Many old postcard images of Lundin Links Post Office date back to the days of Miss Margaret Bremner - the first proprietor of the facility from 1896 until around 1917 However, the image above dates from the time of the third name above the front entrance - James Laing Duncan. Duncan took over from Miss Bremner's successor Robert Ferguson in 1931 or 1932. Below is a notice from the 7 August 1931 Courier advertising the business for sale. Note that the property came with the adjacent space on Leven Road, which at the time was let to the National Bank of Scotland.
The postcard photograph, which likely dates to the 1930s, features many interesting details - from busy window displays, to vintage cars, imposing telegraph poles, plus a public telephone box and outdoor weighing scales. The bare trees and warmly clad woman suggest that it's a winter scene. The sign post in the right hand foreground states: St Andrews via Largoward 12, via the coast 25.
Lundin Links was connected to the telephone network in 1903 and the telephone exchange was housed within the linked building to the left of the Post Office on Links Road. The tall telegraph pole shows the many lines in place by the time this image was captured. The Post Office itself was Lundin Links phone number 1. The Post Offices in Lower Largo and Upper Largo were also number 1 on their exchanges. The other single digit numbers in Lundin Links, the early adopters of the telephone, were mainly businesses such as shops and boarding houses.
Looking in more detail below at the Post Office frontage, the telephone box stands out. This particular box is not the one that stood until very recently on this spot. This was an earlier style of phone kiosk, that appears to be a 'K3' design. This design was introduced in 1929 as an affordable model for use in rural areas. Made largely from concrete rather than cast iron, around 12,000 K3s were installed across the country in the early 1930s. Only the window frames were painted red - the rest was a stony grey colour (explaining why the box appears so light in colour in the black and white photograph). Over time, it became obvious that concrete was not the ideal material for phone boxes as it was too brittle. Also, there was also a drive to standardise boxes nationally. So eventually the Lundin Links one was replaced with a newer model - the familiar red K6.
Also known as the 'Jubilee Kiosk', the K6 was introduced from 1936 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V. The main differences from the K3 (as well as the construction material) was that there were eight rather than six rows of windows and that that the vertical bars in the windows and door were spaced further apart to improve visibility. The K6 continued to be rolled out until 1968. The K6 box at Lundin Links was not installed until well after the end of the Second World War.
Both the kiosk types used at Lundin Links were designed by designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The image below shows the K6 box still in place a few years ago. Further below is an image of the Post Office in the 1920s, when Robert Ferguson was Postmaster, shortly before the first telephone box arrived. Despite a scheme where communities could purchase their telephone box from BT for £1, the Lundin Links box was removed a year or two ago (after nine decades with a box present on the site).
A shorter-lived feature outside the Post Office was a set of outdoor public weighing scales. In the top 1930s view, these can be seen immediately to the right of the phone box. Fairly common at the time, particularly in places that attracted tourists, scales would tell you your weight for a penny. The set in Lundin Links look like the 'Peerless' scales shown below. How long they remained in place is unknown but there is still a patch of concrete visible where they once stood.
Further to the right of the scales is a neat shop window display of groceries. The windows prominently feature adverts for both Cadbury's and Fry's chocolate, as did many a shop back in this era and beyond. Cadbury's started in 1824, while Fry's dates back to around 1760. Both companies were keen to promote the 'pure' nature of their cocoa as some alternatives added unnecessary ingredients.
Returning to the name above the Post Office door - J.L. Duncan. James Laing Duncan was born in Ladybank in 1892, son of a railway labourer. During the First World War he was a bombardier in the Royal Garrison Artillery. During that time, while home on leave in 1917, he married Elizabeth Gray, daughter of a vintner, in Lathones. Elizabeth's mother was Jemima Gulland, sister of James Gulland the tailor who had a shop on Leven Road, Lundin Links.
After the war, James set up as a grocer and wine merchant in Kettlebridge. Sadly, his wife Elizabeth died in 1929 aged just 36 years. James gave up the grocery in Kettlebridge later the same year. In 1930 he took over the Railway Hotel in Ladybank, however, with family connections in Lundin Links, James took the opportunity of taking on the grocery and Post Office when it was advertised for sale the next year. Shortly after arriving in Lundin Links, James Duncan married Janet Ness Tod, who was a confectioner. They remained at the Post Office for many years. Janet Duncan died in 1972 aged 79 and James Duncan died in 1977 aged 84.
Finally, in the main image at the top of this post, through the trees, the west end of Emsdorf Street can be glimpsed. The pharmacy at the corner and to the left the shop of Jimmy Brown. Part of the name 'Brown' can just be made out above the shop. More to follow soon on these shops and where the shop keepers moved from when these premises were first built.