This old photograph includes our house on the right of the picture. The photograph is believed to have been taken around the turn of the century. The house is partially obscured by trees but the top dormers are clearly visible. Notice the iron railings that were all removed during WW2. Sadly the church in the picture was demolished in the 1980s.
The full history of our house has not yet been fully investigated but we do know some of the general history. In particular we have found out quite a lot about the previous owner, Netta Fairweather, who lived in this house for 72 years. Netta's long occupancy helps explains why so many original features and the character of the house have been well preserved. It seems that no significant 'upgrading' of the house has been attempted since WW2 other than a new bathroom suite and electrical rewiring. It has fortunately suffered none of the modernisations that have afflicted so many beautiful Victorian properties. For us this was one of the great attractions to buy this house.
Before the house was built the Earl of Rosslyn owned the estate where the house is now situated. On 21st July 1877 James Wishart, a Manufacturer from Pathhead, acquired 0.7 acres of land. He was required to build houses on this ground with a combined value exceeding £1000. This led to the construction of six semi-detatched houses. Each pair of houses are unique in that there are no other houses of a similar style in the street, so presumably three different builders were used. Our house is one of these six and was completed in 1880.
John Kellock, a Clerk from Pathhead, bought the house on 18th February 1880 and we believe that he was the very first occupant. We have some evidence that may suggest he moved in around April 1880. When cleaning the attic prior to laying insulation we found straw and crumpled newspaper which appears to have been used for packaging. One piece of newspaper is a front page from the Fifeshire Advertiser dated 3rd April 1880. Our theory is that Kellock may have used this paper to package delicate items during his move to this house.
James Shepherd, a Kirkcaldy Linoleum Manufacturer, bought the house on 12th November 1894. It is certain that Shepherd did not live here. We know he owned and occupied Rossend Castle in Burntisland from 1873. James Shepherd had left Nairn's floorcloth business in 1864 to form a new floorcloth partnership with Michael Beveridge. Shepherd's linoleum business survived in Kirkcaldy for 100 years until 1964 when the company Barry, Ostler & Shepherd collapsed. The Nairn company is still a large employer in Kirkcaldy. Shepherd along with members of the Nairn family are named as trustees on the loan taken by Kellock to purchase the house. The association between this house and Kirkcaldy's thriving linoleum industry therefore dates back to the very first occupier.
William T M Wallace, a Bachelor of Medicine from Sinclairtown, acquired the house on 14th May 1898. Again, when cleaning the attic we found a "Physicians' Loose Leaf Visiting List" and also some hand written notes containing medical terms. This suggests that a doctor has lived here, and presumably this was Dr Wallace.
Alexander Weir, a Floorcloth Manager from Kirkcaldy bought the house on 17th May 1917. This was during the Great War and again we have an association with Kirkcaldy's linoleum industry. On 2nd August 1919 Eliza Jane Weir, Widow of Alexander Weir, inherited the house. The deeds show that at that time Mrs Weir was living in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. We have found the top part of a letter sent from that same address in Michigan on 19th September 1919. It starts "Dear Lizzie, Here I am in answer to your letter ..." This is clearly written to Elizabeth Mitchell, her daughter, who lived in this house at the time and was given power of attorney to sell the property.
John Hodge, a Clerk with Nairn floorcloth manufacturers purchased the house on 18th April 1922. We have been able to learn a good deal about John Hodge because he was the uncle of Netta Fairweather and we have been able to speak with one of his relatives. This relative lived here with John Hodge and Netta Fairweather during World War II. We have learned that Mr Hodge, who never married, worked for Nairn, the linoleum manufacturer, for over 50 years. Initially he lived here with his mother Mrs Janet Hodge. Another attic discovery is a slip of paper with Mrs Hodge's name written on it. The slip is for St. Clairtown Laundry in Church Street and seems to be dated June 1926. Church Street is a short walk from this house. We learned that when Mr Hodge moved here in 1922 the wallpaper on the upper staircase was already here. This wallpaper survived until we stripped it off in 2000. How long it had hung prior to 1922 we do not know, but we still have photgraphs of this.
Netta Fairweather lived in this house for some 72 years. She was born in Darlington, England on 6th December 1907. Netta’s parents had moved from Kirkcaldy to Darlington after their marriage in 1906. Her father was an engineer and found work at the Darlington Forge. Netta’s uncle, John Hodge, visited his brother in-law (Netta’s father) in Darlington in 1927 along with his mother Janet Hodge (Netta’s grandmother). During this visit Janet Hodge became ill. Netta accompanied her grandmother back to Kirkcaldy where she subsequently had a stroke. Netta helped John look after his bedridden mother until she died in 1930. Netta continued to stay here and helped her uncle look after the house. John Hodge died and Netta inherited the house in 1950. Netta continued to live in the house until she died aged 92 in the year 2000. Netta Fairweather clearly led an interesting life. Although she was engaged at one time, she never married. During the war Netta became a policewoman, in fact she was the first policewoman in Fife. She also rode a motorcycle. In the 1950s Netta began work for the Inland Revenue and retired in 1970. As a former tax inspector Netta wrapped up her affairs very neatly and died at the end of the tax year in 2000.
We concluded the purchase of this house on the 20th October 2000. This was the first sale of the house in over 78 years. We aim to restore the Victorian character of the house and retain all the original features. By going on the virtual tour of the house you will see that so far most of the work has been to make the house comfortable as a family home. The longer project is for the restoration and interior decoration.
|Date||Owner, Position||Sale Value||Signature|
|pre-1877||Francis Robert St.Clair Erskine, Earl of Rosslyn||Inherited|
|21st July 1877||James Wishart, Manufacturer||Feu duty on 6 houses of value exceeding £1000|
|14th February 1880||John Kellock, Clerk and Janet Kellock||£400|
|12th November 1894||James Shepherd, Linoleum Manufacturer||£500|
|14th May 1898||William Thomson Merry Wallace, Bachelor of Medicine||£600|
|7th May 1917||Alexander Weir, Linoleum Manager||£650|
|2nd August 1919||Eliza Jane Weir, widow of Alexander Weir||Inherited|
|18th April 1922||John Hodge, Linoleum Works Clerk||£710|
|18th September 1950||Netta Fairweather, Tax Inspector||Inherited|
|20th October 2000||Gordon Povey, Company Director and Lorraine Povey||Undisclosed|