Call to honour famous Kirkcaldy company with road name

Andrew Sneddon, a former Melville Brodie employee at the site.
Andrew Sneddon, a former Melville Brodie employee at the site.

A retired engineer from Dysart is calling for one of the Lang Toun’s most respected former companies to be recognised by renaming a Kircaldy street after it.

Melville Brodie Engineering may have closed its doors on 112 years of manufacturing history almost 40 years ago, but that’s not stopping former employee Andrew Sneddon fighting for the change.

Mr Sneddon, who worked for the firm for 15 years between 1955 and 1970, working his way up from charge hand to production controller, has been left frustrated by the road names given to the housing development recently completed on the former engineering plant site, saying they bear no relevance to the engineering heritage the area once represented.

“I can’t believe for the life of me how the names of the two streets that have now been created on the site don’t relate to Mellville Brodie’s in any way,” said Mr Sneddon.

“Saladin Street and Grist Place mean absolutely nothing, I can’t understand how, or why, they were ever chosen.

“It’s a missed opportunity and a bit of an insult to the many hundreds of highly skilled engineers that worked for Melville Brodie’s going back generations.”

The company, which operated between 1869 and 1981, was internationally recognised, for the quality and precision of its engineering.

“The name Melville Brodie was known the world over and anyone having worked there would walk into any other engineering firm such was the reputation of the company.”

Mr Sneddon is now calling on Fife Council to see if there’s a way of changing the road names to something more appropriate now that the new housing development has been completed.

And he has the backing of the former Melville Brodie employees group who still get former colleagues from around the UK to it’s annual reunion in th town every year.

While supporting Mr Sneddon’s efforts, Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks said the process of requesting name changes is often time consuming and often not successful.

“I’m very keen to see Kirkcaldy’s industrial heritage and history, like Melville Brodie and many others, recognised and preserved and I commend the efforts of Mr Sneddon and others who have already created a commemorative plaque and wall at the corner of the site where the company once stood.

“Changing the road names now created may be difficult but there will be plenty of opportunities to recognise the Melville Brodie, Nairn’s and others with the plans we have in the pipeline to regenerate Victoria Road in the future.

“That, I feel, may be the best way forward with this.”

Responding to the call to have the names changed, Gordon Mole, Fife Council’s service manager said: “We’ve carefully considered the request to change an existing street name.

“However due to potential confusion and likely disruption to residents of the street, we are not seeking to rename the street at this particular site. This is in line with the council’s street naming and numbering policies.”

“We will work with the applicant to consider how the former business use could be commemorated