Keeping Kirkcaldy in the picture

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A CHANCE letter to the Fife Free Press almost half a century ago led to the formation of Kirkcaldy Art Club.

Miss Dorothy Ross wrote asking why a town the size of Kirkcaldy, with its “fine art gallery” did not have an art club, while the new town of Glenrothes did.

Her letter prompted a public meeting of those interested in forming a club just a few weeks later, attended by the president of the Glenrothes club and the principal teacher of art from Kirkcaldy High School, and 33 members signed up on the spot to form the Kirkcaldy Art Club, which held its very first meetings in a house in Sidlaw Street before moving into the museum’s lecture hall.

From those humble beginnings the club grew, and today’s membership stands at 107, from an all time high of 150 in 1991.

The strong membership is down to a solid core of talented people, backed up by a dedicated committee which has kept things going even during the lean times.

Strengths

“We have a very talented committee and our members all have different strengths and interests,” explained president Bill Brown, a former chemistry teacher who only took up art properly after retiring.

By November 1961 the club was holding regular weekly meetings in the Council-owned Trades School in Institution Street where it was for four months before moving to 126 High Street, again renting from the Town Council.

In May 1967 it received notice for the premises and there followed a period of using a variety of temporary accommodation from rooms in schools to the former Ronaldson’s coachworks in Dunnikier Road.

Finally in October 1970 the club obtained its own premises when it bought over a rundown building which had been the former laundry of the nearby Carmelite Monastery.

A huge fundraising effort provided the £2300 needed to completely renovate the building and it was finished in January 1972, with the official opening of the Hot Pot Wynd premises, which remains the club’s base, carried out by artist David McClure three months later.