Inverkeithing, a quaint town nestled in Fife, Scotland, holds within its embrace a collection of architectural treasures that allude to its rich and vibrant heritage. What stands out about this town is its remarkable assembly of A-listed buildings, each individually extraordinary, that exist in a concentrated area. Join me as we embark on a journey through time, exploring the Inverkeithing’s esteemed A-listed structures.
As soon as you get off the train and head into the centre of the town, these grand buildings start to reveal themselves. Up first you see Fordell’s Lodging, a 17th century town house with an eye-catching turret that stands out towards the pavement. It would have housed one of Inverkeithing’s wealthy landowners but was used as a church hall since the 1920s. It has fallen into a state of mild disrepair, however, it has recently been bought and will be converted into a private residential house. Hopefully, it will be restored to its former glory.
Just around the corner is the Town House, which is currently being renovated by Fife Historic Buildings Trust (FHBT). The current Town House structure has a lintel dated 1770, but a tolbooth existed on this site for a long period before this. The 1770 adaptations were probably one of many cycles of repairs, extensions, and adaptations. The original bell from the impressive bell tower can be seen just up the road in the Civic Centre. The Town House is currently being transformed into a community hub. It will be run by the community, for the community. The Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration Project has engaged the community throughout the process to contribute to the design process and develop an organisation to manage the resource long term. A more in-depth case study about the Town House in Inverkeithing will be getting published soon, so keep an eye out.
If you head around the corner from the Town House, on Bank Street, you’ll see the building known as Thomson’s Lodging. This late 18th century, 3-floor tenement house is hard to miss due to the vibrant mustard yellow lime harling on the outside. It is currently used as private housing.
When you reach the end of Bank Street, you’ll see the Mercat Cross, which is thought to date from 1398 and is one of the oldest Mercat Crosses in Scotland. Originally, it was located on the site of the Town House, it will soon be moved to the Market Square. As part of its conservation, and re-setting, a time capsule containing the work of local school children will be buried beside it. The Cross will be conserved by a specialist and stand as a proud symbol of the town’s heritage.
The final A-listed building is just further up the road. The Friary is a 14th century building which served as lodgings for pilgrims and travellers visiting the town. The building and grounds have intriguing features such as an assortment of differently shaped windows and vaulted cellars in the gardens. The future of the building is uncertain, however, FHBT have carried out a whole range of activities to get the community’s idea for future uses for the gardens.
Inverkeithing has a rich, vibrant built heritage. These A-listed buildings serve as connectors between the past, present, and future. FHBT’s Heritage Regeneration Project has helped to foster a sense of community pride and identity through them.
Exploring these architectural wonders will help you understand the unique, vibrant history of this remarkable town. Why not get on a train, across the World Heritage Site Bridge, and start to explore Inverkeithing.