Kirkcaldy’s Heritage in Fifty Objects

This blogpost is very parochial, being about the history and heritage of Kirkcaldy in Fife, a nearby town.

To mark the 50th birthday of Kirkcaldy’s Civic Society they have decided to choose 50 objects that relate to the town and its history/heritage, hoping to stimulate memories in readers which might lead to more information being gathered, information which might otherwise have been lost. You can see some of the ‘objects’ here, so far only 16 have been written about, but I know that the Spanish Civil War memorial just off Forth Avenue will be featuring in the list at some point in the future. That memorial has been on my mind somewhat recently as I’ve just finished reading Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit and obviously George Orwell was influenced by his experiences in that war. You can read Jack’s old blogpost about the memorial here.

I only have a few Kirkcaldy objects in my own varied collection of ‘stuff’. Actually I have quite a few old postcards of Beveridge Park, some of which you can see here. Below is another one which sadly is postally unused, but is of interest to me anyway because of the clothes.

Waiting for the Boats in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

The Mauchline money box below has an image of St Brycedale Free Church, Kirkcaldy. This church is still in use but is now called St Bryce Kirk. In the past the politician Gordon Brown’s father was the minister of this church.

Mauchline Ware Box, Kirkcaldy Subject

Blast from the Past – Beveridge Park Kirkcaldy Postcards –

Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy is a lovely park which was designed and built in Victorian times. They usually involve a lot of land and land being so expensive nowadays they’re a thing of the past, but apparently if you live near one it makes your home much more desirable. We used to live a two minute walk from this one so whenever I came across old postcards of Beveridge Park I snapped them up for my album. This blogpost will probably only be of interest to Langtouners – natives of Kirkcaldy in Fife, or people who know and love the park.

Beveridge Park Gates, Kirkcaldy

The postcard below is of the long gone bandstand, it’s such a shame that most of these elegant bandstands were ripped down, mainly in the 1960s and 70s I think. Possibly some were demolished during the World War 2 scavenge for metal for the war effort.

Beveridge Park bandstand

The next postcard is of what we have always called the duck pond, but I see that it is described as ‘the lake’ on the postcard, it hasn’t changed much.

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

The following one shows the original layout of the formal part of the park.

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

This last postcard is the only one which has actually been postally used and it bears a postmark – May 12 08. So it’s 110 years old. The bottom part of the photo looks very different nowadays because there are enormous trees there now.

Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy, Fife

Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and My Garden

Beveridge  Park

During the week we had a walk around Beveridge Park, it’s the one place that we miss in Kirkcaldy, we knew we would miss it as it’s a lovely park and when we lived nearby we were in there most days. Nothing much has changed about it since we moved, the swans even have four cygnets this year, just like last year, they seem to have got the hang of it now.

Beveridge Park

At home, I’ve been busy digging up more grass and getting rid of it onto a compost heap and planting yet more things, just about every time we go out I come back with some plants. The bright pink feathery sort of flower in the foreground below is an astilbe. It’s enjoying life in that border as it’s a very dampish patch, just what that one needs. As you can see the land is very stoney as well as being claggy clay in some areas but I think it’s also full of nutrients, by the look of the growth that most of the plants have put on anyway.


The foxglove below is one which I bought at the St Andrews Botanic Garden, they usually have some good plants there and this one cost me all of £1. I managed to take a few foxgloves from my old garden, just the common variety but this one is a bit fancier, it has grown much taller since I took this photo.


Below is a photo of a rose called Lakeland, I think that’s what it’s called anyway but it might be Lakeside, I’ll have to check its label. It’s a climber and I quite like the flower but it has no scent and the leaves have the dreaded blackspot, as you can see I’m sure.
pink rose

In the same photo you can just see a baby rowan tree and the leaves of an agapanthus as well as leaves of a hypericum which have all still to flower. Those plants were all in one of the few tubs which I managed to bring from my old garden, the rowan tree seeded itself from my big tree, so it’s like having a bit of an old friend in the garden.

So the garden is beginning to actually feel like a garden now but I still have some ambitious plans for it, no garden is ever really finished, we’re always tweaking them, trying to find perfection.

Today we were working on the inside of the summerhouse and it’s almost finished, we just have to buy some moulding/beading to cover over the raw edges of the tongue and groove, then paint it. I can’t wait to get some of my books moved in there, hopefully next week.

Winter Park in Fife, Scotland

I thought I would take some photos of Beveridge Park in the winter, although it has been a very mild one so far so no spectacular snow or frozen fountains this time. The photo above is of the cottage which is just inside the main gate. I think the head park keeper used to live in it but nowdays it’s used for offices.

There is actually a thin layer of ice over the top of the pond in this one, but it must have been warmer at the other end of the pond as it was ice free. The ice was a surprise to me because it didn’t feel cold at all, there was no wind for once and it’s the wind which makes you feel the cold, it goes through your bones. The pond birds don’t seem to notice the weather though.

There was some kind of stand off between the swans and geese as you can see, we didn’t fancy getting involved in it so we detoured around them onto another path – I know, cowardly but those swans are big beasts.

The tree above is always the first one to flower,I still have no idea what it is, it’s too early for cherry obviously, maybe almond though.

As you can see there was still some frost on the grass. The trees have taken a bit of a bashing from the wind this winter and the park workers have been kept busy clearing up the broken branches, but they still look good, and I suppose it’s natural pruning which won’t do them any harm, might even encourage new growth.

The three cygnets from last year are turning to white now, they are about half way there and in the spring they’ll fly off elsewhere. I think two of them have already been moved to another pond or loch, they have disappeared anyway.

And as you can see that adult swan is still keeping a close eye on the geese. The park has quite a good population of birds, apart from the normal gulls and rooks there are also moorhens and various types of ducks and even a pare of herons. The oyster catchers and curlews are usually poking away at the grass, obviously finding something to eat but I don’t know what.

I hope you enjoyed a wee tour around a winter park in Fife.

A Woodland Walk for Brambles

About a week ago we went for a woodland walk down to the Mill Dam which is on the edge of Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy. I went armed with a plastic box, just in case I found some ripe brambles/blackberries.

Mill dam

It wasn’t long before I found a nice fankled clump of them, I’ve dug up quite a few which have been growing in my garden because if I left them they’d take over in no time, but I’m glad to see them out in the wilds.

bramble walk 1

As you can see from this photo there were still a lot which weren’t quite ripe enough for the picking, they’re probably just about perfect now if you fancy picking some for yourself.
I heard a racket in the trees above and discovered that it was grey squirrels racing from tree to tree. I had no idea they were so noisy, but maybe they were trying to knock down the acorns to add to their stores, they succeeded anyway as it was raining acorns.
bramble walk 2

I picked over 2lbs of brambles in no time. When I got back home I had to look up some recipes to see what I could do with them.
abrambles 1

In the end I didn’t do anything exciting at all, just added them to apples and boiled them up with sugar to make jam. I do have big pans which are the perfect size for jam making but they’re old aluminium pans and they are now recommending that you don’t use them for acidic fruit as the aluminium is not good for you and possibly contributes to your chances of getting dementia. The acid doesn’t half clean the aluminium well though – I know from past experience! I used my wok as the important thing is to have a pan wide enough to get a good boil going.
brambles 2

I used ordinary eating apples and I don’t know which variety they were but they give the jam a slightly spicy flavour, as if I had added ginger or nutmeg to the mix. Jam should be 60% sugar to make sure that it does preserve the fruit and I used my sugar thermometer to make sure that it would set well, getting it to a temperature of 105 oC. I made four jars of jam and as I made some lemon curd a few weeks ago too that’s enough to keep us going for a while as we no longer have ravenous boys at home to feed.

Cygnet update

I took this photo a couple of days ago, it’s of the five surviving cygnets in Beveridge Park. As you can see they’re quite a size now and they’re even beginning to get some white plumage.

5 cygnets

The photo below is the very first one which I took of them, around about May 25th.

My how they’ve grown!

Swan and cygnets

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, Fife

It’s well over a year since one of the big red sandstone gateposts at Beveridge Park was demolished by a trailer belonging to a Bulgarian circus which some silly person in the council gave permission to set up in the park. It looked like it was never going to be repaired or replaced and I previously did a blog post on it, hoping to shame someone into action. You can see that post here.

Here’s the photo I took last year.

Beveridge Park Gates 2012

Anyway, I’m taking absolutely no credit for it but just a week after I posted about it, I saw a stonemason’s van parked at the gates. It looked like someone was being given the job of at least doing a survey on the work required.

And over the last couple of weeks the work has been completed. Hallelujah! The photo below is of the gatepost under construction.

Beveridge Park gates

Sunset at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, Fife

When Jack got home from work last Tuesday night he said: there’s a fantastic sky out there – so we shot out with the camera to see what we could capture.

trees at sunset, first

For some reason the sky looked even redder behind the trees, but the shapes of trees on their own are lovely. I’m fairly sure these are cherry trees, they’re the first to lose all of their leaves anyway.

trees third

The boating pond again, with the trees on the island on the left hand side. As you can see there are some birds on the pond but as ever they’re too shy to show their heads, they always duck down just as I snap them.

Boating pond

Red sky at night – shepherds’ delight and all that – well it delighted me anyway.

Beveridge park second

The Fountain in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy.

We’re still in Beveridge Park, at the lily pond and fountain now.
I really wanted to get a photo of the different autumnal shades of the trees which is why the fountain is in the corner of this photo.

Beveridge Park fountain & trees 1

I just had to take one of the fountain on centre stage though. I love fountains and although this is a very tame one, it’s a trickle rather than a fount, it’s still a thing of beauty, especially on the lovely autumn day when I took the photo.

Beveridge Park fountain & trees 2

Autumn in the Park

We rarely get two days in a row with the same weather so when you get a good day, you just have to go out there and grab it as tomorrow will probably be grey if not wet. That’s why I found myself at my local park getting some fresh if chilly air and exercise. I took my camera of course, just to let you see what autumn is like in Kirkcaldy in Fife. Are you coming for a wee walk?

These trees are at the beginning of the pathway which leads all the way around the perimeter of what is a large Victorian Park.

leaves & trees 4

The path gets quite steep here and I used to get quite puffed out by this stage of the walk. I sometimes had to stop and pretend to be tying a shoe lace or something, just to catch my breath but it’s no bother to wheech up it now.

leaves & trees 3
We’re at the top of the hill and looking back now, I think, there were men in the park gathering up the leaves using machines, shame on them!

Trees 1

This is the view from the path, down into the main part of the park, there are the usual play areas for wee ones and skate board thingy for the bigger ones. Luckily the trees screen all of that.

Trees 4

Another stand of trees, there are lots of them dotted around, unfortunately there are none of our native red squirrels here, only those American grey squirrels, they get everywhere!

Trees 2

After walking all around the edge of the park it’s time to veer into the centre for a walk around the boating pond, it’s much like any other one with an island in the middle where the birds can nest safely. The boats have all been tidied away for winter, they’re swan shaped.

The Boat Pond

And here it is again from the other side. It’s hard to believe that there was a film of ice on the pond just the other day, well I did say that we don’t get two days together the same here.

The Boating Pond 2

That’s the end of today’s jaunt, I hope you enjoyed the breath of fresh air and exercise!