To a great extent the Public Park in Dunfermline is very much overshadowed by the much better known Pittencrieff Park.
However the Public Park was actually laid out to the east of the town almost fifty years before its illustrious neighbour in 1866.
An area of parkland was established by Dunfermline Town Council and set out to a design by Sir Joseph Paxton.
The photo above shows it with cows grazing in the foreground when the park had a much more rural look to it than it does today.
The Bandstand, seen through the trees was a gift to the people of Dunfermline by Mrs Andrew Carnegie in 1888.
This B listed structure was the work of the Saracen Foundry of Walter MacFarlane in Glasgow.
It can be seen in use in our next picture showing people in attendance at an outside music performance. It's a park which also brings back all sorts of memories for those who enjoyed it more recently too such as Alistair McBay:
“I played there many times. I also spent most Saturday afternoons in the park playing football with jerseys as goalposts”.
The tree-lined walkways, tennis courts and putting greens in the park were all well frequented. The play facilities in particular evoke strong memories for Jane Murray:
"I remember the zip wire back in the 1970’s... no health and safety then or soft matting the length of the run, we just hung on for dear life. It was well off the ground. Parents must have been freaking out once they knew what we were on”.
The park was the venue for a variety of public events during its history such as a bonfire and celebrations to mark VE Day towards the end of the Second World War.
Our next photograph from 1919 is of a meeting at the top of the Public Park during the Rosyth Rent Strike when 5,000 people marched from Rosyth up through the town in protest at the high rents they had to pay.
Despite such protests and meetings however they were ultimately unsuccessful, as this report headed ‘Collapse of Rosyth Rent Strike’ in the Dundee Courier on the 21st August 1919 recounts:
'The rent strike which has been waged during the past two months by the tenants of Rosyth Garden City has completely collapsed.
The eviction orders granted by the Sheriff against twelve of the strikers who refused to pay rents were due to be put into effect next week. In the interval the Strike Committee has agreed to abandon the strike and pay rents to date.
Until recently the attitude of the strikers was that they must have a minimum reduction of 50% in their rents and that no further negotiations were to be entered into until that was conceded. No reduction has been conceded’.
The final shot is of the Donald Fountain which was located at the highest part of the park. It was constructed from pink granite and gifted by Provost Donald of Dunfermline in 1877.
In this photograph the Carnegie Hall and Benachie House (later renamed the Music Institute) can be seen behind it on the right.
So as you can see the 'other Park' in Dunfermline has quite a history. Happy to report it's still there and well worth a visit. The bandstand still also hosts live musical events too. Here's what it looks like now.
Get along if you can. It's a lovely spot.
Look forward to speaking with you again soon.
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