The name 'Viewforth' is found in many places around the Firth of Forth, including Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Leven, Kinghorn and Pittenweem. In the context of Largo, however, 'Viewforth' is the now derelict settlement that sits to the east of the Temple on either side of the disused railway line. The above image shows the former rail track path looking back towards Lower Largo with remains of Viewforth just visible on either side. The settlement was inhabited for around 200 years and was once known as 'Largo Pans' or simply 'the Pans' owing to its origins as a salt works. The 1825 advert from the 7 July Fife Herald shows the site being sold some time after the demise of the salt industry.
Before long, the main house of Viewforth became a popular place to rent for 'sea-bathing' and leisure. Of course, it was perfectly positioned for 'getting away from it all' and enjoying proximity to the sea. Over the next century or so, many would benefit from a stay at Viewforth. A great example is the painter Hugh Cameron who had a long association with the place. The Valuation Rolls for 1895 and 1905 find him renting two houses within the Viewforth community - one to reside in and one to use as a studio. Hugh Cameron RSA (1835-1918) was an Edinburgh-based artist who moved to London in 1876 but spent his summer months at Largo Bay, where he was inspired to create many seaside paintings. For a selection of his work, including several artworks of Largo, follow this link...
The next post will look more closely at the layout of the Viewforth settlement and at what remains of it today. It would be wonderful to see any photographs of the Viewforth houses while still occupied - or even empty but in a less derelict state. If you have any such images please get in touch using the 'Contact' link on the right hand side.
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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