IN THIS week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane, we look at one of the oldest streets in Dunfermline, Queen Anne Street.

Named after Anne of Denmark, wife of King James VI, it originally had the more colourful name of ‘The Back Syde’ which was changed in the early 19th century as mentioned in this extract from the Annals of Dunfermline: "The Back Syde – New name Queen Anne Street. Names of the streets to be painted on the corner houses 25th May 1809. From Dr Campbell’s corner to the head of the Cross Wynd."

The first photograph is of a section of the street that no longer exists between the top of Bonnar Street stretching westwards along towards the Post Office building on the corner of Pilmuir Street. This area is now underground as part of the Kingsgate Centre and Marks and Spencer. The ‘Union Inn’ was situated on the right with Fergusons the seed merchants and Goodalls Garage further along on the north side of the street and the large furniture shop, ‘Grants’, on the opposite side of the street which had its entrance on the High Street.

The photo brings back memories for David Laming: “In the early sixties, one of our Co-op lorries came back from Lochgelly loaded with almost 200 empty metal milk cases. The driver, Cliff, pulled out of James Street and if you notice the camber of the road at that drain, the whole lot of the near-side load came off and crashed through Grants window. That was some morning – great memories.”

The next photograph shows the same section of Queen Anne Street looking back towards its junction with James Street, with Goodhalls Garage building in the foreground and the boundary wall of the Erskine Church building visible on the lower left which still stands there today.

The next photograph shows the interior of the electricians, James Scott and Co, opposite Goodhall’s, with staff members Dolly Gregson and Jessie Barnett.

The final image is of the furthest-west section of the street leading down to Bruce Street which used to be known as ‘Rotten Row’. One traditional explanation for the naming of the street was that a week before the Great Fire of Dunfermline that destroyed much of the town in 1624, a "regiment of rattins (rats) left the row led by two rats leading a blind one by means of a straw between them. This dispersion of the animals, it is said, was taken as an instance of their sagacity and foresight as to the coming fire". Aside from such as story being highly fanciful at best, facts also inconveniently get in the way of it being true as pointed out in the Annals of Dunfermline: “Tradition is here at fault, for it is here shown that the said Row was called ‘Rotten Row’ in 1487, or 137 years before the Great Fire of 1624. Rotten Row is derived from ratton, unwrought timber used in erecting the houses with wholly undressed planks of timber.”

More photographs like these can be seen in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries and also at’.

With thanks to Frank Connelly.