Kirkcaldy’s former power station is finally coming down

After decades of dominating the town’s landscape, the derelict eyesore of the former power station building on Victoria Road is coming down.

Demolition of the B listed building started last week and already most of the ground floor rooms to the rear of the building as well as a side wall have been taken down, along with a section of wall near the roof where a large crack was clearly visible.

Inside the tram power station circa 1920

Inside the tram power station circa 1920

Specialist contractors were used to remove sections of the building where asbestos was present.

The Press was given exclusive access to the building on Friday to take photographs and video of the historic building which helped power Kirkcaldy’s tram network for almost 30 years from 1902, before continuing to supply electricity to the town for another 30 years before eventually closing in the 1960s.

The building and adjacent land was bought by Manchester-based United Investments in the late 1970s and, despite attempts to have it demolished and replaced by shops, houses and a nursing home, current owner Diana Josephs says it has taken until now to have stringent conditions relaxed to allow it to happen.

In recent months youngsters managed to gain access to the building and on several occasions had started fires which had to be dealt with by the Fire and Rescue Service which expressed concerns that a serious incident could happen.

Mrs Josephs outside the old power station. Pic by FPA

Mrs Josephs outside the old power station. Pic by FPA

The demolition work is being carried out by Kirkcaldy-based Blair Group.

Blair Dryburgh, director, told the Press: “The first job was to clear some of the ground to give us a platform from which to work and carry out a survey of the layout of the site.

“We made platforms to work from safely and all this week we have been carrying out a soft strip of the roof slates and had specialist engineers removing the asbestos.

“We expect to be on site for about two months, depending on what lies beneath the ground, and the main part of the job will be removing the front facade of the building which will have to be done by hand, taking it down brick by brick.

“A lot of the material is being recycled and the old bricks will be crated up and reused in other projects around the country.

“We are expecting to remove 500 tonnes of steel and are going through at least three skips a week for the rubbish that can’t be recycled.

“It’s an amazing old building which still had all the old lifting crane machinery in the roof as well as the tram tracks in cobbles on the ground and big tiled archways, but it is in a very poor condition and it definitely had to come down as soon as possible.”

Mrs Diana Josephs’ late husband, Amir, bought the building 40 years ago hoping to turn it into a shopping mall with carpets, furniture, bedding and household goods – similar to Stocks Discount Centre on Links Street.

The area where a large crack was visible was one of the first parts to come down

The area where a large crack was visible was one of the first parts to come down

“Unfortunately due to the ongoing recession, particularly in Kirkcaldy, the project did not materialise,” she said. “In the meantime his idea was to build houses like the project he developed with three partners at Seafield.

“In 1992 the building at Victoria Road was listed and it became very painful, costly and time consuming to do anything.

“He sadly passed away seven years ago. Since then, it has been an even harder journey for me as I was not aware of what was happening with this project, but I have had a lot of help from many people in Kirkcaldy to get the final demolition work done.

“As to the future we are hoping with the help of Fife Council to create something that will be beneficial to the people of Kirkcaldy. At every step of the way we will keep the public informed.”

The old overhead cranes used for the trams

The old overhead cranes used for the trams

The interior featured large tiled archways

The interior featured large tiled archways

The ground inside being cleared

The ground inside being cleared

An old electric company sign rusts, but change is coming to the industry

An old electric company sign rusts, but change is coming to the industry

Trams were a regular feature in the town

Trams were a regular feature in the town