Aims and Objectives
Kirkcaldy Civic Society was formed in 1974 and at its peak it has had in excess of 200 members. As a registered charity, the Society's aims are to stimulate interest and care for the beauty, history and character of the town of Kirkcaldy and its surroundings, in both the young and old. Also to encourage preservation, development and improvement of features of public amenity and historical interest and to promote high standards of architecture and town planning. In addition the
A Brief History of the origin and development of Kirkcaldy Civic Society
Under threat during the ’70s was the Volunteers’ Green on Kirkcaldy's Waterfront.
For centuries it had been common land, indeed the remaining acre of the lands given to Kirkcaldy in 1644 by a royal charter from Charles I, for the common good of the residents of Kirkcaldy. But in 1972 the town council proposed to use a large part of it for a multi-storey car park.
There was outraged opposition, which not only put paid to the plan but also resulted in the birth of Kirkcaldy Civic Society in 1974, which has helped ever since to educate people about their local heritage and campaigned to save it.
The Green continued to be a concern to the society and others, even after the car park plan had been seen off, for it remained an occasional caravan park for showmen at the Links Market and overspill car park for shoppers, and in 1975 a company started holding open air markets on the site.
It took a long legal battle to save the green for the public, which was won in 1977, although it was not until 1993 that the Green was finally landscaped and re-opened, much as we see it today.
From these small, but significant, beginnings, the Civic Society has grown considerably in scope and influence, now offering a comprehensive ranges of products, services, activities and resources – heritage plaques at prominent sites, books and publications (over 30 titles), guided heritage walks, historical talks programmes, exhibitions, monitoring and influencing of the built environment, archive and research facility. Many of its activities are delivered within a partnership environment with other like-minded local organisations. Many of its services are now being digitised and are becoming increasingly available, not just to local people but to a wider public (national and internationally), who are interested in local history, as well as Kirkcaldy's now widespread global diaspora.
The “Kirkcaldy's Heritage in 50 Objects” endeavours to deliver part of that services.
Robert Adam - One of Kirkcaldy's famous sons, born in 1728 in Linktown, who went on to have a glittering career in 18th century neo-classical style architecture
Michael Nairn - One of Kirkcaldy's famous sons, who initiated the building a world-reaching linoleum manufacturing empire from Kirkcaldy. Hence the phrase "Kirkcaldy - the town which floored the world"
The Old Town House in the centre of the High Street which was replaced by the Marks and Spencer building in the 1930s, the Town House eventually moving to its current location at the Town Square in Wemyssfield
Links Market - The annual street funfair on the Waterfront of Linktown which attracts tens of thousands of people from near and far every year for 6 days in April
A building which represents an important part of Kirkcaldy's industrial heritage and has been saved for posterity, having been refurbished for current and future use.
A complex of buildings and a riggs garden, typical of utilisation of a burgage plot of a late mediaeval town in the 16th century by a wealthy merchant
Civic Society Publications
Kirkcaldy Civic Society offers at least six guided heritage walks every year. The annual walks are:
The ever popular Hallowe'en ghost walk on October 31st (centred on Kirkcaldy Old Kirk graveyard and central High Street area) with at least a dozen "ghosts" of famous Kirkcaldy people from the past. At refreshments at the end of the walk, prizes are given for the best young person's Hallowe'en costumes.
Ghost Walk and prize winners 2019
The family mystery walkabout and quiz, which starts from a different location each year and finishes at the Old Kirk, at which the answers are given and prizes are presented. This walk takes place in August.
The New Year heritage walkabout, typically on January 2nd, which talks in the Central area of Kirkcaldy and starts and finishes at the Old Kirk with festive refreshments available, at which time a fun Kirkcaldy quiz and answers session is conducted.
Three other walks per year from a rotating set of six - Gallatown/Sinclairtown, Pathhead & Ravenscraig Castle, Linktown/Inverteil/Seafield, Kirkcaldy High Street, Back o the Toon, Burgh Boundary - these walks take place one per month in April, May and June.
An innovation this year has been the introduction of three virtual heritage walkabout:
...also coming soon:
In the Footsteps of Adam Smith's 18th century KirkcaldyFife Coastal Path - Seafield Tower to Dubbie Braes, Dysart.
More can be found on the Civic Society's Youtube channel here
Kirkcaldy Civic Society has a full programme of Autumn & Winter heritage talks in the Old Kirk from October till March, mainly taking place one per month on a Thursday evening at 7.30pm and also the occasional Tuesday afternoon talk at 2pm. Talk programme details are published on the Kirkcaldy Civic Society's website and printed programmes (available from reception at Local and Family History Section in Kirkcaldy Galleries and from committee members)
Most years the Civic Society organises, along with partner organisations, a major conference, which takes place in late October in the Old Kirk. Normally there is the biennial Fife Gravestones Conference and recently there was a special conference titled "Kirkcaldy and the Whale".
Images from the Fife Gravestones Conference 2018