East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at the Fife New Town, originally built to accommodate miners
Glenrothes is one of Scotland’s first New Towns. Its original purpose was to give mineworkers at Rothes Colliery a better place to live. In this 1959 film, we see how the town fulfilled these aims.
The film is very much of its time for 1959. Its script is aimed at male viewers, especially with this line: “The medical centres of today look clean and efficient, and attractive – and so do the nurses!” Another one, which also ages this film badly is “a bold use of colour in a house is to what cosmetics are to a woman.”
What our commentator didn’t preempt at the time was androgyny, women having a greater role in the workplace or men stocking up on moisturiser. But hey, this was 1959 and the United Kingdom was a different place then. Such chauvinism would be upon today.
If you can look past the chauvinistic script, New Day: The Birth of Glenrothes is beautifully filmed in colour – which was pretty groundbreaking for a promotional film. It looks at the facilities in and around the town, and the fact you could get a bus to watch East Fife or Raith Rovers (Starks Park also has a cameo role in this film).
With one look to the future were its references to plastics and electronics. By the 1980s, it would be part of Scotland’s Silicon Glen due to its role in building microprocessor chips. Major employers include Raytheon and Leviton.
As for its original purpose, that was redundant in 1965. Built in 1957, Rothes Colliery was originally a prime move in the town’s development. It suffered from flooding and geographical problems – as well as reduced demand for coal – which led to its closure.
Tomorrow, we shall be heading down to Britain’s most popular seaside resort. A place that is known for its tower and one of the worst large hotels on the cosmos. See you later, alligators…
S.V., 20 December 2021.
Image by Yoostar (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported).