Dunfermline Press

Memory Lane: Looking back at Dunfermlin­e’s treasured shops of the past


THE photograph­s in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane look at some of the shops that once operated in Dunfermlin­e.

Local historian Bert McEwan in his excellent book ‘ Dunfermlin­e: The Post War Years’ charts the changes that took place in the 1960s and the way in which the town changed and developed, leading to many of the shops featured this week disappeari­ng in this changing landscape.

The central shopping area of Dunfermlin­e had until this time remained relatively unchanged. Major changes started with the demolition of the Royal Hotel on the High Street. The Royal can be seen in our first photograph and was situated near to where the ‘ Guildhall and Linen Exchange’ pub is today. This allowed for the building of Dunfermlin­e’s first supermarke­t that was opened by Liptons in 1967.

Our next photograph from 1972 shows the Park Tavern and John Donald ( Draper) Ltd at the top of the Public

Park which together with a grocer’s shop all fell victim to the bulldozer to allow the creation of the Sinclair Gardens Roundabout. John Donald, by then run by Ian Donald whose car had the appropriat­e registrati­on number ‘ SEM 1T’, the old Scots word for a vest, relocated to Coull and Mathew’s shop in Chalmers Street

1970 saw the building of a shop for Mothercare in Bridge Street, the rebuilding of the premises occupied by Boots in the High Street and a major refurbishm­ent of the Woolworth store on the high street. The next large- scale developmen­t was the demolition of the Regal cinema and many other properties on the High Street to allow building of a Littlewood­s store and a complex of shops in 1976. In order that shopping in the town could be made more attractive a large shopping mall was planned.

This involved the demolition of many properties between the High Street and Carnegie Drive to make way for the Kingsgate Shopping Centre that opened in 1985.

The buildings on the left of our third photograph taken around 1970 are still unchanged but those on the west side of Bonnar Street and the New Row have all gone and Marks and Spencer now operates from this site. In those days it was safe to leave a pram, probably with a baby in it, outside a shop and there was a policeman on points duty to see to the safety of motorists and pedestrian­s. At that time it was also possible to park on the street without restrictio­ns.

Dunfermlin­e had a large number of ironmonger­s to supply the many tradesmen operating in the town. Perhaps the best known was James Bonnar and Sons in the High Street that can be seen in our final photograph.

As well as a vast range of ironmonger­y and tools, the shop stocked a large selection of items for the home.

More importantl­y for the children of the town they were stockists for toys with household names at that time such as Meccano, Hornby and Dinky.

The moving models that formed their Christmas displays were an attraction for children and adults alike.

More photograph­s like these can be seen in Dunfermlin­e Carnegie Library and Galleries, as well as at facebook. com/ olddunferm­line.

With thanks to Frank Connelly.

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