Beath Parish Housing


In a number of cases only one wash-house is provided for four families. In about 37 per cent, there are no sculleries or washhouses at all. In Broad Street, in houses belonging to the Fife Coal Company, Limited, there are brick floors, no water supply inside, no sculleries, and, owing to underground workings, have had to be propped up. In some cases the houses are being rebuilt, but in others, although badly rent and falling to pieces and in a dangerous condition, the houses are still being occupied.

The Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company, Limited, own 22 houses in Arthur Place which have no washhouses or coal cellars, and which have brick floors and only one water-closet for four tenants.

In Arthur Street there are 34 houses in the same condition.

In Thistle Street there are 40 very old houses with no washhouses, sculleries, with only one water-closet for four tenants. They have brick or stone floors.

In Landale Terrace, where the houses are old and rent, the conditions are much the same. There are no water-closets. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 13th October 1913 by Michael Lee]


There are about 80 houses in Adam's Terrace very badly damaged by underground workings. In my opinion they are dangerous to life. They are rent, and are propped up both inside and outside, and also buttressed between blocks. All these houses belong to the Fife Coal Company, Limited. A number of the tenants have had to leave the houses owing to their unsafe condition.

In Dewar's Row there are 40 houses which have no washhouses or sculleries, no water-closets, having merely dry privies and ash-pits. There is no water supply in the houses, the only supply available being a public tap in the public road, the tenants having to carry water in pails for a considerable distance.

A number of the houses in Dewar's Row are below the level of the street, and they are damp and unhealthy. On one side of the Row the houses are very old and not up to modern requirements.

In Pleasance there are about a dozen houses in an unsatisfactory condition. [Evidence presented to Royal Commission, 13th October 1913 by Michael Lee]

Houses Built by Coal Companies

Houses in Cowdenbeath, built in 1925 by Lochgelly Iron & Coal Co, Ltd.  Two 3-roomed houses with scullery, bathroom, WC (hot and cold water) [1926 description]

Houses in Kelty built by Fife Coal Co. Ltd, in 1919 4 houses, with 3 bedrooms upstairs, living-room, kitchen, scullery, bathroom, WC, and coals on ground floor [1926 description]

Houses in Kelty built by Fife Coal Co. Ltd, in 1924-25 20 houses with 3 rooms, bathroom, WC, scullery with tubs boiler, and coal cellar [1926 description]

Earls Row Kelty Built by the Fife Coal Co Ltd in 1914 8 houses of 2 apartments with sculleries and WCs [1926 description]

Two-Roomed Houses for Mining Village - Although the Dunfermline District Committee have erected a large number of dwelling-houses at Kelty, the housing shortage is still serious. At a meeting of the Dunfermline District Committee of Fife County Council yesterday it was reported, in connection with a further housing scheme in contemplation, that the Scottish Board of Health had, upon representations from the Committee, indicated that 60 per cent of two apartment houses would be sanctioned, and suggested that the Committee might take into consideration a slum-clearance scheme. Mr R. W. Wallace of Halbeath, Chairman, remarked that they would now be able to let houses at a lower rent. Hitherto the difficulty had been that the rents sanctioned by the Board of Health for housing schemes had been at rates which people could not see their way to pay. [Scotsman 4 May 1927]

Improvements - The rapid increase in size and population of this village has often been commented on, and there seem to be no signs of its yet remaining stationary, but very much the opposite. The Lochgelly Iron Company (Limited) have 24 workmen's houses approaching completion at Little Raith Colliery. Part of these houses are built of concrete, and part of brick; both kinds are very convenient and substantial, and well suited for the purpose for which they are intended. One good feature connected with these houses deserves special mention, and that is, the short distance that the occupiers will have to go before reaching a break or "vennel." From the manner in which many miners' houses are built, with no backdoor, and a hundred yards between each opening in the row, it is almost impossible to have cleanliness and order about the doors. The houses at Little Raith are built in blocks of four houses, having wide openings between each block. Mr Halley, of Shiresmill, who has already a number of houses in the village, is erecting 9 new brick houses suitable for workmen. Like those at Raith, Mr Halley's houses contain two good large apartments in each; but instead of a “vennel," they are all provided with a backdoor. The Cowdenbeath Coal Company, in addition to the 24 houses built last season, have commenced to build a lot of superior stone cottages, on the spare piece of ground adjoining those last erected. When the whole of the foregoing houses are finished and occupied, it will augment the population and position of Cowdenbeath very considerably. The county authorities are taking time by the forelock, and are preparing suitable accommodation for another policeman, and also for the safe keeping of offenders against public order. A Town-house and Provost will soon be necessary. [Fife Herald 18 July 1872]