For many decades up until the mid-nineteenth century, there was a flax spinning mill on this site on the Keil burn close to Largo Harbour. In the 1860s, the buildings were modified to become an 'oil and cake mill' by David Russell (who resided at Silverburn where he already had a flax works). Box presses were used to extract oil from linseed, cottonseed, rapeseed, etc. The leftover material was then turned into 'cakes' (eg linseed cake and cotton cake) which could be used as animal feed. Linseed oil was of course a key component of linoleum flooring which was developed during the 1850s and 1860s. By 1877, nearby Kirkcaldy was the world's largest producer of linoleum.
The above 'Forwarding Note' is for a consignment of 'cotton cake' sent in 1870 by David Russell from Largo to Halbeath via the Leven and East of Fife Railway. The small newspaper advert from 1867 describes "fresh-made cotton cakes of a very superior quality" being available at Largo Oil Mills for delivery.
David Russell died in 1906 (sometime after he had handed over the running of the mill). The mill had closed completely by the start of the Great War in 1914. The mill buildings stood until 1939. The next post will cover how the site has been used since the demolition of the mill.
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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