Chance to find out about history of three Fife burghs

Locals were invited to get involved in activities as the 'Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke Burgh Survey was put together.
Locals were invited to get involved in activities as the 'Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke Burgh Survey was put together.

The Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke Burgh Survey is being launched tomorrow (Thursday) and everyone is invited to come along.

Residents can hear from the local people and professional archaeologists and historians who were involved in putting together this new history of the three burghs.

Stonework repair being carried out on the Murray Library

Stonework repair being carried out on the Murray Library

The event in the Dreel Halls in Anstruther at 7pm, after the Anstruther Improvements Association AGM, is the final event to round off the successful Anstruther Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which ran from 2011 to 2017.

Managed by Fife Historic Buildings Trust (FHBT) on behalf of Fife Council, this £2.8 million programme of improvements to the Anstruther Conservation Area was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, by Historic Environment Scotland and by the council.

The scheme included two major historic building repair and refurbishment projects.

Anstruther’s Dreel Halls re-opened in January 2014 following a £700,000 repairs project.

The former Hew Scott Hall, St Nicholas Towner and Wester Anstruther Town Hall is now a stunning landmark following external repairs to the at risk buildings – there had been structural supports in place for the tower for many years.

Works managed by FHBT included the removal of a damaging cement render and re-harling in traditional lime with vibrant ochre limewash, and were led by ARC Architects, Cupar and main contractors John Smart and Sons, Kirkcaldy.

The trust said it was very grateful for the support of Anstruther residents who coped with the disruption to traffic during the works at the busy corner.

This is the first stage in giving the buildings a new lease of life as the Dreel Halls, owned and operated by the Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA).

The association is working up proposals for a second phase project to upgrade the building interior and its facilities for community activities.

Lorraine Bell, FHBT Manager, said: “These buildings have been transformed by the repairs – a once at-risk building that blighted a busy approach to Anstruther is now an attractive landmark again, with a vibrant new future as the Dreel Halls.”

The trust also provided support to the Murray Library Trustees in their £1m conversion of the C-listed Murray Library building to create two exciting new facilities in Anstruther – Murray Studios, a creative business centre with seven units for creative industries; and the Murray Hostel, a popular seafront visitor/back-packers hostel.

This stunning red sandstone building on the seafront had suffered from the ravages of its coastal location for 100 years and the stonework was in very poor and dangerous condition.

Repairs and conversion were led by ARC Architects working with contractors LTM and Marshalls.

The Murray Library Trust, who led the project, can now ahead to the next 100 years with new purpose.

The building was founded in 1908 using funds donated by local boy David Murray, who made his fortune as a retail draper in Australia.

Other projects in the Anstruther THI/CARS included:

– A small building repair grant scheme for private owners

– Creation of the Thomas Chalmers garden in Hadfoot Wynd

– Training for contractors and private building owners in traditional skills, delivered in partnership with the Scottish Lime Centre

– Opportunities for local people to learn about Anstruther’s heritage – e.g. traditional skills open days, evening lectures, have-a-go mason’s mark activities for pupils at Waid Academy, and the year-long community research/archaeology project to develop a Burgh Survey.

FHBT is grateful to all its funders and partners, including Fife Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, ERDF, LEADER, Fife Environment Trust and Church of Scotland.

This week’s event to launch the Kilrenny, Anstruther & Cellardyke Burgh Survey is an opportunity to mark the end of a year-long community history project to develop this study, now published by Fife Council with free copies available.

A free copy of the booklet will be available to those attending the event.