Looking back at one of Kirkcaldy’s oldest firms

Colin Steedman with old architectural plans for Thomson Bros on the promenade
Colin Steedman with old architectural plans for Thomson Bros on the promenade

PLANNING documents relating to one of Kirkcaldy’s oldest firms have been uncovered during an office clearout.

Colin Steedman, branch supervisor of George Boyd Architectural Ironmongery, found documents dating back to the 1980s which included drawings, legal letters and planning permission for an upgrade of the premises on The Esplanade of long-established company, Thomson Brothers.

While looking at the plans, he realised if Thomson Brothers was still on that site, there wouldn’t be a swimming pool being built there today – because that’s where the company was based.

Thomson Brothers was forced to move in 1994 under a Compulsory Purchase Order to allow for the creation of the Tolbooth Street car park – now, of course, the swimming pool site.

The company moved to Randolph Industrial Estate, and although the Thomson Brothers name has now disappeared, the business is still trading, now under the George Boyd name.

Colin said: “We were having a clearout when I came across a box of old papers, and among them were these plans. They’re old and yellowed, but I thought they were interesting as they are for the site where the new pool is now being built. I’m surprised they were kept. You’d have thought they would have been thrown out when the company moved to the Randolph estate.”

Thomson Brothers – structural engineers and metal fabricators, who also had an ironmongery department – was formed in 1870 by James Thomson.

It became part of the Fife Group before an £8.3m management buy-out in 1999.

It was then sold to builders merchant group Wolesley Centres Ltd in 2003, and the following year the Thomson Brothers name was dropped in favour of firstly Build Centre Ironmongery, and then Ironmongery Centre.

Jewson, a leading chain of builders merchants, took over the business in November last year and two months ago, named it after its sister brand George Boyd Architectural Ironmongery.

Colin, who joined the company shortly after its move to Randolph Industrial Estate, said: “We were kind of hoping they might go back to use the Thomson Brothers name but it wasn’t to be. But while the name has changed, I’d just like people to know the business is still here in Kirkcaldy and still trading after more than 100 years.”