Reunion night for KIrkcaldy firm’s employees

Workers at the Melville-Brodie engineering works, with Willie Black (centre)
Workers at the Melville-Brodie engineering works, with Willie Black (centre)

A REUNION is being held for former employees of a Kirkcaldy engineering firm.

The gathering will take place at the KUSI Club for the men and woman who worked at the Melville-Brodie Engineering Co Ltd which was situated on Junction Road.

Dougie Reid (70), who has organised the event, began working as an apprentice in 1957 and says it was a “marvellous” place to work.

“The skills you learned there were invaluable,” he said.

“It took time though, you can’t learn a new skill overnight.

‘‘We would make parts for the fitters at other local companies like Nairns or Tullis Russell and you would find out that a lot of them had served an apprenticeship at Melville-Brodie.

“That was the norm back then.

Moved on

‘‘You would do a five year apprenticeship and then you would look elsewhere for a job which would leave room for another apprentice to come in.”

Dougie’s own working career saw him ending up working in England for British Steel for 30 years before returning to Kirkcaldy.

And now he has plans to put together a publication about his former employers.

He said: “I had a look around and could hardly find anything about it.

“It would be a shame if it was forgotten about because it was a very important firm for Kirkcaldy at the time.

‘‘I’m hoping to put together a book about it or maybe a website.

War time

“I think it’s important that the younger generation learns about the past.”

Willie Black (87) is another former employee who began as an apprentice in 1940.

“When I began it was during the war,” he said. “We were making parts for aircraft carriers.

“After I finished my apprenticeship I stayed on and the firm was taken over by Bertam’s a paper mill from Edinburgh.”

The firm underwent another change of hands before it was destroyed by fire in the early 80s and now Willie is hopeful that the reunion will be a success. “It would be nice to catch up with people that I haven’t seen for years,” he said.

Dougie said: “Obviously a lot of the older craftsman may have passed away by now but if their relatives came along to share any memories that would be great.”

>> The Melville Brodie reunion will be held at the KUSI Club, St Brycedale Avenue on Tuesday May 22 from 5.00 p.m. Call Dougie on 722302.