Previous posts have looked at the origins of the Largo Parish Community Council and their early work on foreshore improvements around Massney Braes. Another of their endeavours was the production of a handy guide to Lundin Links and Largo for visitors. A guide book was produced each year from 1932 for at least six years and an example of this is shown above. The man responsible for compiling the guide was James Peebles Greig, a member of the LPCC.
James Peebles Greig was born in Duke Street, Leith on 3 April 1881, the son of gas works blacksmith George Greig who was born in Lundin Mill in 1850. James became a clerk in the Leith Town Chamberlain's Office, later marrying Jean Donaldson in Milnathort in 1910. He went on to become Town Chamberlain of Montrose between 1922 and 1930, before moving to Lundin Links, to 'take up a business opportunity'. This opportunity was to run Mount Vernon Boarding House, which was owned by his sister Agnes Peebles Watters (nee Greig).
Agnes had been widowed in tragic circumstances in 1923 but had continued to run Mount Vernon. In 1930 she took on Victoria Boarding House as well and so James and family took the helm at Mount Vernon. They remained there up until the outbreak of the Second World War. After that James worked in the Costs Office at Leven Foundry as an accountant. He was very active in various aspects of local life in Largo, including Lundin Golf Club, Largo Silver Band and of course Largo Parish Community Council. Moving from Lundin Links to Upper Largo in 1947, James Greig died on 6 September 1953 at Dunedin, 38 Main Street, Upper Largo. He was survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
James was the natural choice for co-ordinator of the Largo Guide. With his clerical background and later interest in tourism and hospitality, he had the skills and connections to compile the content of adverts, information and a bit of flowery language to entice visitors to the 'Scottish Riviera'. The first guide went on sale in March 1932. Printed by J. and G. Innes Ltd, Cupar, the booklet had a reproduction of Alexander Selkirk's statue on the cover and copies could be had free on application to the LPCC Secretary, Mr Charles Raeburn. The 22 March Leven Advertiser commented that "the explanatory material is both interesting and informative, while the illustrations are well produced."
Almost 1,000 copies of this first edition were distributed and £48 was raised from the advertising within the guide. Seen as a successful venture, a revised edition was produced in 1933. That year 128 copies were sent out to people that had written to the LPCC, a further 725 were distributed through the L.N.E.R railway enquiry office, 56 copies through libraries and 72 copies were sold in local shops. The Guide became an annual publication, however, by the end of the 1936 season concerns began to be raised about the decrease in income from advertising. On balance is was decided to proceed with a 1937 edition and also to place adverts in two Civil Service journals to entice civil servants to spend their holidays in Largo.
However, this may have been the final year of publication, as there were no further references to the guide book. It was also noted that repetition of the same information each year, as well as reliance upon the same people to place adverts each time, was becoming problematic. Although a local guide in this format had run its course, guide booklets for visitors continued to be produced on and off over the years in a number of different styles.