Doors Open Day 2023: All the Central Fife venues taking part in the popular initiative
The initiative, which takes place across Scotland throughout the month, allows members of the public to uncover hidden gems and experience familiar places through fresh eyes, all for free. It’s a chance to celebrate community heritage and the built environment, while visiting some interesting and historic buildings.
As in previous years, venues across the Kingdom will be opening their doors on different weekends of the month depending on their location.
Those venues in Central Fife are welcoming visitors over the weekend of September 9 and 10. Doors open the weekend before (September 2 and 3) in East Fife the week after (September 16 and 17) in West Fife.
For more information on any of the venues, or to book places where required, visit www.doorsopendays.org.uk
Auchtertool Kirk (September 10, 1.30pm-4pm) – Traditionally part of the Pilgrims Way, Auchtertool Kirk boasts a beautiful view across the Forth. Check the special War Memorial Window for relatives, and ask about the cryptand the discoveries made there.
Burntisland Heritage Trust, Burntisland (September 10, 11am-4pm) – Visit the trust’s annual exhibition which this year focuses on the local shipyards in Burntisland and Kinghorn. It’s also possible to visit Burntisland’s Burgh Chambers, a well-recognised landmark in the town centre which dates from 1843. Take a look in the Council Chambers and the old Burgh Court and Magistrates’ Room.
Burntisland Parish Church, Burntisland (September 9 & 10, 2pm-4pm) – Built between 1592 - 95 this is the oldest Post-Reformation church still in use in Scotland, and is historically important as being one of the first churches built in Scotland after the Reformation, with a highly distinctive and probably wholly original Scottish square plan design. There will be guided tours throughout the day.
Dysart St Clair Parish Church, Dysart (September 10, 12noon-4pm) – The original Free Church in Dysart had become too small, and in 1874 a new church was built a short distance away. The church is built of stone, with a slate roof, and is cruciform with Romanesque detailing. In the north transept there is a Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural which was believed to have been painted by the artist himself in 1900.
Dysart Town Hall, Dysart (September 10, 1pm-4pm) – Dysart Tolbooth was built in the late 16th century and visitors will be able to access the former prison cell. The 19th century Town Hall holds the permanent exhibition of the Dysart Trust which features fascinating items from the town’s industrial past.
Greener Kirkcaldy Gardens, Kirkcaldy (September 9, 1.30pm-3.30pm) – Greener Kirkcaldy’s Training Garden at Ravenscraig Walled Garden offers courses, training and volunteer opportunities in gardening and growing your own fruit and vegetables. There will be garden tours and activities linked to various Greener Kirkcaldy projects.
Kirkcaldy Art Club, Kirkcaldy (September 10, 11am-4pm) – The stone building on the corner of Hot Pot Wynd was once a laundry for the Sinclair and Nairn families. It is now home to the Art Club. It houses a pottery downstairs and a painting studio above. The club will be exhibiting members’ work upstairs including pottery, painting and various crafts. Kids can take part in activities in the pottery studio.
Kirkcaldy Town House, Kirkcaldy (September 9, 11am-3pm) – Kirkcaldy Town House has a Scandinavian theme, and when construction started in 1937, it was to a design by architects David Carr and William Howard of Edinburgh. The building work was put on hold when the Second World War broke out, and did not resume until 1950 and was finally completed in 1956. Kirkcaldy Townhouse serves as Fife Council's Regional Office and is protected as a Category B listed building.
Lang Toun Cycles, Kirkcaldy (September 9, 10am-5pm) – The community bike shop and social enterprise offers cycle servicing and repairs, sales of new and refurbished bikes, parts and accessories. There will be a jumble sale in store and a chance to see behind the scenes into the work area and upstairs workshop.
Law’s Close, The Merchants House, Kirkcaldy (September 10, 11am-3pm) – The A-listed 16th century Merchant’s House has been used for a variety of purposes over the centuries. It fell into disrepair before the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust became involved and have worked to restore much of the building back to its former glory.
Pathhead Parish Church, Kirkcaldy (September 9 & 10, 2pm-4.30pm) – Help celebrate 200 years of history. There are many special features of interest throughout the church. History will also be brought to life with a photographic exhibition.
Ravenscraig Walled Garden, Kirkcaldy (September 10, 11am-3pm) – The community garden allotment site is in its 13th year and has been managed to ensure suitability for allotment growers as well as local user groups including schools, disabled adults and volunteers. It incorporates the local green-space improvement group Growing Kirkcaldy and part of Greener Kirkcaldy, while Rural Skills Scotland are developing several on-site buildings.
St Drostan’s, Markinch (September 10, 10am-5pm) – The present church tower was built in the first half of the 12th century. It is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Scotland still in use.
Wemyss School of Needlework, Coaltown of Wemyss (September 9 & 10, 10am-5pm) – Started in 1877 by Dora, eldest daughter of James Hay Erskine Wemyss of Wemyss Castle, the school was modelled on the Royal School of Needlework in London; but with an emphasis to teach a skill to local girls from which they would be able to earn a living.
Since 2012 it was clear that the School must modernise and reinvent itself in order to survive. With the support of the family Trustees the building has been improved and the range of products offered for sale greatly expanded. There is better storage for the large textile collection which is exhibited on a regular basis and teaching has started again. Guided tours will take place.