Capturing moments from Kirkcaldy’s past in new book

Author David W Potter with his latest book 'Kirkcaldy On This Day'. Pic:  Fife Photo Agency.
Author David W Potter with his latest book 'Kirkcaldy On This Day'. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

Jacobite rebellions, major world wars, tragedies and murders over the centuries in Kirkcaldy all feature in a new book compiled by a retired town teacher.

David Potter (71) has featured these events along with dramatic performances and curling club AGMs in ‘Kirkcaldy On This Day’ which has been published recently.

Workers laying tram lines on Kirkcaldy High Street in 1902. The trams began running the following year.

Workers laying tram lines on Kirkcaldy High Street in 1902. The trams began running the following year.

But he stresses that the book is not a history of the town but rather an account of events through the centuries, on each of the 366 days of the year, going as far back as 1244.

He includes significant players in the town’s history such as Adam Smith and Provost Michael Beveridge, donor of Beveridge Park; as well as activities like motor car racing in Beveridge Park and laying tram lines in the town.

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David told The Press why he chose to compile a book about events in Kirkcaldy.

He said: “I had written a few books on football teams On This Day (including Raith Rovers) and I wanted to write one on the whole of Kirkcaldy which would give me a lot more to work on.

“I wanted to get the idea that history is a constant thing, a continuum and there is always something happening every single day.”

In the book’s introduction he writes: “Jacobite rebellions, major world wars, tragedies and murders mingle quite happily with whist drives, dramatic performances and AGMs of curling clubs. The reason? They were all significant for someone in Kirkcaldy. Events range over several centuries ... Kirkcaldy is a fascinating town.”

He said it took about a year to compile the book although a lot of the information was easily gathered from the files of the Fife Free Press and Lachlan MacBean’s book on the Records of Kirkcaldy.

He revealed there were also several events he didn’t know about: “Kirkcaldy supported the Hannoverians against the Jacobites in the 18th century and Kirkcaldy had no public baths to speak of until the 1960s.

“Also Raith Rovers tried to “fix” a game in 1924 and the plot misfired and people were burned to death for witchcraft in Kirkcaldy.”

But David feels it is important to learn from the town’s history: “I have always believed that “those who have no interest in their own past, have no future” and that one can learn lessons from what has happened in the past.

“But there is also a specific point that Langtonians need to realise that the current deplorable state of the High Street may well be only a temporary phenomenon. The High Street was great once - one of the main centres for shopping in the east of Scotland - and it may become so again.”

Copies of the book are available to buy from Waterstones and from Kirkcaldy Civic Society.