Inverkeithing’s Town House – People Making History
Published 21st February 2020
Inverkeithing’s Town House – People Making History. Inverkeithing’s Town House has 1770 proudly carved over a door, but on Friday 14th February 2020, the first day of an archaeologist-led survey of the building on, clues to the building’s much longer and complex history just kept appearing.
The standing building survey is led by archaeologist David Sneddon, and local community members have volunteered to participate in three days of investigating, measuring and recording this fascinating building at the heart of the historic Royal Burgh of Inverkeithing.
Fife Historic Buildings Trust are delivering, on behalf of Fife Council, and partner funders Historic Environment Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, an ambitious programme of heritage led regeneration in Inverkeithing. Repairs and conservation’s projects run in parallel with an ambitious activity programme.
The standing building recording at the Town House is part of the Burgh Survey, which will result ultimately in a fantastic published record of Inverkeithing’s architectural and archaeological riches, informing future development, and reflecting the town’s outstanding heritage. The Friary will be surveyed, there will be two digs, and an oral history project. Historian Dr Tom Turpie will lead workshops for local people into historical resources and research techniques, allowing the voices of Inverkeithing people to be recorded in the published Burgh Survey.
The wealth of information gathered on the first day of the first activity was outstanding. A debate has begun on social media about the possible significance of some marks on historic timbers. The hand-hewn joists, which pre-date machined timber, and were next to some hand-made nails. An archaeology specialist in historic timbers – dendrochronologist Coralie Mills, suggested “Possibly carpenter assembly marks”.
A secret staircase may have been discovered too!
Local volunteers described the day as “fascinating”, “thoroughly enjoyable” and the experience of learning the techniques of archaeological standing building surveying as “like catnip for me”!
The remaining days are full, but there will be many more heritage engagement opportunities in Inverkeithing. If you would like more information on this project visit the Inverkeithing project page here