Locals are bringing history to life at Inverkeithing’s Town House

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Over three days in February an archaeologist and a team of volunteers carried out a standing building survey on the Town House in Inverkeithing. They discovered many tantalising clues to the building’s long and complex history.

Archaeologist David Sneddon guided the community volunteers through the skills and archaeological techniques needed to investigate, measure and record this fascinating building at the heart of the Royal Burgh of Inverkeithing. Though 1770 is proudly carved over the door of the Town House, its history goes back much further.

This survey is part of a larger Burgh Survey which will include surveying the Friary Hospitium and two archaeological digs. Historian Dr Tom Turpie is leading workshops for local people on historical resources and research techniques. An oral history project will start in the autumn, allowing the voices of Inverkeithing people to be recorded in a published Burgh Survey.

The standing building survey was one of the activities that Fife Historic Buildings Trust are delivering, on behalf of Fife Council, and partner funders Historic Environment Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage fund. It is a small part of an ambitious programme of heritage-led regeneration in Inverkeithing. The 5-year Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration will see over £3.6 million invested in Inverkeithing’s heritage. The project will see repairs and conservation projects running in parallel with an ambitious activity programme.

The local volunteers clocked up a total of 102 hours discovering how the features and "phases of the building fit together." Using photos to "find features not visible from a casual inspection." One volunteer said they'd "definitely look at old buildings differently in future."

All the results will eventually be published in an illustrated book. It will tell the amazing story of Inverkeithing’s architectural and archaeological riches and outstanding heritage.

Emma Griffiths, Training and Development Officer at Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said “The information gathered was tantalising. The archaeologists are now piecing together all the evidence and will soon produce their conclusions in an eagerly awaited The Town House report.

“We like to thank the volunteers who took part, they described their experience as ‘fascinating’, ‘thoroughly enjoyable’ and, about the experience of practical archaeology as ‘like catnip for me!’”

Councillor Alice McGarry, Convenor of the South and West Fife Villages Area Committee, added “These activities are not just a real benefit to the wider community, but they allow people to get involved, rediscover their local history and learn new skills. This complements the physical regeneration work that is planned as part of the project. I’m sure the report will make fascinating reading!Volunteers carry out photo survey

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email inverkeithing@fifehistoricbuildings.org.uk or visit www.fifehistoricbuildings.org.uk/inverkeithing