Memories of my family and life in the village

This is Jean Small’s account of her Falkland family and her memories of her life in the village. Jean’s great-grandparents, Mr & Mrs Peggie, lived in Balmblae.  They had thirteen children, most of whom settled in Falkland.  One son, Walter (Jean’s grandfather), started the family business.  He was a slater and plasterer.  One daughter married a man called William Burgon and their son, Willy, went off to fight in World War I. He did not return.  His name is on the war memorial. 

Walter Peggie (Jean’s grandfather) set up his workshop underneath the house on West Port now called Steps House, (the washhouse was there too, next to the workshop).  Walter’s oldest son, Jean’s dad, also called Walter, took on the family business and he and his wife Mary, had three children; Walter, George and Jean.  Walter was an accomplished footballer and cricketer and he served on the Town Council.  Jean’s dad, Walter, carried on the family tradition and became the church organist.


Walter Peggie Senior owned the flats in Bruce Buildings and that is where Jean and her brothers lived as children before moving to Belmont in South Street West.  The family later moved back to Bruce Buildings.  Jean remembers the happiness of growing up in Falkland.  She attended Falkland Primary School and, later, Bell Baxter High School. 


This Picture shows Jean and Dave Dryburgh at Falkland Primary School

Her stories tell of going home from school, then straight out to play, often up at the loan at the rear of the factory.  She and her friends would play until the factory whistle went, at which point they would all go home for their tea, then go back out again for more fun.

Jean remembers Bill Duncan who kept goats.  He lived at the corner house on West Port and would drive his goats down the main street to Sugar Acre, through the centre of the village and then bring them back at night.  Bill also grew tobacco in an old tram car parked outside his house.  He was responsible for lighting the gas lamps in the village; a stalwart of the village and a real character.

Jean remembers the many shops in Falkland; there were over thirty of them when she was a girl.  At Spittals Hardware (where Vintage Quine is now) Mr & Mrs Paterson lived above the shop with their daughter, Janette.  Mr Paterson, Tony, was a plumber and Mrs Paterson used to go down the steps in the morning to work in the shop.  Tony was a champion hill runner, holding the record for the Lomond Hill Run for many years.  Jean and Janette are still close friends after all these years.

Jean has happy memories of the dances at Newton of Falkland every Saturday in the early sixties.  She and her friends often went dancing, either walking or taking the bus to get there and then catching the last bus home.  The regular band was “The Bluebell Band” playing for the dancers the memorable songs of the period such as “Walking Back to Happiness” by Helen Shapiro.


The Peggie Family L to R, George, Jean, Dad Walter, Mum Mary, Walter Circa 1964

One of the shops in Falkland was an Italian ice cream shop called Valentes, where Fayre Earth Craft Shop is today.  (A shop of the same name is still going today in Kirkcaldy).  The village Fish and Chip shop has become Bonnie Boo. Robert Nelles, the grocer had his shop where Scott Robb, the Hairdressing Salon of the past fifteen years, now stands.  

Peter Robertson, the local butcher, occupied the premises where, today, the Rowan Tree can be found.  The house next to The Covenanter was a “Sweetie Shop” and then was made into a Drapers where Dick Homden moved from Crosswynd (where Kind Kyttocks is today) down to the Cross. 

The Co-op was where Campbells is now and next door (now the Violin Shop) was a real old fashioned Drapers owned by Mr Bryce.  This became the Trustees Saving Bank (TSB) before Bob Beveridge set up the Violin Shop.  Across the road from the Violin Shop, Jim Ross had a paint shop.

A dentist came once a week to a house next to Traquair near to Walter Peggie’s workshop. Everybody in Falkland was able to get their teeth sorted out there thanks to the NHS.  This house was burned down in the 1950s and that caused a fair bit of excitement in West Port that night!  Jean’s mum was kept busy making tea for the fireman whenever they needed a cuppa.  Bella, the old lady in the house next door (now Traquair), who was on two sticks was lifted up by two burly firemen and carried across to Jean’s mum at Belmont.  Bella said, “Mary I really wanted to see your house but no like this!!” 

as told to Liz Coates