» You are in : Bygone Dunfermline: 1976 - 1986



The burnt-out shell of the Abbey Church hall in April, 1986.
1976
The two most significant events of the year were the handing over responsibility for the running of Pittencrieff Park to Dunfermline District Council, and the announcement that a Shell-Esso consortium would invest some £270 million in a North-Sea Gas plant at Mossmorran, near Cowdenbeath. Pittencrieff Park maintenance had rapidly been taking over the income of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and to save both the Trust and the Park, agreement was reached on 1st April when Trust Chairman, Mr J. A. Romanes, handed the Park inventory to Provost Les Wood of Dunfermline District Council.

The summer saw a £1million blaze ravage the heart of Dunfermline as the derelict Cinema became the seat of a fire which consumed neighbouring buildings, including St. Paul’s Parish Church.

The Mossmorran announcement came in October and aroused strong opposition from residents in Dalgety Bay and Aberdour, who considered the tanker terminal proposed for Braefoot Bay was a danger to the area. – Cuts were imposed on local authority expenditure by the Government and schemes had to be shelved. Dunfermline District’s plans for a new Sports Complex were restrained, and, in consequence the Carnegie Central Baths, closed since November 1975, had to be repaired at a cost of £5000, and re-opened in May. – That month saw many US-owned companies in the area celebrate their nation’s bicentennial anniversary. – Proposals were approved to increase the Regional Electoral Divisions in Dunfermline District from 15 to 17, giving Dunfermline three extra District Council seats and one extra Regional seat based on the estimated electorate for Dunfermline for 1981 to be in the area of 96,000. – The Secretary of State agreed that toll bridges and oil rigs should be exempt from rates. – Several members of the Royal family visited Rosyth during the year. On 9th February, Prince Charles took over command of HMS Bronington, a minehunter. His father, Prince Philip, visited him there the same month and also called in at the Joint Maritime Headquarters at Pitreavie. Princess Anne visited Rosyth Naval Base in October for the recommissioning of HMS Jersey. In November it was announced that Prince Charles would leave the Service in December, a month after he received a visit from his brother, Prince Andrew. During the same month, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, recommissioned HMS Resolution at Rosyth. This Polaris submarine she had officially launched 10 years before. – At the beginning of the year Rear-Admiral W. T. Pillar succeeded Rear-Admiral R. A. Monk as Port Admiral at Rosyth. – After a collision in the Forth in August, HMS Reward, an oil rig and fishery protection vessel sank between the Forth Bridges, without casualty and was soon salvaged. – Among those who died during the year were two former Provosts of Dunfermline, Mr Archibald Frederick on 6th March, and Mr John S. Anderson on 30th April. Former Bailie Peter Weir died on 8th February. – Mr Geoffrey Lord succeeded Mr Michael Horton as secretary of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.

1977
The Shell and Esso companies this year were given Regional planning permission for their proposed petrochemical plant at Mossmorran. – Flooding took place early in the year particularly at Cairneyhill. – On 27th May, a major architectural dig commenced at Aberdour Castle to trace the lines of the old gardens on this historic site. On 10th June, street parties were held to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. – Mrs Carol Cowens and Miss Caroline Couser became the first women ambulance drivers in Fife. – St Andrew’s South Church, Dunfermline, was destroyed by fire on 11th November. – Dunfermline Athletic started and ended the year poised for promotion to the First Division. – Dunfermline Presbytery were given the warning that Sunday Schools could disappear within 10 years. – A Labour-dominated Dunfermline District Council was returned on 3rd May. – Deaths during the year included Mr J W Ormiston, formerly Secretary of the Carnegie Dunfermline and Hero Fund Trusts; Mr George Marshall, former Scottish boxing internationalist; Mr John Douglas, former Town Clerk of Dunfermline, and Dr C Barclay Reekie, Dunfermline first full-time Medical Officer. – The Fife Regional Council decided not to proceed with fluoridation of public water. – Unemployment in Fife at 12,000 reached the highest total since records began. – Rosyth’s new fire station was opened in October. – For the first time, deaf children were integrated into normal classrooms at Commercial Primary School, Dunfermline. – Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Troup was succeeded by Rear-Admiral Cameron Rusby as Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland.

1978
Sir George Sharp, Convener of Fife Regional Council, retired after long service in local authority work, to become Chairman of Glenrothes Development Corporation. – In March it was announced that Valleyfield Colliery would shut down. – Littlewoods Multiple Store was opened in Dunfermline High Street in April. – In May, Scotland’s oldest resident, Mr Tom Petrie who had spent most of his life in West Fife, died in Methilhaven Old Folk’s Home at the age of 104. – Councillor Bert Gough was elected Convener of Fife Regional Council. – The same month, there was a visit to Dunfermline by the Mayor and Councillors of Trondheim, the Norwegian twin town and Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative leader paid a visit to the Police College at Tulliallan. – In July, a whale died stranded at Low Valleyfield, and Fife’s last horse-drawn milk float was withdrawn from service with Dunfermline Co-operative Society, when the horse, Rebel, was put down after an accident. – That month, there was industrial action at Rosyth Dockyard over pay which became a national issue involving the nation’s Polaris submarine fleet. – There was a pageant and gala day held in Dalgety Bay in September to mark the 800th anniversary of that parish. – Mr I. C. Forrester, Dunfermline, was the pilot of an RAF Chipmunk which crashed in a bog in the Cleish hills, injuring himself and trainee passenger. – In August, the firm of John Jackson & Son, coachbuilders, Pittencrieff Street, Dunfermline, founded in 1908 closed down. – The death took place in December of Councillor Tom Ritchie, Housing Convener, Dunfermline. – Dunfermline Presbytery appointed their first Sunday School Adviser, Mrs Alison Baxter, 21 South Dewar Street, Dunfermline. – Rosyth Dockyard provided 120 Navymen as stand-in Firemen during a ten-week dispute in the Fire Service, to give excellent fire protection in Fife. – Shortage of skilled man-power at the Yard brought on a strike over pay which was resolved with improved pay scales for the 4500 workforce. – The Secretary of State, Mr Bruce Millan, officially opened the £6 million Glendevon Water Treatment Works, with associated dam in the Ochil Hills in April. – The 75th anniversary of the formation of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust was marked by a reception in Pittencrieff Park Pavilion attended by 300 guests. Andrew Carnegie’s daughter, Mrs Carnegie Miller, was unable to be present but sent a silver trophy to mark the event, and donated £2000 toward the maintenance and improvement of the Birthplace Museum in Moodie Street, Dunfermline. The Trust also marked the occasion by commissioning the dazzling fountain display, “The Dancing Waters” to entertain some 7000 people who watched it in September in Pittencrieff Park Pavilion. – A Local Authority lottery in Dunfermline was inaugurated in April, but was changed to an “instant lottery” system in December. – Application was approved for opencast and deep mining to be carried out at Rhynd Farm, near Saline, by the owner over the next ten years. – Plans to erase dereliction and decay in the Cowdenbeath area over five years at a cost of £2 million were begun to be implemented.

The doyen of political interviewers, Sir Robin Day, visits the miners’ picket lines at Comrie Collery in January, 1985.
1979
The year began with a snow blizzard in West Fife, the worst since 1963 and ended with an earthquake. – The Scottish Secretary of State gave the go-ahead for the development of the proposed petro-chemical plant at Mossmorran with tanker point at Braefoot Bay, near Aberdour. – Sheriff J F Wheatley succeeded Sheriff Gordon Shiach on the bench at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. – In February, Broomhall Curling Club celebrated their centenary. – In March, there came a return of the wintry weather, and a dustmen’s strike was settled. – Mr Dick Douglas in May became the new Labour MP for Dunfermline in succession to Mr Adam Hunter who retired after fifteen years’ service. As, nationally, the Conservatives swept to power, the local Tory candidate, Mr Tony Lester, beat SNP’s Miss Athole Cameron into third place, Mr Gordon Whitelaw, the Liberal candidate, lost his deposit. – In mid-May, Dunfermline Athletic was promoted to the First Division. – From that month, there were several Royal visits to the area. Princess Alexandra visited the Jeltek factory at Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, and, in June, Prince Charles visited Dunfermline Abbey for a service to mark the 650th anniversary of the death of King Robert the Bruce. Princess Margaret visited the Police College at Tulliallan and, finally, Princess Anne visited nearby Kilbagie, Dollar, and Forestmill, in recognition of achievement in aid of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the International Year of the Child. – Mr John Purvis, Conservative, was elected to represent Fife and Mid-Scotland in the European Parliament elections, only 35 per cent of the electorate turning out to vote. – In August, Provost Les Wood, Dunfermline, headed a Dunfermline District party to Wilhelmshaven, in West Germany, formally to establish a twinning link between the towns. – The old-established bakery and shop of Dunfermline City Bakery Ltd., in Dunfermline’s High Street, was closed, in preparation for the development of the town’s new shopping complex around which much controversy was waged throughout the year. – Vandals desecrated over 20 headstones in Dunfermline Abbey graveyard. – Dunfermline Co-operative Society members gave the go-ahead for a merger of the Society and the Central and East Fife Co-operative Society. – Plans were announced by the National Coal Board for a start to opencast operations near Saline, and near Hill of Beath. – St Andrew’s-Erskine Church, Dunfermline, had for over a year housed the congregation of both St Paul’s, the premises of which had been burned down, and of the neighbouring Canmore Congregational Church, the roof of which had to be replaced. A special united service marked the return to Canmore Church of the two “homeless,” and St Andrew’s-Erskine Church also, in the year, was the scene of a Festival of Praise, in April. – Industrial strife dogged Rosyth Dockyard throughout the year at a time when contracts had been lost through lack of skilled labour. Mr Maurice Fisher took over as the Yard’s general manager in September, and in November there was a trial run for “Synchrolift,” £14 million worth of equipment for lifting ships from the sea to be refitted. – Vice-Admiral T. H. E. Baird became the new Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland. – The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust gave two new mini-buses for the use of local primary schools and because of the re-organisation of local Government, the Trust had to seek a Supplementary Charter for that Trust and the Hero Fund Trust to enable local authority Trustees once more to be appointed. – Dunfermline Cricket Club celebrated their centenary with the Fife XI just failing to win the County Championship. – Linsey Macdonald, 5 Witchbrae, Dunfermline, with other Dunfermline runners, Karen Williams and Iain Cuthbertson, made their marks in athletics during the Great Britain v USSR international at Crystal Palace. Linsey received a standing ovation and, later, won the British Sportswriters’ Award for the most outstanding young athlete of the year. – Mrs Janet Penman, a local archer, won the European title at the ladies’ championships in Sweden. – Among those who died during the year were Lord Thomson, one of Scotland’s most renowned judges and a native of Dunfermline; Mr Jock Mackie, a founder member and Pipe Major of Lochore Pipe Band and Mrs Helen Russell, a former Dunfermline Citizen of the year.

1980
The year commercially was depressed by lack of market opportunities through world-wide recession, high UK interest rates and the strength of the £. Several local companies, apart from the boost caused by the ongoing project at Mossmorran petro-chemical complex, were doing well. Monotype International, Halbeath Road, Dunfermline; Jeltek Ltd., Halbeath; Store Design, Hillend, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, Hillend, and Gordon Macpherson Yachts Ltd., Aberdour, all indicated increasing contracts. However, one of Dunfermline’s oldest and most famous factories, St Andrews Golf Company, Headwell Road, went into liquidation. – “Expo 80,” a trade and industry exhibition, organised by Dunfermline’s Junior Chamber of Commerce, was announced to be a big success. – The railway line between Kincardine and Bogside was closed. – Two Dunfermline women, Mrs Helen Duncan and Mrs Jemima Coutts, celebrated their 100th birthday on the same day in January. – In February, the Dalgety Bay Action Group appealed in a hearing at the Court of Session against planning permission being granted for the Mossmorran complex. Their appeal was later turned down. – March saw Carnegie Hall shutting down for repairs after a dramatic fire, and a quick snow shower of some three inches soon disappeared. – The Duke of Kent visited the Maritime Headquarters, at Pitreavie, in April. – In May, Charlestown’s Queen’s Hall was re-opened by the Countess of Elgin after it had been renovated by a £30,000 facelift. – Dunfermline District sweltered in a mid-May heatwave with temperatures of 80 degrees F. – By July, Linsey Macdonald, the young Dunfermline athlete at 16 had broken several British records, but in August came her greatest achievement when she competed in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and reached not only the final of the 400 metres ladies’ track event but was a bronze medal winner in the 400 metres relay. The British media thereafter swamped her with interviews and accolades. In August, as Dunfermline extended a welcome home celebration for Linsey, Provost Les Wood invited over 80s to tea to mark the 80th birthday of the Queen Mother. – In October, Carnegie Hall was re-opened. – Littlewoods Store in Dunfermline’s High Street, opened a major extension. – HMS Revenge, a Polaris submarine, came to Rosyth for refit shortly before a sister-ship, HMS Renown, was recommissioned there by Mrs Edna Healey, wife of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. – Linda Slaven from Ballingry became the first female journeyman joiner at the Rosyth base. – In May, the North Church, Dunfermline, marked the 125th anniversary of its first Kirk Session with a weekend of celebrations. – July witnessed a visit to Dunfermline by the Catholic Primate of Hungary, Lazlo Lekai, which recalled an 11th century connection between the town and his homeland where St Margaret of Dunfermline was born and apparently educated. – During the year, the 164-year-old Dunfermline Abbey Church manse in St Margaret Street, was sold. – St Margaret also figured in a Carnegie Dunfermline Trust venture, namely as one of the central figures in a tapestry named “King Malcolm III and Queen Margaret” woven by Dunfermline citizens who had embarked on a Trust scheme for the encouragement of weaving. Ongoing classes in weaving were thence established by the Trust, and the tapestry which is symbolic of Dunfermline’s history and traditions went on public display. – A former Carnegie Trust Chairman, Mr David Drysdale, died this year, and Mr C R Allister, 7 Park Place, Dunfermline, was appointed an Honorary Trustee on his reaching the age of 70 after having been a Trustee since 1954. Mrs Linda Brown, 9 Transy Grove, Dunfermline, was assumed a Life Trustee in his stead. The same year saw Mr A D Robertson appointed Chairman of the Carnegie Dunfermline and Hero Fund Trusts in succession to his brother-in-law, Mr James Marshall, and Mr J. I. Scott was appointed Vice-Chairman. – In January, the Earl of Elgin was appointed Lord High Commissioner of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. – In December, the bandstand in Pittencrieff Park was severely damaged by fire, and Pat Stanton replaced Harry Melrose as manager of Dunfermline Athletic. – Dunfermline District Council started a new four-year session with 22 Labour Councillors while Tory, SNP, Liberal and Independent could only muster eight seats amongst them. Provost Les Wood, after 18 years as Councillor, and a record-breaking 11years as Provost, announced that he would resign from office in 1984.

1981
The petro-chemical complex at Mossmorran was one of the few growth areas during the general severe economic recession. Shell’s gas fractionation plant and Esso’s ethane cracker there began to take shape. – The new Primary and Community School at Cairneyhill was opened. – The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust commissioned an airborne thermal survey of Dunfermline to determine hear-loss from individual buildings. – The Trust also provided for micro-computers in Dunfermline schools. – Trane Ltd. announced closure in January when 151 people were declared jobless at Hillend. – From April to July, Dunfermline’s “It’s a Knock-out!” team proceeded through the competition to a European heat. They had shared the British title with Dartmouth, but were third in the Jeux Sans Frontiére competition held in Meiringen, Switzerland. – Two West Fife women, Mrs Jessie Russell and Mrs Lilly Wisdom celebrated their 100th birthdays in September. – By the end of the year, the Secretary of State finally decided that Dunfermline’s Opera House should be demolished to make way for a new shopping centre, plans for which were constantly changing throughout the year. Work was scheduled to start on this in January 1982, and the project opened in 1984. – The other subject of great debate and changeability was that of the new Carnegie Sports Centre, phase one of which was due to be completed in the summer and phase two of which was promised to commence in September. – A raft entered by employees of the Philips Factory, Dunfermline, won the Scottish Rafting’s Grand National held on the River Tay in July. – The Co-operative Bakery, Limekilns Road, Dunfermline, was closed in September. – Two men were killed in a light aircraft crash at Hill of Beath in October. – In church matters, the new Dalgety Bay Church was opened in March, and the 90th anniversary of the opening of Dunfermline’s Holy Trinity Church in East Port was celebrated. – The First Dunfermline Abbey Festival was a resounding success, concentrating mostly on organ music. – The Rev. John Johnston retired from his ministry at St Peter’s Church, Inverkeithing, after 44 years.

Tugs fuss around HMS Dreadnought, the Royal Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, as the hulk of the hunter-killer is laid up at Rosyth Dockyard in 1983.
1982
In January, the Belleville Hotel, Pilmuir Street, Dunfermline, closed down. – Heavy snowfalls occurred this month. – Fife Education Committee reported that number of out-of-work in Fife was near 20,000, with youngsters having only a 400-1 chance of getting employment. The committee, in January, also agreed to ban the use of the belt in schools with effect from the 1983-84 session. – Fife Regional Council announced they had completed negotiations to build a new multi-storey car park and town and country bus station in juxtaposition to the proposed new shopping centre in James Street area of Dunfermline. – Also, in January, Monotype International announced pending closure of their factory in Halbeath Road, Dunfermline. – Vice-Admiral R R Squires succeeded Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Baird as Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland. – The Education (Scotland) Act 1981 came into law in February giving parents the right to request the Education Authority to place their child in the school of their choice. – Mr George Honeyman, 60 Ochil Terrace, Dunfermline, who was Fife’s oldest ex-Scots Guard, having joined in 1900, died in February aged 98. He was on guard at the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901. – Dunfermline’s Junior Chamber of Commerce commissioned an aerial survey for heat-loss observation by infra-red photography of Dalgety Bay and the Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate. – James Bell & Sons, cabinetmakers, ceased trading in the former Dunfermline Opera House after 24 years in business, in February. – The combined Regional rates went to 91p in the £. – The South of Scotland Electricity Board became involved in local controversy with their plan to dump further fly ash from power stations, at Valleyfield. Sixteen-year-old Graeme Wilson, a member of Carnegie Swimming Club, Dunfermline, was awarded trophy as Scotland’s outstanding junior swimmer in 1981. – The Elgin Street, Industrial Estate, Dunfermline, was opened in March. – Dunfermline Cricket Club celebrated its 125th anniversary. – Phase One of the multi-million pound three-part project of the Carnegie Sports Complex in Pilmuir Street, Dunfermline, was opened on 2nd April – Closure of HMS Caledonia, the Rosyth Naval engineering establishment, was confirmed to be scheduled for 1985. – Mrs Catherine Sharp, Park Place, Dunfermline, became the first local lady trustee to be appointed Vice Chairman of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. – Mr R W McCrone, Pitliver House, Dunfermline, died in April. Former managing director of Metal Industries Ltd, the company responsible for raising units of the sunken German fleet at Scapa Flow, he presented a building for use in West Fife as the Fod Pre-nursing School, and also houses for disabled ex-Servicemen at Cherrybank,Dunfermline. – In April, Dunfermline Building Society, established in 1869, opened their large new headquarters in East Port Street. – TK Valve Ltd commenced building their 7.5 million pounds factory on Pitreavie Industrial Estate, Dunfermline, on 30th April. – One of the oldest public houses in Dunfermline, the Union Inn, Queen Anne Street, then derelict, was destroyed by fire in May. – That month, the Royal Navy set up information centres for families of men serving at sea in the conflict over the Falkland Islands’ occupation by the Argentinians. Rosyth Dockyard was in a state of high readiness, and prepared 11 vessels for the Task Force in the South Atlantic, Dunfermline residents flocked to offer accommodation to families welcoming their men home when the conflict ended in June. Battle-scarred HMS Plymouth was the first Scottish-based ship to return from the Falklands, arriving to a tumultuous welcome at Rosyth on 14th July, 1982. – Dunfermline’s new multi-screen theatre, The Orient Express, formerly The Cinema, opened on 19th August. – Three concerts were held in October to mark the centenary of Dunfermline Abbey organ. – The Townhill Wagon Works of British Rail were scheduled for closure in November after 23 years. – A new £31z2 million telephone exchange was opened in Canmore Street, Dunfermline. – Townhill Parish Church celebrated 100th anniversary on 16th November. – Mike Duffy, Lochgelly, came second in the 82.5 kilos section of the World Power Lifting Championship and Lorna Morrison, 1 Overhaven, Limekilns, became the first Scottish female gymnast to win full Great Britain Colours in November. – Report released of 1981 Census showed Britain’s population to be 54.3 million; Scotland 5.1 million and Dunfermline Constituency, 91,426 people with 54.8 per cent of Dunfermline’s population living in Council accommodation. – Dunfermline’s housing development at Canon Lynch Court, Pittencrieff Street, opened on 1st December, by long-serving Councillor, Mrs Janie Train, who died a few days later. – Law’s Supermarket was opened in Dalgety Bay. – Controversy occurred over the “laying-up” of the first British nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, at Rosyth Naval Base.

1983
On 25th March, Mrs Jane Cosans, Cowdenbeath, changed the whole aspect to a certain degree of discipline in Scottish schools. She was awarded £11,846 by the European Court of Human Rights, plus costs, in her protesting against her son’s being suspended from Beath High School for refusing to be belted. This much contributed to the banning of the use of the belt in Scottish schools. – Mr James Scott succeeded to the chairmanship of the Carnegie Duinfermline & Hero Fund Trusts. – Townhill Church reached its centenary on 1st April with appropriate celebration. – In April also, decorated beams some 400 years old, were uncovered during renovation at the Red Lion public house in Culross. – HMS Dreadnought, the first nuclear-powered British submarine, was “blacked” by two Trade Unions when towed into Rosyth for permanent berthing in retirement. – Tourism became the responsibility of District Councils and Area Tourist Boards from 1st April. Tourism in Fife in 1982 represented an income of £43 million. The new Forth Valley Tourist Board, to cover Dunfermline District, had had its first meeting in February. – Construction of the mooted East Fife Regional Road commencing at the Halbeath roundabout was given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Scotland. – A controversy arose over the conversion of Old Dalgety Church into a health and sports centre. – A new high school was approved for Lochgelly on 14th February. – Warnings were given that Dunfermline Abbey Church required £350,000 for urgent repairs and that a national appeal would be required to meet the cost. – The 1809 Sheriff Court building in Dunfermline’s High Street was put up for sale and later bought by entrepreneurial developers who intended to convert it into a small shopping mall. – Planning approval was sought and later given for the conversion into domestic flats of Erskine House, St Leonard’s Street, Dunfermline. Built in 1980 this was the former administrative offices of Erskine Beveridge & Co, linen manufacturers and of Fife Silk Mills. – Dunfermline Art Club celebrated its centenary in May. – Marks & Spencer Ltd, the national multiple store company, announced their intention in May that they would construct a new emporium adjacent to the approved new James Street complex in Dunfermline, on the High Street/Bonnar Street corner site, with completion forecast for early summer 1985. – Provost Les Wood, the last Provost of Dunfermline, since 1424, under the Government Local Authority reform, announced that he would not seek re-election in 1984, after 11 years in that office. – Lorna Morrison, a Dunfermline Woodmill High School pupil, became the 1983 Scottish senior gymnastics’ champion. – Lord Elgin, in May, said he would not object in principle to the return of the “Elgin Marbles” to Greece. – Local Boys’ Brigade members celebrated the centenary of the movement at the end of May. – Dunfermline District Council, amidst controversy, gave approval in June, to the dumping of fly-ash from Longannet Power Station into lagoons at Low Valleyfield. – The new Dunfermline Sheriff Court, Carnegie Drive, Dunfermline, was officially opened on 17th June.
The South of Scotland Electricity Board announced that month that half of the generating capacity at Kincardine Power Station would be shut down permanently. – The 2nd Fife (Dunfermline YMCA) Scout Group, the oldest in Fife, celebrated 75 years anniversary with a special camp at their permanent ground at Nineacres, Crook of Devon. – In August, official approval was given for the drilling for oil in West Fife. – Dunfermline businessman, Mr William Soong, became the first Chinese Justice of the Peace in Scotland, on 12th August, Dunfermline Central Library (Mr James K Sharp, librarian) celebrated its centenary. It was the first to be constructed of the world’s 2500 Carnegie Libraries. – It was announced in August that the first British warships to be built with gas turbine engines would be based at Rosyth. – A new health centre was opened in Rosyth on 5th September. – Tulliallan and Kincardine Parish Church became 150 years’ old in September. – Lord Elgin, President of the Boys’ Brigade since 1963, announced his retiral from the post. – Fortronic Ltd, electronics firm, opened new factory at Donibristle Industrial in October. – On 31st October, Mr Jim Leishman took over as manager of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club, languishing in the Second Division. – A new mine to link up with the Solsgirth and Castlehill Mine to supply coal to Longannet Power Station was said by the National Coal Board to be two years behind schedule due to difficulties with driving through water-bearing strata. – Vice-Admiral “Tubby” Squires, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Port Admiral, Rosyth, was succeeded by Vice-Admiral Nicholas Hunt. – Rear Admiral John Burgess, it was announced, would become interim General Manager of Rosyth Dockyard to succeed the retiring Mr Maurice Fisher. – Brian Lamond, 82 Whinnyhill Crescent, Inverkeithing, won the World Open Piping Championship, Under-16, in December. – Deputy Chief Constable William Moodie was named to succeed Fife’s Chief Constable R F Murison in February 1984. – At the final Passing-out Parade at HMS Caledonia, the artificers’ training centre, at Rosyth, it was confirmed that the establishment would definitely be removed to Gosport.

The Regal Cinema and the neighbouring St. Paul’s Parish Church, a listed building in Canmore Street, are consumed by flames in the town centre blaze of 1976, which led to a long-running but ultimately unsuccessful litigation by the church against the Littlewoods Organisation. The displaced Church of Scotland congregation were taken under the roof of their Congregational neighbours with whom they continued to worship until 2001.
1984
There was a deal of activity in January. Erne Ltd, a company who had bought the former Sheriff Court Building, a landmark in Dunfermline’s High Street, announced plans to convert it into a lounge bar and 36 shopping units. – Dunfermline Athletic began the year low in the Second Division. – Andrew Carnegie’s Birthplace shut down for five months for the redevelopment of its interior and exhibits at a cost to the Carnegie Trusts of £120,000. The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust also revealed plans for construction in Moodie Street, Dunfermline, of sheltered housing in traditional style to provide a period atmosphere around the museum. – A heritage trail for North Queensferry received support of Dunfermline District Council Planning Committee. – High priority was given in February for the construction by the Kirk Care Association of the Church of Scotland for a £1 million development of sheltered housing near the Blacklaw Road/Whitelaw Road junction of Dunfermline. – The Phase II development of the Carnegie Sports Centre, Pilmuir Street with a main swimming pool and a learner pool with cafe and restaurant facilities neared its completion. – Fife Education Committee in March received an educational plan to spend £100,000, which in March received the Secretary of State’s go-ahead to increase to £2,320,000 expenditure on Fife schools. – Samantha Moyes, 20 Scobie Place, Dunfermline, became the first Woodmill High School pupil to gain a place at Cambridge University. – Fife became the first Local Authority in Scotland to partner British Rail in the development of a Charter integrating rail and bus schedules with a total of £84,000 to be spent on Fife railway stations. – The third submission of plans by Barratt Scottish Properties received a setback with plea for modification in regard to the development of Donibristle House, Dalgety Bay. – Mr John McGurk, a smallholder, with others, successfully defended action by Dunfermline District Council in the Court of Session, seeking to determine a right-of-way in Saline. – Dunfermline District Planning Department proposed in a report that a new Country Park be centred on Dunfermline Town Loch. – Mr Arthur Scargill, the miners’ leader, visited Castlehill Mine on 20th January, seeking support for an NUM overtime ban to offset threatened pit closures. This revolt against the National Coal Board grew in intensity, up to the time he again visited the area, at Comrie Colliery on 5th March. An all-out strike in the Scottish pits came to a head on the night of 6th March, and escalated throughout the country until two-thirds of the pits in Britain were closed. Pickets from Fife supported calls to other parts of the country and also picketed Longannet Power Station. The strike continued into the year. Fife Regional Council gave unprecedented support in approving loans and meals for the children to Fife miners on strike. – Two Limekilns brothers, Graham and Keith Bell died in the Cairngorms on 22nd January. – Dunfermline’s singing star, Barbara Dickson was awarded the national title of “Actress of the Year in a Musical” in London in January. – Senior doctors in Fife warned there could be a measles epidemic in the Region this year. – Proposed plans for a nine-hole golf course on the site of the former Foulford Colliery, Cowdenbeath, were continued. – Flooding and gas problems at Bogside Mine following an industrial dispute brought about the decision by the NCB to close the mine permanently. NUM action to re-open it continued. With the forecast made that Phase I construction of the new West Fife and District General Hospital would open for patients in December, the closure of Northern and Bandrum Hospitals at that time was cited midst protest. Controversial debate continued over the prospects for Phase II of the new hospital. In February, the former Prime Minister, Mr Ted Heath, attended a Conservative luncheon in Dunfermline, and a contingent of Broomhall curlers led by the Earl and Countess of Elgin went on tour of Canada. – The Depute Chief Constable, Mr William Moodie, succeeded Fife’s Chief Constable, Mr R F Murison, in February. – Dunfermline rates held at 22p in the £ but the Regional rates for domestic dwellings escalated to 103p in the £. – The Headwell bowler Mr Cyril Broderick, in March, became the first Dunfermline player to be appointed President of the Three Counties, Bowling Association since 1936. – Fife Education Committee set up a working party to develop an integrated approach to education from nursery school to university levels which would make Fife’s system one of more opportunity than any other in the country, it was claimed. – In March, an action in the Court of Session resulted in the Trustees of St Paul’s Parish Church, Dunfermline, being awarded damages of £650,000 against the Littlewoods Organisation for their failing to prevent intruders entering the desolate Regal Cinemas and thus causing the destruction of the church by fire in July 1976. The award decision awaited the possible approach by the defenders to the Court of Appeal. – Controversy over a Government report proposing the privatisation of Rosyth Dockyard was aroused. – The congregation of Viewfield Baptist Church, Dunfermline, celebrated its centenary during the week commencing 10th April. – On 13th April, it was announced there was a possibility that the Woolworth Store in High Street, Dunfermline, might be sold.

New 25-metre competition pool is opened at Carnegie Centre. – Serious fire at Donibristle House. – Woolworth’s, Dunfermline, to close with loss of 91 jobs. – Philips Mel announced 100 redundancies. – Marconi Instruments, Hillend, to create 90 new jobs. – Labour retain control in the district elections. – Alex Falconer becomes new MEP for mid Scotland and Fife. – Violence in picket lines at Cartmore opencast site results in 125 arrests. – Hospital catering staff complain about decision to go out to private tender. – Redesigned Carnegie Museum opened at the Birthplace. – Fife Health Board decide not to privatise hospital ancillary services following mass protests. – Philips Mel announce a further 61 job losses. – SSEB to close their district office in Halbeath Road. – Carnegie’s Craeme Wilson won four gold medals in personal best times at the OCL Scottish National Championships in Edinburgh. – NCB announce loss of two of the three production faces at Castlehill. – Hosepipe ban called, with only four weeks’ supply left in Glendevon. – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits Kinross. – Trade unions at Rosyth Dockyard step up their anti-privatisation plan. – C R Smith Dunfermline negotiates a £500k sponsorship deal with Celtic and Rangers. – The Cara Mitchell Appeal reached its target. – Polaris submarine HMS Resolution re-commissioned at Rosyth by the Queen Mother. – The Iain Skinner Appeal tops its £30k target. – Link Housing is given the go-ahead for 32 flats in William Street. – Brian Lamond (16), of Inverkeithing, wins the World Under-19 Pipe Championships. – Nine new bells being installed at the Abbey. – Opening of new bus station and multi-storey car park at Dunfermline. – The Shell NGL Plant at Mossmorran is inaugurated by George Younger. – Manclark & Son close their West Fife operation, with loss of over 100 jobs. – Public inquiry into Barratt housing’s plans to rebuild Donibristle House. – The Trident submarine fleet to be refitted at Rosyth, according to a statement in the Commons. – One-day EIS strike closes four high schools. – Handover of Phase I of the West Fife District General Hospital.

1985
Douglas Tulloch is succeeded by Bill Livingstone on his retirement after 27 years as Editor of the Press. – Fife Regional Co-op’s plan for a new shopping complex at Randolph Street/Queen Street/Chapel Street is approved in principle. – The former Sheriff Court building is acquired by Arrowcroft for conversion into retail units. – The first divot is cut for nine-hole golf course on former Dora Opencast site. – Work begins on a new 120-house council estate at Bellyeoman. – Sir Robin Day visits miners’ picket line at Comrie.– Work starts on dual carriageway through the Public Park, Dunfermline. – RFA “Regent” is presented with battle honours for its part in the Falklands war. – Gillespie Centre is launched as new meeting centre by congregation of Gillespie Church. – First fatal accident on Forth Road Bridge. – Carnegie Trust promote youth initiative with their new sesquicentenary award scheme. – Linsey Macdonald, after two-year lay-off, wins UK Women’s 400m indoor championship at RAF Cosford. – Plans are unveiled by MoD for multi-million investment at RNAD Crombie to include a new jetty for larger ships. – Sheltered housing development for ex-service people is planned for Castlandhill, Rosyth. – Fife Region propose highest ever rates rise: 27.7 per cent. – Phase two of Dunfermline Abbey restoration is given go-ahead.

Johnstone Syer navigates Andrew Cowan’s Mitsubishi to second place in Paris-Dakar Rally. – Brian Devlin becomes first priest to be ordained at St Margaret’s Church, Dunfermline. – Plans are unveiled for new St Peter’s and St Paul’s RC Church at Rosyth Naval Base. – West Fife miners return to work after their year-long dispute. – New bells dedicated at Dunfermline Abbey to mark the 150th anniversary of Andrew Carnegie’s birth.–
Inchkeith lighthouse switches from paraffin to electric lighting after almost 100 years. – Dunfermline District Council to set up experiment to use refuse as fuel at Lochgelly Treatment Plant. – New hotel, The Jacobean, opens on the banks of the Lyne Burn. – Government announces the future of Rosyth Dockyard is likely to involve full privatisation. CR Smith announces a £14m investment programme, which will create 1200 new jobs. – New Dunfermline District General Hospital admits its first patients as 65 long-term geriatric residents transfer from the Northern Hospital. – Half-day walk-out at Dockyard as protest against privatisation plans.

NCB announces £20m investment for Scottish area with a ‘reasonable share’ for Longannet, Comrie and Frances/Seafield. – New tidal berth officially opened at Rosyth to take Type 42 destroyers. “Rejects” store expands into Bridge Street. – £5.6m tender accepted for new Lochgelly High School main block. Dunfermline Athletic miss promotion by a single point. – £2.5m investment increases production capacity at Inveresk’s Caldwell Mill.
– Falklands War Veteran HMS Invincible is major attraction at Rosyth Navy Days. – New NATO communications system is opened at Pitreavie Castle. – The Rev Douglas Beck, of St Ninian’s, celebrates 50 years in the ministry. – Princess Anne visits HMS Cochrane. – Bank of Scotland announces its Visacard Centre is to bring 500 jobs to Pitreavie Industrial Estate. – Union officials call for strike as Michael Heseltine talks of the Dockyard going “commercial.”
Dunfermline Athletic players, 1910 to 1980s, attend a challenge game against Aberdeen at East End. – 370 guests attend reception in the City Chambers and Pittencrieff Park to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnegie’s birth. – 39th Fife Scout Group celebrates its golden jubilee. – SSEB announces closure of its Gas Turbine Station at Townhill. – “Master” of Kincardine Bridge, George Reid, retires after 38 years’ service. – Kingsgate, Dunfermline’s £30m “dream” shopping mall opens. – End-of-year closure of HMS Caledonia is announced after 50 years’ service. – Moderator of General Assembly, the Rt Rev Dr MBA Smith, tours Presbytery of Dunfermline.

Pitreavie Industrial Estate renamed Pitreavie Business Park. – Dunfermline Athletic party to celebrate centenary. – New police station in Dalgety Bay opened to cover Inverkeithing, North Queensferry, Hillend, St David’s and Aberdour. – St Margaret’s Stone removed to make way for new road on Industrial Estate. – NP Nursing Homes to turn Bandrum Hospital, Saline, into a private nursing home. – St Paul’s Parish Church loses £650,000 litigation against Littlewoods Organisation for loss of their building in the town-centre fire of 1976. – Celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Carnegie’s birth attract 2000 to a spectacular firework and laser show in Pittencrieff Park. – Minister Norman Lamont is given rough reception at Rosyth Dockyard after piloting the Dockyard Services Bill through Parliament. – New MoD Police Station opens at Rosyth Naval Base.

The darling of British athletics, Linsey Macdonald, with the relay bronze medal she won at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
1986
Multi-million-pound plans to modernise Rosyth Naval Base are unveiled by the MoD, for the re-fitting of Trident Submarines. – Plans for a new doctors’ surgery on the Northern Hospital site are approved. – A Community Watch Scheme is inaugurated in Rosyth...Fife Constabulary’s first in Dunfermline District. – Pitreavie to have new athletics track, at a cost of £110,000. –
Businessman George Y. Adamson is installed as chairman of the Carnegie Dunfermline & Hero Fund Trusts. – Modernised station buildings and car park at Inverkeithing are officially opened. – Dunfermline Athletic sets club record of 17 games without defeat. – New Naval Families Centre in Castle Road, Rosyth, is officially opened. – Solicitor Angus Macbeth retires after 40 years in the profession. Brig Tavern is demolished at foot of New Row. – Fife unemployment is worst this century – 22,790 or 17.3 per cent. – New western access road to Rosyth Dockyard is officially opened. – Donald Heggie Ltd, Accident Repairers, open new plant at Pitreavie Industrial Estate. – Bridge tolls rise to 40p cars, 70p buses, £1 heavy vehicles. – Keavil House Hotel announce £1.25m extension to add 43 bedrooms and provide a Country Club.

Two hundred miners at Castlehill and Solsgirth Mines are offered redundancy in review of manpower and production levels. – Headwell Bowling Club, representing Scotland, win British Indoor Triples Championship. – Dunfermline Abbey is re-opened for worship following 18 months’ renovation work. – Neil Kinnock visits Rosyth Dockyard. – Fife’s unemployed to get half-fare bus travel in the region. – Dunfermline Golf Centre, Kingseat, to be sold off as unviable. – Virgin Records open their first Fife store in Dunfermline’s Kingsgate. Dunfermline’s oldest butcher – J Shepherd & Son, 105 High Street – to close after 50 years and five generations in the business. – Dunfermline Power Station opened originally in 1909 – closes. – Fife Region approve budget for Hillend by-pass. – William Wardlaw retires from Ross & Connel, Dunfermline after 60 years in the legal profession. – Fife NGL Plant to increase feedstock intake to 3,600,000 tonnes. – Tulliallan Bowling Club’s new clubhouse is opened by oldest member, Jimmy English (78). – Fortronic Ltd, Donibristle, given Queen’s award for export achievement.

Scenic Cullaloe Reservoir, constructed in 1896, near Aberdour, to be drained for safety reasons. – Dunfermline Abbey Hall is gutted by fire. – Rosyth Dockyard unveils plans to build £220m refitting and refuelling complex for new-generation Trident submarines. – Dunfermline Athletic promoted from second division. – New HQ of Women’s Royal Voluntary Service is opened in Castleblair Lane. – District Council samples silt from Dalgety Bay foreshore to monitor radiation levels.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visit Mossmorran complex. – Region’s first rape crisis centre opens. – Public inquiry held into plans to make Kincardine Bridge a fixed bridge. – Rexco smokeless fuel plant at Comrie closes, making 51 redundant.

Carnegie Baths, closed before Christmas, will not re-open in 1986 due to massive leak. – Mel Rennie takes over as Pars Chairman from James Watters. – Dunfermline Athletic offers YTS trainees a two-year course as apprentice footballers. – Dunfermline Archers, Alex Smith and Janet Penman, win two world championships. – Final service at St Andrew and St George Episcopal Church, Rosyth, before re-development for housing. – Deal to provide 16 new “start-up” units at Pitreavie signed between Council, Royal Bank and Tannson Ltd.

Go-ahead is given for new road between Rolland Street and Priory Lane, Dunfermline. – Comrie Colliery to close with 480 job losses. – Bank of Scotland Visa Centre goes into operation. – Malcolm Rifkind opens Marconi Instruments’ new facilities at Donibristle. – Job losses at Rosyth Dockyard projected to be as high as 1300 within seven years, with 700 in the first two years. – First tenants move into Dunfermline new council estate at Bellyeoman.

Fife Regional – Council announce plans for a new £6m Police HQ. – Graham Hutt opens new showroom in Nethertown Broad Street. – Dunfermline Athletic give Jim Leishman a full-time two-year contract, to form a nucleus of full-time players. Castlebridge Colliery officially on stream. – Refurbished Dunfermline Station officially opened. – Bronze Age Graves found on building site at Briar Hill, Dalgety Bay. – Dunlop Textiles to close Victoria Works and transfer plant and production to their main factory in Pilmuir Street. – Fife Regional Park, centred on Lochore Meadows, officially opened by Michael Ancram. – Earl of Elgin retires after 10 years as Hon Colonel of 153 Highland Artillery Support Regiment, T.A. – Golden jubilee of Kincardine Bridge.

New surgery opened at Izatt Avenue by John Mackay, MP. – New £1.4m road opened at RNAD Crombie. – Sheltered housing at Whitelaw Place opened in October. – SSPCA opens Middlebank Centre for the care of oiled birds. – Goldberg opens new store in High Street, Dunfermline. – £2.7m town centre by-pass – Queen Margaret Drive – is opened.

Forth Bridge towers to be strengthened. – British Coal sells off 69 Blairhall houses to private developers. – B & Q negotiate with British Rail for the purchase of the old Upper Station site. – Dalgety Bay celebrates 21st birthday. – New church in St Leonard’s Place opened for Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints.– East End Park to get new floodlight system next close season.