Dunfermline Press

Memory Lane: History of well-known Dunfermlin­e family-run business


THE photograph­s in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane look at one of Dunfermlin­e’s family- owned businesses, Ian Brown Motor Engineers, who are sponsoring the ‘ Football Comedy Night’ in the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermlin­e on Thursday, October 26.

The garage is in Golfdrum Street and our first photograph shows it as it was when it was initially owned by William Rennie.

Ian Brown moved to Dunfermlin­e in the 1950s from Galashiels in the Borders where he had served his mechanical apprentice­ship, and worked in the Post Office garages in Campbell Street until the late 1960s. Ian and his wife Merva then bought the Golfdrum Street garage from William Rennie on the April 1, 1969.

Our next photograph shows Ian on the forecourt of the garage alongside his friend Willie MacFarlane who had a business in nearby Pittencrie­ff Street and who also had, like Ian, an interest in vintage cars.

Willie collected pre- war Rolls Royces ( one of which can just be seen behind Ian in the photograph on the right) and throughout his lifetime owned over 60 of them. They were able to be picked up relatively cheaply in the 1950s and 1960s, and the entreprene­ur in Willie identified a market for them abroad with many of them ending up in the United States.

Ian Brown later passed on the garage to his son Keith who runs the business today. Keith recalls the interest his father had in cars and motorbikes.

He said: “Although my father officially retired he was always the boss even after he left! He continued to come up to the garage every day until he sadly passed away in 2019. He was very active throughout his working life with the garage, which also operated as a petrol station at one time, and that continued after he gave up the day to day business of the garage.

“He always had a variety of projects on the go at any one time. Dad and mum had a great love of rugby from their early days growing up in the Borders and when they came to Dunfermlin­e they supported and sponsored Dunfermlin­e Rugby Club on and off the park for over 20 years.

“Dad was also a keen Dunfermlin­e Athletic supporter and I remember him telling me that he drove all the way down to Liverpool in 1962 in an Austin A30 to watch the Pars play against Everton in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup ( which they’d qualified for after winning the Scottish Cup in 1961).

“Although Dunfermlin­e lost that game 1- 0, they defeated Everton 2- 0 in the return game in front of a crowd of over 22,000 fans at East End Park to progress in the European competitio­n.”

Our final photograph shows Ian with a handful of rosettes at one of the many motor shows that he attended and judged at.

Tickets for the ‘ Football Comedy

Night on Thursday 26th October, for which the Dunfermlin­e Press are Media Partners, are on sale priced £ 20 from the Carnegie Hall Box Office on 01383 602302.

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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