History captured in time capsules

The P4 pupils with the time capsule
The P4 pupils with the time capsule

A 100-year-old time capsule discovered when an old Anstruther building was refurbished provided a fascinating snapshot of bygone days.

So it was only fitting that as work progressed on the Murray Library, plans were made to bury a similar keepsake for future generations to find.

On Monday, Primary 4 pupils from Anstruther Primary School visited the former library, which is now being transformed into a new community facility in a £1 million makeover, to hand over two time capsules to be buried in the building.

The original timecapsule was from 1908 and contained coins, newspapers and various artefacts of the day.

Coins, a newspaper and photographs of the local area were included this time around, too, but the children also wanted to give an idea of what their lives were like, such as an essay about life in 2013, a photograph of the class and a couple of their favourite books.

“The project really captured their imaginations and there was a lot of excitement in thinking that it could be some of their great-grandchildren who see the contents in the future,” class teacher Joyce Wilson said.

With the external work already completed, phase two of the project has involved the transformation of the inside of the main red sandstone building to create an upmarket backpackers’ hostel overlooking the harbour.

The old snooker hall, housed in the extension to the north of the building, has been converted to form a ‘hub’ of individual business units for people working in the creative industries.

The historic building was built in 1908 with money bequeathed by David Murray with the stated intention that it be used for education and recreation purposes to benefit the community.

However, with the library long since relocated to the nearby Anstruther Town Hall the trustees had to provide an alternative use for the distinctive building, a landmark in the East Neuk town, that met the original brief.

They came up with an ambitious plan to make it a viable and useful facility fit for the 21st century.

For example, the business units will provide an environment where people currently working on their own in the creative industries can come together.

Work should be complete by October.

The project required grants and the renovation of the Murray Library is one of the key projects in Fife Council’s Anstruther Townscape Heritage Initiative and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland respectively, with match funding from Fife Council and the European Regional Development Fund.


WORK on the Hew Scott Hall, St Nicholas Tower and Wester Anstruther Town Hall is continuing apace, with the town hall’s new lime harl and distinctive coloured limewash revealed. With some scaffolding gone, the temporary traffic lights have been removed, although the pavement on Elizabeth Place remains closed. Christine May, chair of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said they were delighted with the progress, which is ahead of schedule. She added: “We would like to thank residents, businesses and visitors to Anstruther for their patience and co-operation whilst the lane closure was in place.”