Summary of Progress

dsc_4024We have just done a review of progress made since we set up Friends of Pilmuir Works.  

Although we still have a very long way to go, we have done quite a lot.

In summary:

  • July 2016
    OurLand Festival Fife had its finale in Dunfermline and the issue of the derelict Pilmuir Works was raised in discussion.
  • August 2016
    The owner of Pilmuir Works went into administration.
  • September 2016
    Friends of Pilmuir Works was set up by group of concerned local people. A Facebook page and website were created to reach out to the wider community. We made contact with various experts and bodies to begin to develop ideas and plans.
  • November 2016
    Friends of Pilmuir Works was formally constituted. Plans for public meeting were initiated with flyers and posters as well as online promotion.
  • December 2016
    Public meeting with over 80 in attendance. FoPW speakers and guest experts initiated discussion around options and examples.  Thereafter followed an ideas gathering session with high levels of engagement by the audience in both.
  • January 2017
    Planning meeting saw our activist base double and new sub-groups set up to deal with: (1) Funding & Legal, (2) Needs & Ideas, (3) Petitioning and (4) Communications. A site visit allowed us to see Pilmuir Works in great detail and better understand both the levels of dereliction and potential for different areas.  Fundraising activities were initiated.
  • February 2017
    Development of funding applications have been progressed. There have been further contact and meetings with advisers, agencies and others to further advance our plans.

A Visit to the Archives

by Grant Buttars

Fife Council Archives hold Dean of Guild (forerunner to Building Control) drawings relating to Pilmuir Works.  Studying them reveals not only more information about the history of the site but also the flexibility of the building design.

Most of the drawings are by architect  T. Hyslop Ure (or others in his office) and date from the 1890s.  They are predominantly concerned with the last big expansion on site, pushing the footprint southwards to meet the railway line.  Three major elements of this are shaded pink below. The red line denotes buildings demolished to allow this to happen.

Detail showing site extension

In terms of understanding how the building is constructed, there are ‘sections’ which show this detail.

Section through Pilmuir Street extension


Section through southern range

These are just a small selection of the drawings in the archives.  Overall, they are going to be very useful as we go forward.

Public Meeting Packed Out

Exceeding all expectations, our first public meeting had around 100 in attendance.  Even after two deliveries of extra seats, some people unfortunately had to stand. With guest speakers to set the scene, the meeting also gathered ideas from those attended to feed into what happens next.

5th December was a cold, dark evening in Dunfermline.  We had called the meeting to broaden out what we are doing into the wider community and held it in the Carnegie Leisure Centre, where we could glance out the window and see our subject opposite.  It’s never easy to guess how many people might come along to events such as these but, we knew there were quite strong feelings in town about Pilmuir Works.

We even got some coverage in The Courier

The meeting itself comprised two distinct parts.  The first was a series of guest speakers to help set the scene and to bring examples and inspiration from what is going on elsewhere. After that came the ideas session, where it was over to the audience to pitch in with ideas for what could be done with the Pilmuir site.

Grant Buttars opened the meeting with some initial remarks, outlining how the programme for the evening and introducing the guest speakers.  First up was Ian Ferguson.  Ian outlined what we, as Friends of Pilmuir Works, have been doing and some of the immediate tasks ahead.  Next on was local historian, Hugh Walker, who skillfully managed to condense nearly 200 years of the history of the site into just over 10 minutes (with illustrations).

Our third speaker was architect Malcolm Fraser, who inspired the meeting with examples  of buildings and community enterprises elsewhere elsewhere.  He drew parallels between Pimuir and the Rockfield Centre in Oban.  Alongside Malcolm, we heard from Sandra Macaskillwho has worked as a consultant on a number of community buyout projects.

We then heard from Karl Dorozenko, Development, Planning and Regeneration Manager for East Ayrshire. He told us about a decidedly different approach they have taken towards town centre regeneration in Kilmarnock, specifically a conscious decision to favour the reuse of older buildings for new purposes, which he illustrated with many examples.

After the speakers and associated Q&A, it was over to Jean Ferguson to coordinate the ideas session.  The ideas themselves were diverse and plentiful and we are still pulling them together from the many flipchart pages and post it notes.  We will post more details once we have done this.

The evening concluded with everyone very enthused and various spontaneous conversations took place before we left the building.  Many signed our petition as they left.   Numerous petition blanks were also taken by people to get others to sign.  This is one of the things we will be concentrating on next, so watch out for us out in the street and knocking on doors.

As we move into 2017, we will be calling further meetings to develop ideas further and discuss what we do next, so look out for announcements!


Public Meeting

Let’s turn Pilmuir Works into something that Dunfermline really needs, something that will enhance our town centre and save one of our important historic sites.
Come along and exchange ideas and hear about ideas for what Pilmuir Works could become. But this isn’t just about us telling you our ideas. We need yours too. A community-driven solution is the best way to break the stalemate that has allow Pilmuir to decay into its current state.
There’s going to be a bit of inspiration from guest speakers who will help set the scene. However the main part of the meeting will be about gathering ideas about how we, as a community, can work together to pull a plan of action together.
Come along and make your voice heard.
Monday 5th December, 7.p.m. (doors open: 6.45 p.m.)carnegie
Studio 2
Carnegie Leisure Centre
46 Pilmuir Street
KY12 0QE

Initial thoughts

This is a great site with an interesting history.  It’s right in the centre of town and right next door to the Carnegie Leisure Centre.  With a future designed around community need, it could play a vital role in regenerating our town centre.


There’s obviously a lot consider and a lot of challenges.  Those who have been responsible for this site up to now have not secured its future.  Perhaps it’s our turn.