Kirkcaldy Links Market
Kirkcaldy remains the premier funfair in Scotland,
evolving from a charter granted by Edward I in 1304. The original
charter allowed the staging of a trading fair in Easter week for
the duration of 3 days.
The modern fair now extends to 6 days, and is
key event for both the showmen and the locals to Fife. The amusements
associated with the fair extend the full length of the Esplanade
and into the famous 'basin' - the rides and shows creating an avenue
either side of the Esplanade, rather than facing out to the open
sea. The Esplanade was built into its current form around 1923,
existing before as a single track with little to offer in terms
of enjoyment. Developments in 1956 saw the demolition of many of
the old buildings facing the sea, and the construction of the new
The story of the fairground at Kirkcaldy is the
story of the Scottish fairground, with the prominent families of
the time occupying key positions in the fair. New rides were given
priority at the fair, and this continues to the modern era with
showmen such as M. and D. Taylor often premiering their big thrill
rides at the Links Market.
Early years around the turn of the Century saw
the ornate rides of showmen such as the Wilmot and Evans families
- steam driven Gallopers and Switchback rides. The years after the
First World War saw the advent of exciting electric-driven rides
with the huge Scenic Railways being prominent. Scottish manufacturing
company Maxwells (based at Musselburgh) defined the atmosphere of
the fairground from the 1950s onwards. Maxwells pioneered the famous
Waltzer rides and had an eye for incredible flash and lighting.
Scottish showmen soon became renowned for their Waltzer and Speedway
rides and provided the 'party in motion' for the fair-going masses
- a tradition maintained to the current day. The later decades of
the 20th Century saw a predominance of rides from the Codona and
White families, who flanked the Esplanade with immaculately turned
out and lettered transport.
Recent years has seen increasingly thrilling rides
being presented by showmen such as the Horne family and the partnership
of Matt and Douglas Taylor. The advent of portable Roller Coasters,
huge tower rides and giant travelling wheels has meant that the
shoreline of Kirkcaldy is transformed into a powerful beacon of
bright light and intense activity for a long week of every year.
Turn of the Century Kirkcaldy.
Engine 'Dawn of the Century' with Graham's Gallopers, 1988.
Frank Codona's Waltzer, 1956.
White's lettered lorries, 1984.
Overview from flats, 1984.
White's Waltzer with flats in background, 1984.
The Tango towers high, 2006.
The Adrenalin ride of the Horne family, 2006.