How Sunday cricket helped changed the Sabbath in Kirkcaldy in 1951
Life post war but pre rock ‘n’ roll in Kirkcaldy was rooted in work and family, and overseen by a town council which made all the local decisions.
A leaf through the back pages of the Fife Free Press gives a fascinating insight into the local issues of the day.
December 1951 saw a record entry at the first open dog show held by Kirkcaldy Canine Club at the Masonic Hall.
And the prosperity of the town was evident in a report to the Kirkcaldy area youth committee which heard that only one boy and three girls were out of work - and those girls “were mainly under temporary suspension from local factories.”
Those astonishing numbers serve as a reminder of the myriad of apprenticeships that were once available here at a host of factories - the days when you left school on the Friday and started work on the Monday whether you wanted to or not.
That month also saw a report to councillors praising Fife’s farmers for their co-operation in the employment of schoolchildren for the 1951 potato harvest.
The education committee was pleased to hear the youngsters had behaved well - in the main - but noted: “One effective safeguard on good behaviour is where the farmer was jovial and kindly. This is a point that should be noted with farmers.”
Swapping schoolrooms for tattie hawking would probably horrify youngsters of today, but 70 years ago, that’s how you sprint your holidays - and you made a few bob.
The Sabbath remained a day of rest, and with the role of the church much stronger, organised activity was still frowned upon.
The issue raised its head in December when it took a rollcall vote from councillors to approve a request to play cricket - that most genteel of past-times - at Dunnikier.
The application, for just one Sunday game per month, went to the Parks Committee with a commendation it be refused.
Sunday games had become popular across Scotland, and not everyone was against the idea.
Councillor A. McLean said: “I just wonder when I look around, how many of our councillors have played some form of cricket whether it is on a beach or in the back garden on a Sunday.
“It is the type of game we should encourage particularly in an out of the way spot such as Dunnikier.”
Such a move, however, meant manpower for the town council which ran the parks
Ballie A. Finlayson, convener, had previously used his casting vote to block a bid to open bowling greens on a Sunday.
And he warned: “Immediately you accede to this request you are going to have lots of applications to play games on a Sunday, and you will be in a position where you can’t refuse them.
“I have no doubt this application is innocent enough, but nevertheless it is a back door way of getting parks open every day of the week.”He noted that putting, bowling and were popular, but tennis had been “an absolute flop” and reckoned that if they took a plebiscite of the town it would agree.
It’d start with one cricket match per month, but soon escalate - and he moved refusal.
This time he was outvoted, and a little piece of progress duly passed.