William Stevenson & Sons, House Furnishers, Auctioneers and Removal Experts, is the next article in George Beattie’s series on Dunfermline’s Industrial and Commercial past. William Stevenson, worked at several trades before starting this successful firm, which was based for many years in Bruce Street. As always in George’s articles, this one contains some fascinating photographs of Dunfermline’s more recent past.
We have recently revised the article on George Roberson FSA to include an imposing portrait by John Rattray of his father, Robert Robertson, who was provost of Dunfermline between 1854 and 1861.
George Robertson (1835 to 1916), was a businessman and antiquarian who played an interesting part in the life of Victorian Dunfermline. As well as running a shop, he was an officer in the Dunfermline Rifle Volunteer Corps, contributed sketches to Henderson’s “Annals of Dunfermline”, was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and was appointed by H.M. Board of Works as Keeper of the Abbey and Royal Palace. His namesake, and fellow local historian, George Robertson tells his story in “George Robertson FSA, Keeper of Dunfermline Abbey and Palace“.
In “The Execution of Janet Mitchell – The Murderer of Her Owne Childe” Jean Barclay tells the tragic story of the last woman to be hanged in Dunfermline. This happened in 1709 and the case shows how differently people thought then, three hundred years ago.
In the next in his series on Dunfermline’s Industrial and Commercial Past, George Beattie relates the history of David West & Son, Road Haulier of Rumblingwell and Touch. This business started in 1920 using ex-army vehicles and grew steadily. Early in the Second World War it was placed under the control of the Ministry of War Transport to prioritise war work and later it was briefly nationalised. The company was re-started following de-nationalisation and continued to thrive until merged into a much larger UK business in the 1960’s. The article shows the scale of the economic changes made by the needs of wartime and also the subsequent changes in the UK economy as national companies superseded local ones.