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Having been a GP in Glenrothes for many years, Club member Dr Ian Black was obviously in a good position to propose the evening’s presentation, entitled “Glenrothes – Success or Failure?”
Archaeological excavations decades ago had shown the site of Glenrothes had supported communities as far back as the 4th century. Things moved on in the late 1940s when Glenrothes was developed as one Scotland’s first “new towns”. The aim was to provide a better quality of life and raise the aspirations of a country torn apart by war.
As a medical student at Edinburgh University, Ian recalled being in Glenrothes when the Queen visited a newly-dug coal pit and descended 3000 feet underground. But the pit – and the jobs it had created – disappeared in 1955 when the pit had to be permanently closed because of flooding.
With that source of employment gone, it was decided to try and attract business from Europe and the USA and in the 1950s many more houses were constructed to accommodate workers.
Said Ian, this was a big leap forward from the original concept, and the local councils were persuaded to hand more power to Glenrothes Development corporation – who even went as far as to build an airport in the town.
Ian said, “I was induced to go to Glenrothes as a GP as it was felt the people there in general were not happy with the community services. During my spell there, I had on my patient list 146 families whose fathers – and some mothers – were based with the RAF at Leuchars Airfield but were despatched to reside in Glenrothes.”
He went on to suggest that the 5 doctors looking after the entire population in the early days had too many problems to deal with, mainly concerning very young wives and mothers. Their smartest move was to employ the town’s first female doctor, who was better able to understand such patients’ difficulties.
In later years, more community facilities were introduced, such as a swimming pool, football ground and other amenities to provide areas for exercise.
Ian reckoned Glenrothes was essentially a beautiful site, surrounded by the Lomond Hills and other landscape attractions.
In conclusion Ian’s verdict on the opening question of “Glenrothes – Success of Failure?” was “I really don’t know the answer!”
James Yule gave a vote of thanks for an enjoyable and thought-provoking talk.
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