willie Watters died in 1936. For most of the period 1895 to 1927 he was Scottish champion. Willie also twice carried off the British Championship.


Another Lochgelly quoiter was Dave Bain. Dave was a well regarded full back who came from Lochgelly. He played for Cowdenbeath for one season and most of his career was spent with Lochgelly United. Bain also enjoyed two separate spells with Hearts and was a very successful quoiter.

His nephew, John 'Tokey' Duncan played for Lochgelly Utd, Raith Rovers, Leicester City and Scotland. Tokey's niece, Elsie Duncan from Lochgelly, was the wife of Don Revie. Dave Bain died in January 1930 at the age of 46.


In 1954 the firm of Johnstone Forge Ltd closed its doors for the last time and it was the last firm in Britain to make traditional quoits. The old game though survives and is still sporadically played in Wales and Scotland.

Scotland now has around a dozen clubs, under the control of the Scottish Quoiting Association, whilst Wales has only a few clubs, based around Dyfed and Powys. There is an international each year between the countries. A far cry though from the days when crowds thronged to Lochgelly for a big match involving Watters – and the attendant betting frenzy it created."


Lew Allan, Canada
 
 
Greetings Ian, from Innisfil in Ontario.                 
 
Firstly as many people have done previously let me congratulate you on your web site. It must have taken you a lot of time and effort to get it all together.

My name is Lew Allan and I was born in 1948 and stayed in Small Street until I was 15. I then joined up with the Merchant navy and in 1968 emigrated to Canada where for 30 years I had a great career as a Paramedic.
 
As you can see from my licence plate I still carry a bit of Lochgelly with me and I thought this would be of interest to your readers. If  any of my old school mates from the East School remember me it would be nice to hear from them.

Again, love your web site.  Lew Allan

 

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David Grubb
 
 
It was with great interest and nostalgia that I read the article by Ron Hunter about the prefabs. My parents moved into 13 McGregor Avenue about the time of the big snow of 47/48 when I was one-year-old and we lived there very happily till 1956 and moved to England. 
 
As I got older I remember playing with all the other children my age, the Hunters, Hendersons, McPhersons, Adams, McCormacks, Townsends who emigrated to America, Wilsons then myself and lastly the Forbes.
 
Those kids augmented by some from the bottom end of David Street. formed a happy band of urchins forever getting into mischief as we played in the planting or - as it got dark - using a lamp-post as a base for hide and seek.
 
What we counted as mischief like " knock on the door and run" might have been annoying to adults but did no harm or damage.

As Ron Hunter said in his article the vast majority of families were over the moon with their "little box" prefab with all it's mod cons. They were palaces compared to what they had been living in.

If any of the ex-urchins who all must be in their mid-60s or anyone who attended the West School 51-56 remember me feel free to get in touch. David Grubb.

 
 
John Plunkett, New Hampshire.
 
 
Hello again Ian. Looking through your Memories (3) pages,  I came across a note from Neil McDonald.

I've been trying to locate my old pal Mick McDonald who is the same age as me (85) and we shared the same grandmother Helen McDonald.

Last time I saw Mick was at my brother Jimmy's funeral  at "shake em dud." It is possible that Neil may be a relative of Mick and have information  that may help.
 
Being my age, I can remember living in Minto Street when there were no toilets and no running water. We had all these services on a communal basis.

I can also remember, around 1932/3,  when the houses on the south side of  Auchterderran Road were pulled down, the builders saved  some of the building stones and these were used as walls for the small front gardens of the new houses. Those walls are still there today, the masons even carved nice sloping tops to these walls and inserted a post box in the wall at the junction at Kennard Street.
 
I scan your site regularly and I doubt if there is a site as unique as yours where all the ancients and youngsters communicate.  Many thanks.  John Plunkett
 

 
Sean O'Neill, Ireland
 
 
Hi. My name is Sean O'Neill, born 1963, and I have reached an age when you wonder what has made you what you are.
 
I grew up in West Belfast and know about my Irishness but I have never felt comfortable with it because my father was from a coal mining district Lochore/ Ballingry/ Lochgelly.
 
The only thing people in West Belfast new about coal was that it was black, dirty, came from the back of a lorry and was a great source of ammunition for kids to throw at the "Brits."
 
My father was usually too busy working to talk to us kids, but when he did it was magical. The 1926 Strike, the drink, the backbreaking work and hours and the short life-span of a miner. They are my saints and heroes.
 
In his later years he told me how as a kid just after the 1926 strike his Ma had nothing to feed the family apart from margarine and potato skins  and when one of his brothers died the next in line got his shoes
 
I am looking for anybody or organisation who can help me look for the O'Neills or distant relatives.
 
I know Kate was married to Johnny McIntyre as we stayed with them around 1974.
 
Elan married Willie Carr - a true lady and gentleman. She attended my DA's funeral with one of her sons in January 1990 when the "War" was still on so she did not hang around, who could blame her.
   
Jim  O'Neill " The Bull" was my DA's youngest brother and he had a son called Derek and a daughter called June. One of my own brothers, Tom, lived there in the 1970s for about four years and hung around with a guy called Jim Crowe.
 
I would appreciate feedback, good or bad, from anyone. Sean O'Neill.
 
 

 
Stevee Modrich, Australia
 
 
 
Hi Ian,  I literally stumbled across your web-site by pure accident, but found many of the blogs very interesting and certainly very reminiscient of my childhood.
 
Like many of your other contributors, I am also an "ex-pat"  at the age of 62 now living in Australia. I was born in 1948 and raised in Lochore until we immigrated in December 1959.
 
Whilst the name Modrich has little or no connection to Lochore, my mother, Margaret Stewart was also born there. Her mother and father - Jean and John Stewart were a well known family in the area for years, and lived latterly in Montrose Crescent. She had two brothers and a sister, sadly all siblings have now passed away.
 
I was born in Lonehead Avenue and after a few moves my family settled in Balbedie Avenue - firstly at number 3 (top side) in a small prefab house and then later at number 85 - a double-storey which is still there to this day. I attended St Kenneth's primary school on the south-side of Lochore until class 6. We left for Australia shortly after I sat my 11-plus exam.
 
I can still remember a few names from school days such as Kenny McGurk, Joan Thompson, Pat Rafferty, Grace McCutcheon, James Rowan, Rosemary Glynn  and Martin Cassidy.We also had a nice teacher in grade 3 (Mrs. McGovern) who I credit with teaching me to read - she was extremely patient. There was also a janitor who worked at the school and performed all sorts of odd jobs - a rather large and nice man, but his name escapes me.
 
Even in those days we had school lunches, which on reflection was pretty innovative for the 50's and the daily small bottles of milk were delivered by the crate and handed out to each class ... and what's more were free. I notice from St.Kenneth's web-site that these are now 16p each.
 
I have a few memories of the town which were reinforced by a short visit back some 20 years ago. As always, when you are young , everything seems so much larger. That certainly applied not only to our house but also the town. You can imagine my surprise when I found that the house at number 85 was in fact very modest in size and the town was little more than a village.
 
The fact that Ballingry-Lochore-Crosshill-Glencraig and Lochgelly have now practically merged together creates the impression of a much bigger place.
 
From memory the town was not startling - it had Garry's Pub at the top end of town and at the bottom of what was referred to as "Lochgelly Brae" and a few shops and stores. The most notable being Angelo Valente's Fish and Chip Shop where we enjoyed many a "haggis supper". There was also the "Co-op" which was a dimly lit store with a weather board floor, that never seemed to stock too much.
 
I do remember that it had the old pulley system with the money containers that used to shoot to the back of the store and then back again with the change - always fascinating to a small boy.
 
Further along was another pub, The Red Goth and almost opposite the Legion Hall. I had been in here a few times with my grandfather and always found it impressive. I used to watch him playing billiards or bowls and at the same time admire the grandeur of the place as it was then.
 
Around the corner was old Mrs Loves shop - where we always bought our sweets... particularly if we were on our way to "nana's" place in Montrose Crescent.  Further down and across the railway line towards Crosshill was a vacant area of land which occasionall hosted a circus. Then came Freddy Bremner's Barber shop. I used to go there with my grandfather while he had a haircut. I recall he used to stock white clay pipes which were a popular item with kids to blow bubbles.
 
On the opposite side of the road was Dr Sinclairs surgery and then the Star Cinema, before the school came into view. We used to walk to school so I can't imagine the distances that I have described were very great.
 
On occassions I can recall catching the blue double-decker bus to Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath or Dunfermline on family outings or to visit relatives in Leven and Methil - all before we owned a car. I still have a cousin in Dunfermline Jane Agnew (nee Knought) who is married to Pete Agnew of Nazareth fame - but that is another story.
 
My grandfather worked for over 50 years at the Mary Pit which has now been turned into the Meadows Country Park. I did visit this area on my return trip and without the Pit Wheel as a reference point would have been hard pressed to recognise anything. My father also worked in the mines - The Nellie - where he was a shot-firer and later was studying at Heriot-Watt engineering college to become a mine manager. News that the mines were all liklely to close really hastened his decision to emigrate.
 
Growing up was a great deal of fun. The snow drifts in winter were often three and more feet deep and the frozen streams which were always an invitation to test. But always the open (coal) fire to keep the houses warm.
 
The long summers where daylight saving stretched the nights out till 10.30pm seemed endless. We enjoyed day trips to Loch Leven and later, after we got a car, would travel further to Perth and St Andrews. As kids, we regularly climbed the "Bishop" a small hill (quite big at the time) at the back of our home, and occasionally the greater expedition to Benarty ... almost an all day job.
 
If by any chance I have mentioned anything, names or places which you have more recent knowledge of, then I would really appreciate more feedback. In the meantime, I may need to wait until my retirement until I get the opportunity to revisit Lochore. Thanks for the memories. Cheers, Steve Modrich
 
 
 

 
 
Dave Blane, Cardenden
 
 
 
Hi Ian. I came from Ballingry but have many happy memories of living in Lochgelly after we moved to stay in the McGregor Avenue prefabs in 1954.
 
I soon made pals with Adam Hynd  and we enjoyed belting a golf ball, armed with a club each, over the tin-roofed hut that was at the golf course.  We also ventured down the "braes" and had many good times. 
 
I attended the East school, headmaster Mr Lugton, and I played in the football team under Mr Stark.  We played our games on the pitch at the foot of Auchterderran Road just past Fraser's garage. 
 
My uncle Dave Blane had a wood-cutting business, selling firewood and logs which were processed at Rose Street behind the Jubilee. 
 
At one time there were four Blane brothers staying in the Happyland but eventually Dave and Sanny moved to Auchterderran Road while Frank moved to Hall Street and Wull to Artella Cottages, Glencraig. 
 
On leaving school in 1955 I went to work at Dryburgh's butcher shop in Cowdenbeath (now the hoover shop just past the Picture House). After a few months there I got a job with Lochgelly Co-Op butchery at Knockhill Close.  The manager was Archie Cameron and the charge hand was Peter Moyes. 
 
I started upstairs in the "Cooked Meat" Department where we made sliced sausage, link sausage, puddings, potted meat etc.  The gaffer was Willie Martin who I believe came from Glencraig and I also remember Andy Crawford from Ballingry. There were a few female staff also but names escape me. 
 
Downstairs I remember Andrew Duff (Balgreggie Road),  Jimmy Wallace (West End) his sister Ella also worked there.  Tam McGowan (Lochore) Alex Easton and Billy Steele (Ballingry).  Joyce Johnston was a cash clerk in the front shop.  In the abattoir at that time were Jimmy Spittal then Alex Clark.  Some of the vanmen were: Jimmy Breslin, Boyd Bremner, Bob Beveridge and Harry Justice. 
 
I stayed with the Co-op serving at several branches of the butchery until 1959 when I left Lochgelly to join the Army where I enjoyed 22 years of service.
 
Your site is a pleasure to read, Ian, and I hope my contribution is of some interest to your readers. Regards. Dave Blane
 
 

 
 
Jacqueline (Blamey) Delchau, Australia
 
 
My name is Jacqueline Delchau and my dad came from Lochgelly. His name was William Blamey and he married my mother Doris White in England but they went back to Lochgelly to live where my sister Margaret was born. 
 
They left Lochgelly sometime after the war and settled in Manchester where my sister Anne and I were born. My dad lost his brother John in a pit accident in Lochgelly. We used to visit a relative?? in the summer holidays for a week when I was a youngster. I now know it was called the Happyland.
 
Any information about my parents or relatives would be very welcome. My parents William and Doris passed away many years ago after a new life in Australia emigrating in 1961. Keep up the good work, It's great to see all the new photos, Cheers. Jacqueline Delchau
 

 
John Fox, South Wales
 
 
I discovered your site by accident while I was looking for lost cousins and its the best thing that ever happened to me.
 
We moved to South Wales in 1964 - my father Jock Fox who lived in Lumphinnans before we moved to Lochgelly where we lived in South Sreet across the road from Charlies chip shop.
 
My father was a miner for the best part of his life then he had a change and worked in Rosyth dockyard. Work then came up for miners in S Wales and they were offering houses with the job.
 
It was a big step and we were going to come back after six months as it was very hard getting on with Welsh people. Anyway we've been here 43 years now.
 
My mother was Amelia Murdoch Fox known to people as Milly and she worked in Duncans chocolate factory in Edinburgh.
 
We have relatives in Lumphinnans, Cowdenbeath and Dunfermilne and my Aunty Ellen from Cowdenbeath is the only surviving relative on my mothers side, the Macphersons.
 
My father and I still live in the small town of Beddau Pontypridd and I am trying to contact lost cousins in New Zealand and Cowdenbeath called Macphersons. It would be nice to get in touch. Thanks for your Lochgelly memories. John Fox.
 

Harry Crawford, Stirling
 
 
Hi. I was born in Dunfermline in 1950 and I learned to play bagpipes with Kelty and Blairadam Pipe Band and for a while around 1965/6 I have fond memories of  playing with Glencraig Juvenile Pipe Band.
 
A friend of mine Robert Macpherson (recently deceased) also piped with the Lochgelly Ladies on a couple of occasions.
 
Alas I have no photos of any of these bands or of myself during that time either and I wonder if anyone has any photos to send me. Thanks. Harry Crawford
 
 

 
 

Phyllis Morris

phyllismorris56@yahoo.com

Hi Ian. I am searching for a local family called Williams who used to live in Lumphinnans. 

I wondered if anyone knows where I could get some photos of them. Thanks for reading. Phyllis Morris

 

 
 

Bill Robertson, Australia
 
 
Dear Ian and Anne,  My cousin, in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, sent me this photograph that my mother, Joey Robertson, had sent to her brother, Jim Reid, in 1947.
 
After my uncle Jim died, my cousin found this old photograph and sent it to me. I thought it may be of interest to you and to some of the visitors to your wonderful site. The photograph was taken in the first row of Melville Street, along from Reids shop, past the first close going towards the Moor Mission Hall and outside the houses of  Mrs Innes, on the left, and Granny Barnes, on the right.
 
I appear to be the only one missing from the photograph and on the back of it my mother had written that I could not be found. Knowing my reluctance to having my photograph taken this would be the case.
 
Anyhow, I will have a go at identifying as many of the people on the photograph that I can and perhaps some of the local residents can supply the missing names.

Back Row:Mrs Innes, Annie Shorthouse, Annie Innes, Jane Nelson, Lily Archibald,  Nessie Sommerville, Joey Robertson

Middle Row: Blank,  Margaret Lee,  Blank,  Tam Archibald,  Blank,  Betty Morris,  Blank,  Blank,  Blank,  Helen Younger

Among the Kids at Front: John Smails, Ian Shorthouse, David Sutherland, David Smails

I hope the photogragh is of some interest to you.  Best Wishes,  Bill Robertson (Gold Coast, Australia)

PS My friend in Scotland sent me a reminder that it was 50 years ago, on 1st Jan, that I won the New Year (Powderhall) Half Mile. Where have all the years gone? 
 
 

happyaus.jpg

Ian McCallum
 
 
Hi Ian. My name is Ian McCallum and I am researching professional footballers killed in the Great War.
 
Peter Johnstone was from Lochgelly and played for Celtic before enlisting in 1916. He was killed in action in France in 1917.
 
He left a widow Isa and two children Peter and Nelly at Glencraig. I am hoping that someone may know of any descendants still in the area or have access to a local newspaper of the period which may have carried the story of his death. Hoping you can help. Yours. Ian McCallum MBE
 

Marion Wilkin
marion.wilkin@tesco.net

Hello Ian. I was looking at your website about Lochgelly and I thought you may be able to help.

My husband is looking for a relative who was Robert John Fraser. He was brought up in Glencraig and married Anna McGurk. His brother was called Ken Fraser and his father was Ernest Fraser.

Robert Fraser moved to Canada after 1955, but we don't know the exact date. My husband is really keen to get in touch with him and we were wondering if anyone knew any information about him or his family. Kind regards. Marion Wilkin

 

 
Derek Bishop, Australia
 
 
Hello Ian and Anne, I have enjoyed browsing through your site and was wondering if anyone remembers my mother Fay Bishop (nee Gray). Her real name is Euphemia, however I doubt she answered to that much,
 
Fay used to live at 26 South Street with her father Matthew and brothers George, Andrew, Cubby and Stafford.
 
We now live in Australia and she has lost touch with most people over in UK so I thought it might be a nice surprise if I could forward a hello from anyone she knew.
 
Thanks for such a lovely site. Derek Bishop
 

 
 
James Cassidy, Florida
 
Hello Ian. My name is James Cassidy and I was born in Glencraig. My mother was Mary Sullivan from THE HAPPYLAND.
 
I do enjoy reading your web site and reviewing all the wonderful photos you have collected. My question is, how do I download a particular photo?
 
You have a great photo of old Glencraig in Pictures #3 section which shows the house I was born in, Glencraig Goth and also a photo of The Happyland. If it can't be downloaded, can it be emailed by your good self?
 
Thank you for all that you do for people all over the world. Warmest regards. James Cassidy
 
(Reply from Ian Fraser: "The photos have been collected from Lochgelly folk everywhere and are completely free to copy by anyone interested. Just right-click on any photo and its yours!"
 

 
 
Aileen Buckley
 
 
Hi. I am trying to trace my fathers biological mother. Her name was Mary Davidson and we believe she came from around Lochgelly.
 
She had my father when she was 17 in 1934 and named my father as Norman Davidson. I am hoping that someone can give me some help. Regards. Aileen Buckley.

 
 
Cindy Brown Petrini, San Francisco
 
 
Hi. What a wonderful website you have. I've enjoyed looking at all the pictures and reading some of the stories. Thank you for all your efforts in keeping the site up. It's great.

I wonder if there is anyone in the town that might know where I could get a good picture of Wester Cartmore Farm?My grandfather, James Scott Williamson, was born there back in 1859.  He came to the USA around 1880 or so. 
 
I have an aerial picture of the place that was taken over 30 years ago. I was so happy to see the place is still there and remarkably unchanged. I can see the Wester Cartmore on Google maps but of course it is not the same as actually having a picture from the ground.

Someday I hope to travel to Lochgelly. It is a dream and I'm not getting any younger so who knows? If you know of anyone who might know if it is possible to get a picture that would be quite wonderful.

Thank you SO much for your help and again thank you for the website. Super. Cindy Petrini.


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