Local Politics: 1902-08 and 1964

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1902 to 1908

Burntisland was one of the first burghs to experience a form of party politics in Town Council elections. This happened in the early years of the 20th century, when James Lothian Mitchell, the illegitimate son of a domestic servant and an agricultural labourer, came to prominence. He and his 'Mitchellite' supporters dominated political life in the town from 1903 until Mitchell's death in 1908. They achieved much in those five years. Despite strong opposition from less enlightened councillors, they succeeded in getting for Burntisland its fine public library. And by their purchase of the Rossend estate, they planted the seeds from which developed the socialist initiatives of later years.

Please click here for the story of James Lothian Mitchell, including a number of contemporary photographs. Contents:
Part 1 (1863-1902) - Setting the Scene: The Early Years (includes photos of Burntisland School staff)
Part 2 (1903-06) - Battles with the Railway Company and the Sacking of the Headmaster
Part 3 (1904-07) - The Fight for the Public Library and the Visit of Andrew Carnegie (includes photo of the Brass Band)
Part 4 (1907-08) - The Purchase of Rossend Estate and the End of an Era (includes photos of the Volunteer Artillery)


Many folk in Burntisland hanker for the days of the old Town Council, which ceased to exist when local government in Scotland was 'regionalised' in 1975. Please click here to see what the old Town Council looked like in 1964.

Webpage by Iain Sommerville;
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