A NEW book explains how widespread demand for "homes fit for heroes" from the First World War helped shape West Fife. 

Many of the troops who returned victorious to Scotland in 1918 had come from poor housing and local authorities were given the duty of providing new dwellings. 

Here, that meant Rosyth Garden City saw 1,600 new houses constructed during the four years of conflict while there were also wartime developments built in Dunfermline and Crombie. 

Two researchers with long experience of housing policy have now written a book on the influences of post-war housing needs, many of the results of which are still evident 100 years later. 

As part of 'Scotland's Homes Fit for Heroes', Lou Rosenburg and John Rosser have researched developments in Fife that arose from the Housing and Town Planning (Scotland) Act 1919, which marked the beginnings of state-owned housing and, later, council estates.

Lou said: "Although it was actually started in advance of the 1919 Act, during the First World War as many as 1,600 permanent houses were constructed in three phases at Rosyth by the Scottish National Housing Company."

The first phase comprised 150 cottages that were built on a triangular site formed by Queensferry Road, Admiralty Road and Backmarch Road. 

With a second phase of 450 units, there were demands for economy so a simpler neo-Georgian approach to design was adopted and included a number of four-in-a-block cottage flats. 

The book explains that, in October 1916, the Admiralty acknowledged that 1,000 additional houses were still needed to support the war effort and the construction of this further phase continued thereafter.  

Under the new provisions of the 1919 Act, Fife local authorities managed to produce more than 30 developments of “homes fit for heroes” in a variety of locations. 

Four are highlighted in the book, including the accommodation built in the Brucefield area of Dunfermline which consisted mainly of cottages designed in a neo-Georgian manner, often with plain brick elevations and minimal decoration.

A small development of 35 cottages was also built during the Great War at Crombie, to accommodate civilian defence workers at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot. 

These attractive stone-built properties were provided by the Office of Works in short terraces of four and eight units. 

The book also looks at developments in St Andrews, Leven, East Wemyss and Burntisland. 

The authors said that although the total number of completions achieved under the new legislation was "clearly disappointing", the best of the 1919 Act developments were designed to an impressive standard, usually along lines favoured by the garden city movement. 

The houses have stood the test of time and most are still standing and in use today.

Mr Rosenburg added: "For many of Scotland’s larger settlements, the construction of well-designed garden city dwellings represented a significant shift in the built form of working class housing. 

"The necessities of social changes arising from war marked a transition from traditional tenements to low density cottages."

The book is also a timely reminder of Rosyth's history with the celebrations in 2016 marking 100 years since it was established as Scotland’s only garden city. 

The garden city had its roots in the construction of the Rosyth Naval Dockyard in 1909, when permanent accommodation was needed for its 1,000-plus workers.

The Scottish National Housing Company was formed to build Rosyth Garden Village and work began in 1915, with the first house occupied by May 1916.

Published by The Word Bank in association with the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, 'Scotland’s Homes Fit for Heroes' costs £14.99 and is available from available from www.eotdt.org.