THE photographs and images in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane look at the history of the post office in Dunfermline and the various places it operated in town throughout its long presence.

Our first image (a very old one as it pre-dates the construction of the present City Chambers in 1876 – the tall building towering over the top of the street at the junction with the High Street in the image was its predecessor) shows the first location of the post office in the town’s Kirkgate where it operated from small premises at the beginning of the 19th century.

In a book published during 1886 entitled ‘Reminiscences of Dunfermline – Sixty Years Ago’, by Alexander Stewart, the author describes its early days: "Between 50-60 years ago, the Post-Office was a very primitive establishment. Letters were carried to and from Dunfermline in large canvas wallets slung on horseback, and the post-boy carried a long tin horn to herald the approach and departure of the Royal Mail. The Post-Office was then in Kirkgate, and it was a place of small dimensions. A Miss Angus was postmistress till 1851, when she was succeeded by Mr Robert Steedman, who for 30 years faithfully filled the office of postmaster Envelopes were never used because then unknown. Letters sealed with wax usually bore the impression of the watch seals which used to hang imposingly from gentlemen’s watch-fobs. The small premises in the Kirkgate were soon found quite inadequate for the transaction of the ever-increasing business, and the department was moved to Guildhall Street, where it was carried on for some years."

This move took place in 1852, after which an extension was added in 1872. The address of the post office is then given as the High Street after the completion of the extension which indicates it may then have been accessible through the main door of the County Building (now the Guildhall and Linen Exchange pub).

Our next photograph shows this building, which was situated on the junction of the High Street and Guildhall Street. The post office later moved again, this time to Queen Anne Street, opening on November 24, 1900, and operating in that building for more than 100 years.

Our next image, a watercolour painting by Dunfermline artist Adam Westwood, shows the building in the very early part of the 20th century.

Our final image is an old one of the interior of the post office. The post office ceased to use this building in 2017 and the service is now delivered from the lower floor of WH Smith in the High Street. Plans are in place to preserve the iconic building with a change of use into licensed premises and a restaurant.

More detailed information on the history of the post office in Dunfermline is given in an excellent article on the subject on the website of Dunfermline Historical Society by local historian George Robertson.

More images like these can be seen in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries as well as at

With thanks to Frank Connelly.