30 years of preserving Kinghorn’s history

Pettycur harbour 1912
Pettycur harbour 1912

A HIGH level of public interest in local history prompted the formation of Kinghorn Historical Society in April 1983.

And today, 30 years on, that level of interest about the past remains as high as ever with constant requests from around the world for information about the Royal Burgh and its chequered history.

North Overgate 1914

North Overgate 1914

Now with a bright new website, the society is able to answer people at the click of a mouse - but if not, it has a wealth of information which is included in ‘Walks and Trails in and around Kinghorn’ an updated publication compiled by former and current members.

The original version which was published as four separate books in 1984, was put together by some of the founder members who were rightly convinced that there was a need to bring together the important historical information.

Third edition

Over the decades it has been continually updated and is now in its third edition - and remains a popular buy.

St Leonard's Place 1908

St Leonard's Place 1908

The decision to form a historical society was taken by a group of prominent Kinghorn men following a public meeting organised by Justice of the Peace, David Wallace.

At that meeting Janet Clack, who was employed in the district reference and local history library and was secretary of the local studies workshop which encouraged local people to learn more about their local history, gave a talk on her work, which, it was reported in the minutes “was warmly welcomed.”

Mr Wallace then outlined the aims of the society - to “promote an interest in local history both past and present, and to further research into a variety of subjects arising from this interest.”

Membership was set at £2 a year and a committee elected.

Members of Kinghorn Historical Society on the steps of Kinghorn Town House

Members of Kinghorn Historical Society on the steps of Kinghorn Town House

Starting off with around a dozen members, the society grew quickly over the years to a peak of over 70.

It currently stands at around 35, with healthy attendances at its monthly meetings where expert speakers give talks on a variety of subjects.


In its heyday it also held regular bus outings to places of interest - tours to places such as Glamis Castle, St Andrews and the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. Although not so frequent, members still visit places of interest, with a trip to the St Andrews Museum planned for the near future.

Members undertook detailed research into all aspects of the village’s history, including industry, the railways, harbours, ferries, churches and schools.

Regular guided walks were held throughout the year and these have been resurrected as part of Kinghorn Gala in the past few years.

The society still has a small archive of historical artefacts, including old postcards, maps and photographs.

Over the years its meetings were held in the Glory Hole, the church hall and in the old Council Chambers and today it is based in holds the refurbished Town House which is also the headquarters of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, while public meetings are held in the nearby community centre.