A glimpse down close to Adam Smith's new home...
The narrow vennel that takes you from the High street down to the waterfront has been been boarded up for months.
Now the wraps are ready to come off to reveal a restored path that leads to 1 Adam Smith Close – the building that sat at the foot of the renowned economist’s garden and which, 400 years on, will be at the centre of plans to bring him back home.
The formal launch of the new Adam Smith Heritage Centre and Adam Smith Close will come in September, but key supporters were given a sneak preview on Friday.
A building that was effectively abandoned and forgotten – a ruin that would have been lost in the very near future – has been restored with thought and care.
It is now home to an exhibition which celebrates Smith’s life, work and links to Kirkcaldy as well as doubling as a heritage and resource centre.
And it will also become a focal point as Kirkcaldy finally taps into the global interest in the man whose writings have shaped the economic thinking of many global leaders.
The work has been led by the Adam Smith Global Foundation which will also be based at 1 Adam Smith Close.
The path from the High Street to the front door of the restored building now features a timeline which picks out the landmarks in Smith’s life, letting you step along the key events that helped shape the economist.
The launch took place the day after the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union, leading guest speaker Gordon Brown, former MP and Prime MInister – who campaigned for the Remain vote – to say: “We are opening something big rather than closing something big.
“We are repairing something rather than breaking it up.”
Mr Brown, who has been heavily involved in the global foundation since its launch in 2012, believes Kirkcaldy is now finally ready to make the most of its links to Smith.
“What has been achieved through the foundation in the last few years has been greater than anything in the previous 200,”’ he said. “We have a lecture, a heritage centre, an exhibition – and now we can show the people of Kirkcaldy what has been done here.”
The centre will not only promote Smith’s work, it will play a key role in delivering the aims of Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions.
That wider role puts it at the heart of the Merchants’ Quarter – the east end of the High Street – which, in turn, is one of the key components in the regeneration of the town centre.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee and Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions, said: “We are delighted to have been part of these historic works that will see Adam Smith finally given his deserved recognition as Kirkcaldy’s local hero.
‘‘The Adam Smith Global Foundation has led the delivery of these projects and is a significant part of what we hope is just the beginning of a journey to positively support our town centre.
‘‘We have, through the Ambitions partnership, identified. four key strategic districts, namely, the Merchants’ Quarter, Cultural and Heritage Centre, Waterfront and Social Sector.
‘‘The Council is consulting widely on these proposed developments and I look forward to wider engagement and participation in future to continue the required social and economic regeneration of our town.’’