Bert arrived in Falkland in 1972, from Glasgow, where he had worked as a Studio Manager in an Advertising Agency. His departure from the advertising world began in November, 1971 when the urge for a new challenge took hold.
He ventured over to Mull to inspect a croft for sale at Bunessan. However, the idea of becoming self-sufficient was soon dashed on learning the croft had no electricity, gas or running water. With the imminent arrival of his second child, Bert realised it was non-starter. Better to take on an established venture.
Bert had seen an advert for a Tea Room & Art Gallery for sale in the village of Falkland. The Tea Room was named Kynd Kittocks Kitchen*. Having an interest in art (but no knowledge of running a Tea Room!), he thought that such an enterprise would suit him very well; he and his wife, Liz, and their young family of two boys would set up home in the wee house next to the Tea Room and he would ensure that Falkland’s only eating place (apart from the pubs) would be in safe hands.
Well; his first year was a baptism of fire; there were only 24 seats and visitors to Falkland seemed to be increasing almost daily. The food was prepared in the wee house and carried along the back path to the Tea Room (sometimes under umbrellas if it was raining) and served to an ever-growing group of customers. People were often queuing outside, waiting for a seat.
The Tea Room in 1972
Liz making pancakes in the original kitchen of the old house next to the Tea Room
Before Bert had his car
The situation inspired Bert to build a tea garden to accommodate the increasing customer base. So, it was, that in 1973, he built the garden at the back of the existing Tea Room, and this proved to be a great success, as 36 more customers could be accommodated during what turned out to be a lovely summer.
Initially the Tea Room was a summer business and other ways of surviving the winter months were required. This consisted of “tattie” picking for the local farmer and acquiring freelance design work for businesses in nearby Glenrothes. Bert decided not to continue with the upstairs Art Gallery, but, rather, to concentrate on the Tea Room and tea garden. He bought the tumbledown house next door, rebuilt it and extended the Tea Room. The Art Gallery became the baking and serving kitchen, with Bert becoming an expert baker and no mean jam maker!
Bert's opening display of ceramic tiles which he designed to launch the gallery side of KKK
The garden before Bert built the tea garden
The transformed rear tea garden and garden behind KKK
Stacking the bricks
Extension wall built
The completed Tea Room
The jam maker
Bert and his family shortly after opening the extension
During his time in the Tea Room, Bert discovered that plans were afoot to start excavating down at The Myre with the aim of laying out a pitch and putt course there. Bert had a look at the area and was left with the opinion that a nine-hole golf course could be set out on that particular stretch of land, so he got together with the other golfers from the village and was instrumental in designing and constructing the golf course; becoming the first secretary of the club at its inception. The Golf Club is still running after 40 years.
Enjoying a game of golf on the course I designed
After a couple of years of running the Tea Room, Bert decided to sell it as a going concern and he bought Maspie House in 1975. The house had been the village Post Office and the Post Mistress had kept cats; many cats! There was a great deal of work to be done in terms of renovation and reconstruction; a big job in fact; but Bert got on with it, including landscaping the garden. Maspie House became a shop selling crafts and collectibles. The project took a few years to complete and again other means of income were required. Liz started full time employment in Dundee as a milk official allowing Bert to continue in the role of house husband and renovator. Once the physical work was complete Bert relieved Liz and gained employment with D.C.Thompson in Dundee. This routine continued until the craft business became established.
Outside Maspie House with Bert's uncle who carved new bases for the columns
The garden behind Maspie House
Laying out the garden at Maspie House
The extension behind Maspie House which Bert demolished
Bert then sold Maspie House in 1981 to a couple from London and moved into The Pillars while he considered his next steps on his journey through life.
There were thoughts about emigrating but Bert, having met up with an old friend in advertising from Glasgow, decided to return to his earlier career. But not for long!
In 1982 Kynd Kittocks Kitchen came back on the market and Bert decided to return to Falkland and take up the reins of running the Tea Room once more. The Tea Room went from strength to strength and in 1999 won the “Best Tea Room in Scotland” award.
The first page of the menu
The award ceremony
While running the Tea Room, Bert bought Mercat House and Shop (now Fayre Earth) which he renovated, adding outside stairs and refurbishing the flat above the shop. He bought it as a family business and eventually passed it on to his sons.
Time passed, the two boys grew up and followed their own paths in life and Bert began to think about hanging up his apron strings! But, having, still, the urge to be busy, he bought Rose Cottage in Sharp’s Close, a little house in very poor condition, knocked it down and built Sweetheart Cottage in its footprint.
Renovations well underway
Side view of the shop
Another project begins
Brickwork up to finished height
Building the boundary wall with stone saved from the demolished Rose Cottage
Another job well done
When Bert retired, he and his wife Liz stayed at Sweetheart Cottage before moving to their home on Brunton Green, just a stone’s throw from where Kynd Kittocks Kitchen, the tearoom and tea garden, had once been.
From his house in Brunton Green, Bert is able to look out at the War memorial; a monument that he designed, and which stands proudly along with his other, lasting contributions to the community of Falkland; the Golf Club; the renovated buildings and Kynd Kittocks Kitchen.
* The name Kynd Kittocks comes from the poem attributed to William Dunbar; “The Ballad of Kynd Kittock”,
Bert has continued with his interest in, and contributions to, the community and village of Falkland. For Remembrance Sunday, 2019, he designed and made a special tribute to the fallen, displayed in one of the carts for which Falkland in Bloom was so famous. The tribute took the form of individual crosses, each carefully inscribed with the name of the serviceman from Falkland who, “for our tomorrow, gave his today.” The inscriptions echoed the names on the adjacent war memorial, also designed by Bert.
as told to Liz Coates
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