This 1923 postcard depicts nine scenes from Lower Largo, with boats featuring prominently. The image entitled 'Among the Breakers' is particularly dramatic - with an elaborately-rigged vessel coming into harbour amid crashing waves, with a crowd watching its progress from the pier. No doubt this was a regular occurrence in days gone by - the eager wait for boats returning from rough sea conditions. There are a few modern day equivalent views below for comparison.
The splendidly-dressed group shown above (in the early 1900s) look all set for the beach, with their dog, model boats and buckets and spades. The group are standing outside what was then known as '1 Seaview'. This house is now 57 Main Street in Lower Largo. It's well-known nowadays for its ornate gates and porch, plus its distinctive garden sculpture 'Malagan' (added a decade ago). 'Seaview' originally comprised the row of terraced houses between the White Cottage corner and Bass House (see image below). These houses predate the former shops on the opposite side of the street by a couple of decades at least. In the early 1860s the owner of Seaview was retired gamekeeper Thomas Henderson.
Although the house has changed paint colour, had a few artistic additions and lost its metal railings, it can still be identified by the window layout and the pattern of stonework on the frontage. Who the beach goers in the old image are is unclear but it would seem likely that they were summer visitors rather than residents, given that they had this photograph made into a postcard and posted this copy off to Wales.
When a group of Japanese university students visited Scotland for three days back in 1968, they were welcomed to Fife by Provost Scott of Elie, on behalf of the Fife Tourist Board. Various different places of interest were visited including Lower Largo. The English Literature students were intrigued by the statue of Robinson Crusoe, as they had read of his adventures back home.
Below is a postcard of the island of Juan Fernandez, where the real life Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, spent four years and four months. The bronze plaque honouring Selkirk shown at the foot of this post, was placed on the island in 1868 (exactly a century before the students visited Largo) by the crew of HMS Topaze. It is sited at a spot called Selkirk's Lookout on a mountain of Más a Tierra.
It was not far from this site that an archaeological expedition in February 2005 found part of a nautical instrument that likely belonged to Selkirk. It was "a fragment of copper alloy identified as being from a pair of navigational dividers" dating from the early 18th (or late 17th) century. Selkirk is the only person known to have been on the island at that time who is likely to have had dividers.
Back in August 1918, the flax harvest was underway in Fife. Due to the First World War, many women were involved in the harvest (including Evelyn Baxter and Leonora Rintoul). The small piece above from the 12 August Dundee Evening Telegraph paints a lovely picture of one particular gang of harvesters.
Despite the hard labour involved, the group seem to have remained upbeat and able to blend in with those who had spent their day in more leisurely fashion. The flax flowers mentioned are the five petal light blue flowers shown. "Stookies" or "stooks" of flax (or other crops) are bundles or sheaves. The flax was stooked by hand, as seen in the photograph below, and left standing on end to dry out. When first harvested they are still green hence "wee green stookies".
Image from First World War in Yeovil - http://www.yeovilhistory.info/bunford-flax.htm
Another quick look back at summer events from the past. The above advert dates back half a century! Back in 1968, the 'Largo Fair' took place and it included many traditional activities - pony rides, fancy dress parade and beetle drive among them. Clearly, folks of all ages were catered for from the youngest to the oldest (note the offer of rest at the manse in between events). The 725th anniversary of the Largo and Newburn Parish Church provided the impetus for this occasion.
Meanwhile, a mere 25 years ago, 'Largo Festival '93' was a collective effort by an impressive list of local groups and businesses (see below). This particular year was the third of the Largo Festival in this format. In fact, it evolved from the 'flying off the pier' event which was a forerunner to it (click here for an image of that). The 1993 programme included a beach barbecue, sandcastle competition, a display of vintage cars, art exhibition, car treasure hunt, fun run, skittles night, cricket tournament, quiz night, race night, evening of music, football match, jazz night, patchwork exhibition, car boot sale and an afternoon of 'frolics' on the pier (boat trips, raft race, assault course, stalls and live music). The photographs at the end of the post provide a flavour of the festivities.
Images: East Fife Mail
Above is the Lundin Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club's annual fete of 1968. Leven Road can be seen in the background. Club funds were boosted by nearly £200 thanks for cake and candy sales, white elephant stalls and a putting competition.
Meanwhile, in the same year, members of Lundin Ladies' Golf Club enjoyed an out-of-doors cuppa at one of their regular coffee mornings held at the clubhouse. A bring and buy sale at this particular event helped to augment the total raised.
A coffee morning was also the order of the day for the 1st Largo Girl Guides. Held at the Durham Hall, the photograph shows Guider Mrs E. Saunders showing the new Guide Handbook to youngest Guide, Sandra Graham.
This blog is about the history of the villages of Lundin Links, Lower Largo and Upper Largo in Fife, Scotland. Comments and contributions from readers are very welcome!
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