Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 12:55 UK

New town celebrates its 60th year

By Kevin Keane
Fife reporter
BBC Scotland news website

Early Glenrothes sign
Glenrothes was the only Scottish new-town designed to be self-sustaining

The post-war new town of Glenrothes has reached a milestone by celebrating 60 years since its conception.

Glenrothes was designated under the New Towns Act (Scotland) on 30 June, 1948, and its population has grown to an estimated 40,000 people since then.

The Fife town was originally intended to provide housing for miners at the Rothes Colliery which was earmarked for substantial growth.

But the pit closed four years later and the town refocused on electronics.

Unlike other Scottish new-towns, such as East Kilbride, Cumbernauld and Livingston, Glenrothes was not designed to be a commuter hub for Glasgow. The town has been striving hard throughout the decades to attract jobs.

When you came to Glenrothes it was clear you were a pioneer in the sense that you were creating a community from scratch
John Macdonald
Formerly of the Glenrothes Development Corporation

Local councillor Fiona Grant told the BBC Scotland news website: "Local employment is vital to the success of the town so that we can become sustainable.

"People who live here, work here. Their children go to school here, they do their shopping here."

To mark the anniversary, a number of commemorate trees are being planted in the town and a flowerbed, boasting the 60th year, has been unveiled.

In the days of the Glenrothes Development Corporation, efforts were made to create a community feel even though people had moved to the town from all over the UK.

John MacDonald, former marketing director, said: "When you came to Glenrothes it was clear you were a pioneer in the sense that you were creating a community from scratch.

"I was told my job wouldn't finish at five, I would be out in the evenings chatting to the mining families, into the local bars, finding out what people wanted, what people were considering should happen in the town.

Dolina MacLeod
Dolina MacLeod, aged 94, moved to Glenrothes for work in the 1950s

"We took advice from the ground level up.

"I think the people worked very hard and produced a second generation industry of electronics, Silicon Glen. We were the early providers in that area.

"Regrettably, as we all know, electronics have gone out of fashion but here again I put Glenrothes as surviving a second disaster."

In 1975, Glenrothes received an employment boost when it became the county town of Fife.

Previously, the council's administrative headquarters had been in Cupar.

Demand for housing has continued to grow.

One of the first residents, Dolina MacLeod, moved from Sutherland in 1954 with her husband and four children.

Now aged 94, she said: "When the Rothes pit opened, they needed railway men and that's how we came down.

"It was more or less a quarter built when we came here first so it was a bit odd but we got used to it and we were all very happy here."

New town gears up for anniversary
12 Feb 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
New town finally has war memorial
22 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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