In the first of three articles about Dunfermline soft drinks manufactures, George Beattie tells the story of Gilbert Rae, whose company demonstrated the innovation and experimentation of late Victorian Scotland. Gilbert Rae produced ginger beer, lemonade, kola and many other products and he pioneered the use of electricity, motor transport, scientific testing and much more as he built up a large business.
The Dunfermline Historical Society recently received a portrait photograph of the Reverend Peter Chalmers, a minister of the Abbey Church, a local historian and an influential figure in Dunfermline life in the 19th Century. Jean Barclay has researched his life and in “REVEREND DOCTOR PETER CHALMERS, 1790-1870” she summarises his achievements in education, charitable work and historical research and also his difficulties in coping with the Great Disruption of 1843.
In “Erskine Beveridge & Co. The origins of a famous Dunfermline business“, Donald Adamson presents the results of his important local research into the sources of funding for a well-known firm which has a significant place in Dunfermline’s history. The story demonstrates the extensive social mobility which existed in 19th Century Britain, but also perhaps the pervasive influence of money from the slave trade.
“Reminiscences of Dunfermline – Sixty Years Ago” by Alexander Stewart, published in 1886, includes a story concerning an unusual college and a Provost of the town who was also a fixer of dislocated bones. In “Pattiesmuir College and Adam Low, the Dunfermline Bonesetter“, George Robertson, who has recently been elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, continues his occasional series based on the “Reminiscences” and tells us more about this talented Provost.
Jean Barclay starts a new series of short pieces based on a 19th Century compilation of writings about Dunfermline, the “Folio of Oddities”. In “The ‘Gude’ Mr Erskine and his Fiddle” she presents the story of a new father searching for the perfect minister to baptise a new born child.