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School Years

Attr: National Library of Scotland Maps at https: //maps.nls.uk

Soon the family was on the move from Buckhaven to 19 Overton Road, in Kirkcaldy.

Attribution: Fife Cultural Trust (Kirkcaldy Galleries) on behalf of Fife Council

This time also brought the departure of the oldest sibling, when Thomas Dunsire married in 1899 at the Salvation Army Hall, in the Sinclairtown area of Kirkcaldy. Robert’s generation of the family was completed by the arrival at 19 Overton Road of William in 1900, and Marshall in 1901.

1901 Census - Attr: Crown Copyright, National Records of Scotland

Robert attended school at Pathhead, which was no distance from his home in Overton Road, where the family lived at the time of the 1901 Census. This was also the school that the author John Buchan had attended when he lived in the church manse, in Smeaton Road, not 100 yards from the school gates. Dunnikier Colliery was on the opposite side of Smeaton Road, not far from the school.

Atrt: Fife Cultural Trust (Kirkcaldy Galleries) on behalf of Fife Council

Robert attended secondary school at Sinclairtown for three years, leaving school at the age of 14 in 1905, after which he headed for the pit adjacent to Pathhead School.

Robert’s niece, Jane was born 1906 at 103 Nether Street, Pathhead – the first indication of another family household move confirmed by the 1905–1906 Valuation Roll.

Nether Street ran from the bottom of St Clair Street down towards the Harbour at Kirkcaldy and was close to Ravenscraig Castle and Three Trees Park (now known as Ravenscraig Park).

Attr: Fife Cultural Trust (Kirkcaldy Galleries) on behalf of Fife Council

It was not far from Mid Street (now Commercial Street) which would be the family’s ultimate destination. The 1911 Census Record (Source: National Records of Scotland) shows the family members who were still at home in 1911.

1911 Census - Attr: Crown Copyright, National Records of Scotland

The evidence, from various birth and marriage certificates, as well as the 1901 and 1911 censuses, illustrates the two key industries for employment at the time. The women worked in linen mills and men were employed in coal-mining which had gone through a boom period.

Robert’s home arrangements continued to change after the 1911 Census. By the time his sister Isabella married in 1911, the family lived in Salisbury Street, Kirkcaldy. Yet again, the family was struck by tragedy when Robert’s 10-year-old brother, Marshall died in 1912. On a brighter note, Robert’s sister, Margaret, married in April 1912.


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