John McNicoll Nicoll was born in Kirriemuir in 1872 - son of land steward James Nicoll and his wife Agnes Roberts. By the census of 1891, aged 18, John was a grocer in Leven, Fife. In 1897 he married Catherine Mitchell in the Star Hotel in Leven (Catherine's father James was the proprietor of the hotel). By 1901 the couple were living in Forth Street in Leven and John was a 'Licensed Grocer's Assistant'. Soon after this the couple moved to Ladybank to run a licensed grocer there.
However, in March of 1905, a well-established licensed grocery business in Lower Largo was advertised for sale (see advert below from 18 March Dundee Courier). The following month, John Nicoll transferred his license from Ladybank to Lower Largo (to the licensed grocer shop at Appleton on Main Street). At the time of the 1911 census, John, Catherine and 2 children (James aged 7 and Agnes aged 3) were living there. The photograph above shows John Nicoll outside the shop circa 1907, not long after the Nicolls took up occupancy. Note the spades hanging next to Mr Nicoll and the sailing boats in the upper right window.
The shop advertised itself as a grocer, wine merchant and house agent (it kept a list of houses for let). As was the norm then for a grocer, orders could be placed for home delivery. The Nicolls ran the shop until John Nicoll's death on 24 January 1921 aged 48. Later that year Henry Alexander took over and remained there until the early 1940s. Catherine Nicoll lived in Lower Largo until 1951 - passing away at 'St Catherine's' at the age of 79. Son James (pictured) moved to Shanghai in 1928 to take up a position with the municipal police there (having served 3 years in the Metropolitan Police beforehand).