Burgh Collection Mini Exhibition helps open the Murray Studios

2014: Murray Studios Opened

2014: Murray Studios Opened

In March 2014, the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, opened the new craft and industry units in the Murray Library, Anstruther. This was the culmination of several years of hard work by the Trustees of the Murray Library, a registered charity. To mark the opening, the Burgh Collection mounted an exhibition in the public display area of the Murray Studios detailing the history of the Murray Library, which was built using an endowment of £4000 in 1908 from the estate of David Murray. A native of Anstruther, Mr Murray had emigrated to Australia, where he built up the largest trading company in the country. The foundation stone was laid with full Masonic ceremony, before a large crowd, in April 1908, and the library opened in December that year, a remarkable feat by any standards, to be followed by the Snooker Hall. None of the books to be stocked, it was stated at the opening, “would bring a blush to any cheek”, which may have come as a disappointment to many. It was a sign, however, of the faith in the power of education and self-improvement which was behind the original intention to provide a recreational and educational facility for the town. It was principally aimed, it must be said, at the many young fishermen of the town, who otherwise resorted to the pubs for their entertainment. In its day, the Snooker Hall, which was extended in 1924, was highly popular and very well used.

1908: Murray Library Studios Foundations Laid

1908: Murray Library Studios Foundations Laid

The Burgh Collection exhibition featured invoices detailing the cost of the building itself – £1600 – and quotations for the furnishings and fittings, as well as artefacts including a penny door lock from the original gentlemen’s toilets, and brochures and snooker table fabric samples from the old snooker room, which had become uneconomical many years before it was finally obliged to close. (In fact, the minutes of the Trustees for 1931 show that even then the snooker hall was a drain on the resources of the trust.) In its space, following several years of hard work by the voluntary trustees, the new Murray Studios were created, which now house several small local businesses. The exhibition was open to the public in the week following the opening of the studios, and will be stored intact in the meantime.