Welcome to the Kilrenny and Anstruther Burgh Collection Website. We are a registered charity, run by a small group of volunteers, which aims to collect, record, publish and share material from the former Royal Burghs of Anstruther Easter, Anstruther Wester and Kilrenny (which includes Cellardyke), part of a string of small fishing villages in the East Neuk of Fife on the East coast of Scotland. 10 miles south of St Andrews, 45 miles North West of Edinburgh and 23 miles South East of Dundee.
Historically, Anstruther was an important trading and fishing port, one of the key East Coast ports for the Herring run down the North Sea. Anstruther ships traded with the continent, and its sea captains traded across the world, most notably in the great clipper races of the China tea trade. A number of notable people lived or were brought up here – including Dr Chalmers, the founder of the Free Church, whose statue in George Square, Edinburgh is now matched by a memorial garden in Hadfoot Wynd, Anstruther, and the painter David Martin, whose painting of Benjmin Franklin hangs in the White House.
The Burgh Collection is not a museum, but an historical and educational resource for the community, both locally, and for all those across the world who have links to our beautiful part of Scotland and would like to share in the culture and rich history of these burghs. We have helped people in the past track down relatives, or sort out answers to photographs that people might have inherited, and have received interesting photographs, histories and family trees from home and abroad. We also work with other local organisations, such as the Scottish Fisheries Museum.
We have published in the past, and continue to publish, new pamphlets and books about the area. We have also republished George Gourlay’s Victorian history of Anstruther. Our books can be purchased from East Neuk Books, or direct from our website. We now have a Facebook page which will increasingly be our main outlet for news, photographs, and the exchange of information for those whose interest comes either from family connections to our three burghs, or simply an interest and a love for the area.
As well as collecting important documents, artefacts and books about the area we also collect ephemera from the past which are just as important a resource as the more obviously valuable pieces that we hold. In past exhibitions, items such as a clutch of shop bags from shops that have closed, or a bar of carbolic soap from the old school, created just as much interest and lively discussion as any other item. If you are clearing out an old box or drawer and come across old bills, bags, photographs or other every-day objects we would like to hear from you. Often the cast-offs of today are the history of tomorrow, and items that almost ended up in a skip – or dumpster, for our American friends – have frequently been found to have historical value.
We would like anyone with an interest in our history and heritage to feel free to join us both as a friend and perhaps as a member. Your membership of the Burgh Collection would give us tremendous encouragement and support. We have a management committee, and at our yearly AGM we elect our office bearers, recall the year’s activities and enjoy a talk arranged for the occasion. Many friends and supporters do not live here and cannot attend in person, but now keep in touch through Facebook. We do not at present have a permanent base which the public can visit. Our financial resources are limited, and our loyal core of active local members is small. With a wider base of supporters, we would be able to expand our activities for the benefit of all.
If you wish further information about the Burgh Collection, a history and more detailed description can be found on the Collection page. For up-to-date news and interesting posts, see our Facebook page.