Dunfermline Press

All aboard for a trip down Memory Lane through the centre of Dunfermlin­e


THE first photograph in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane is a view looking down a very busy Dunfermlin­e High Street, from the junction of Guildhall Street and Cross Wynd.

The image features in the ‘Old Dunfermlin­e 2014’ calendar.

Local historian Sue Mowat gives a snapshot of what the retail experience in Dunfermlin­e was like in those times in an article entitled ‘Shopping for the Home in Victorian Dunfermlin­e’ - that can be read in full on the excellent website of Dunfermlin­e Historical Society.

Our next photo is a view up Bridge Street where a variety of shops were situated selling the articles required for furnishing houses. Sue described two of them: “The furnishing department at Davie’s the draper in Bridge Street sold linen and cotton sheeting, both plain and twilled, as did Daniel Lamond in the High Street, although his was primarily a clothing store.

“Neither of them advertised pillows or bolsters, but they sold the closely woven, feather-proof ticking that could be used to make them. Pillow cases are not mentioned in their adverts either, so were presumably made at home. Both shops sold blankets.”

Sue explained what a ‘home’ in Dunfermlin­e during that period was like: “Very few people owned their homes with the majority living in rented accommodat­ion. The majority of houses consisted of two, three or four rooms, which might comprise an apartment in a large building or be contained in a small cottage. The very poor lived in just one room. Much of the single-room accommodat­ion was concentrat­ed in the areas of Pittencrie­ff, Woodhead, Golfdrum and William streets.”

Our final photograph shows the shop of James Kyle that was situated on the corner of Bridge Street and Chalmers Street where the Seven Kings pub is today.

Sue describes what a bedroom consisted of in that period: “The most important item in a bedroom was, of course, the bed, but not everyone slept in a free-standing bedstead.

“Most of the smaller two or three-roomed houses featured bed recesses in the wall and even in larger establishm­ents the kitchen often contained a recess for the servants.

“The main bed was usually either a four-poster with its set of curtains, a tent bed with curtains over the head or a French bed, which often had no curtains at all. However there were also portable and folding beds and when one furniture dealer auctioned off his stock it included a servant’s press bed, a hurley bed (low truckle bed on wheels), a camp bed and a child’s bed.

“Most beds were wooden and made by or bought from, a cabinet maker, but iron bed frames were also available not so attractive but less likely to harbour bugs, and easier to clean if they did become infested. The ironmonger James Bonnar offered iron French, chair, cabinet and folding bedsteads.”

The Old Dunfermlin­e calendar is on sale in the shops in Dunfermlin­e Carnegie Library & Galleries (DCLG) and Abbot House. It is also available online at olddunferm­line.com/shop. More images like these can also be seen at the Local Studies Department at DCLG.

With thanks to Frank Connelly

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