Part three in this series about the Lundin Links Hotel ended with the outbreak of the Second World War. Hotel owner, Freddie Muriset, had already served as a gunner with the Royal Field Artillery in the First World War. He immediately signed up to serve again, becoming a Captain with the Royal Artillery Territorial Army from 1939, progressing to a Major later during the war. In his absence, the hotel remained open, with his wife Jean Muriset at the helm, supported by long-term member of staff Miss Margaret Cameron who lived on-site.
The postcard image above features the air raid shelter which was created by the entrance to Fir Park (see brick feature at far left of image). This is shown in more detail below. The hotel continued to host functions such as weddings, and to welcome guests, while dealing with blackout restrictions and rationing. The advert below dates to 1944 and names Jean as the proprietor. As it became clear that the war was close to an end, fund-raising events such as dances were held in the hotel in aid of the 'Welcome Home Fund'. In the years immediately following the war, hotels across the country found stocks of items such as sheets, towels, furniture and curtains in short supply. Mr Muriset commented upon this in the press in June 1948, adding that the cut in spirits allocation and limited petrol rations, on top of other supply issues, would mean that many small hotels would struggle to make a profit.
However, as the post-war years gave way to the new decade, the Lundin Links Hotel was on the up once more. Each week in the local press there were reports of dances, celebrations, meetings and dinners held there. Moreover, a string of famous faces visited the hotel. Firstly, on 14 March 1949, child actor John Howard Davies, pictured below, who was aged 10 at the time, was a guest. The star of the 1948 film 'Oliver Twist', stayed at the Lundin Links Hotel with his mother for three days, while making personal appearances at cinemas in Lochgelly, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline. He also paid a surprise visit to a school in Methil.
June 1952 saw His Highness Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the Sultan of Brunei, and party lunch at the Lundin Links Hotel as the guests of Cameron Bridge Distillery. The Sultan had arrived in the UK on 20 May for a two month visit (his first to the country). The photograph above from 11 June Tatler shows him (centre) at an event just days prior to his visit to Fife, where he attended the Cupar Highland Games. A second Sultan dined at the hotel just one month later. On this occasion it was the Sultan of Perak (a Malaysian state) who enjoyed the hotel's hospitality.
The hotel now used the phrase "Scottish Riviera" extensively in its advertising and this became the hotel's telegram address. An advert even appeared in The Tatler suggesting the hotel as a place to go for 'Northern Nights' away. A good balance would seem to have been struck between catering for both visitors and locals alike. Parties thrown for children are fondly remembered by some. The 9 November 1955 Leven Mail reported on a Hallowe'en party where "a hilarious time was had by all". Tea was served, a conjurer provided entertainment and then a real witch "whisked in on her broom, complete with cat". A 1950 Christmas Social comprised "a programme of games and dances to suit young and old", Christmas carols then an appearance by Santa Claus who presented each young guest with a gift.
Another contributing factor to the hotel's success was the valued and long-standing members of staff. In 1957, Miss Cameron (pictured above) marked a quarter of a century working in the hotel. The 22 May Leven Mail (below) reported on how she began work there on the day that the Murisets took over. She ran the cocktail bar for a spell (often seen with a cigarette and a whisky in her hand) but ultimately she rose to the position of manageress.
Tom Harris was another loyal member of staff who worked for the hotel on multiple occasions over the decades. Tom had been a live-in barman and manager in the days of Sam Duncan junior's ownership. It was he who received praise for containing a fire in 1920, prior to the arrival of the fire brigade. He worked in hotels and public houses all over Fife, and had his own business for twenty years, before returning to his roots in Lundin Links. In 1956, at the age of 82, he was still pulling pints in the Lundin Links Hotel with no intention of retiring (see 29 August 1956 Leven Mail piece below).
In the next instalment - the Murisets take the hotel into the 1960s and an annex was created to cope with the demand for rooms.