Glenrothes facts for kids
Top: Floral display, Alder Lane,Left: River Leven Bridge, Middle top: Hippo sculpture & wild flowers in Riverside Park, Middle bottom: St Columba's Church and Raeburn Heights, Right:: Town centre clock tower, Bottom: War memorial gardens, Ninian Quadrant,
|Area||8 sq mi (21 km2)|
|• Density||4,910/sq mi (1,900/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||32 mi (51 km)|
|• London||444 mi (715 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||KY6, KY7|
Glenrothes (; //, glen-ROTH-iss; Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Ràthais) is a town situated in the heart of Fife, in east-central Scotland. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) from both Edinburgh, which lies to the south and Dundee to the north. The town had a population of 39,277 in 2011 as recorded by the census, making it the third largest settlement in Fife and the 18th most populous settlement in Scotland. The name Glenrothes comes from its historical link with the Earl of Rothes who owned much of the land upon which the new town has been built; "Glen" (Scottish for valley) was added to the name to avoid confusion with Rothes in Moray and in recognition that the town lies in a river valley. The motto of Glenrothes is "Ex terra vis", meaning "Out of the earth, strength", which dates back to the founding of the town.
Planned in the late 1940s as one of Scotland's first post-second world war new towns its original purpose was to house miners who were to work at a newly established coal mine, the Rothes Colliery. Following the failure of the mine the town developed as an important industrial centre in Scotland's Silicon Glen between 1961 and 2000 with several major electronics and hi-tech companies setting up facilities in the town. The Glenrothes Development Corporation (GDC), a non-departmental public body, was established to develop, manage and promote the new town. The GDC supported by the local authority oversaw the governance of Glenrothes until the wind-up of the GDC in 1995, after which all responsibility was transferred to Fife Council.
Glenrothes is the administrative capital of Fife containing both the Fife Council and Police Scotland Fife Division headquarters. Home to Fife's main concentration of specialist manufacturing and engineering companies, several organisations have their global headquarters based in Glenrothes. Public services and service industries are also important to the town's economy. Major employers include Bosch Rexroth (hydraulics manufacturing), Brand Rex (fibre optics manufacturing), Fife College (education) and Raytheon (defence and electronics). Glenrothes is unique in Fife as the majority of the town's centre is contained indoors, within Fife's largest indoor shopping centre, the Kingdom Shopping Centre.
The town has won multiple horticultural awards in the "Beautiful Scotland" and "Britain in Bloom" contests for the quality of its parks and landscaping. It has numerous outdoor sculptures and artworks, a result of the appointment of town artists in the early development of the town. Public facilities include a regional sports and leisure centre, two golf courses, major parks, a civic centre and theatre and a college campus. The A92 trunk road provides the principal access to the town passing through Glenrothes and connecting it to the wider Scottish motorway and trunk road network. A major bus station is located in the town centre providing regional and local bus services to surrounding settlements.
The name Rothes comes from the association with the north-east Scotland Earl of Rothes, family name Leslie. The Leslie family historically owned much of the land upon which Glenrothes has been built and their family name gave the adjacent village of Leslie its name. Glen (from the Scottish Gaelic word 'gleann' meaning valley) was added to prevent confusion with Rothes in Moray and to reflect the location of the town within the Leven valley.
The different areas (precincts) of Glenrothes have been named after the hamlets already established (e.g. Cadham, Woodside), the farms which once occupied the land (e.g. Caskieberran, Collydean, Rimbleton) or historical country houses in the area (e.g. Balbirnie, Balgeddie, Leslie Parks).
Glenrothes new town
Glenrothes was designated in 1948 under the New Towns Act 1946 as Scotland's second post-war new town. The planning, development, management and promotion of the new town was the responsibility of the Glenrothes Development Corporation (GDC), a quango appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland. The corporation board consisted of eight members including a chairman and deputy chairman. The first meeting of the GDC was in Auchmuty House, provided by Tullis Russell on 20 June 1949.
The original plan was to build a new settlement for a population of 32,000 to 35,000 people. The land which Glenrothes now occupies was largely agricultural and once contained a number of small rural communities and the hamlets of Cadham and Woodside which were established to house workers at local paper mills. Originally proposals for the new town would have centred it on Markinch; however the village's infrastructure was deemed unable to withstand the substantial growth required to realise a new town and there was considerable local opposition to the proposal. Leslie and Thornton were also considered as possible locations, again meeting local opposition, and eventually an area of 5,320 acres (2,153 ha) between all of these villages was zoned for the new town's development. Much of the historical Aytoun, Balfour, Balgonie and Rothes estates were included in Glenrothes' assigned area along with the historical country houses Balbirnie House, Balgeddie House and Leslie House.
Unlike the other post-war Scottish new towns; Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Irvine or Livingston, Glenrothes was not originally to be a Glasgow overspill new town, although it did later take this role. It was however populated in the early 1950s, in part, by families moving from the declining coalfield areas of Scotland.
The case for developing the new town was partially driven by a national energy strategy created by the British Government following the Second World War. The concept was further advanced in a report produced in 1946 by Sir Frank Mears to the Central and South-East Scotland Planning Committee. This made the case for a new town in the Leslie-Markinch area to support growth in the coal mining industry in Fife.
Prior to the development of Glenrothes the main industries in the area were papermaking, coal mining and farming. Tullis Russell was the largest paper manufacturer in the area and operated from its site for over 200 years. Other paper manufacturers established operations at the Fettykil and Prinlaws Mills at Leslie to the west of the town, and Dixons Mill at Markinch in the east. The location of the mills was strategic to capitalise on the natural energy provided by the River Leven.
The Rothes Colliery, the new coal mine associated with the town's development, was built on land to the west of Thornton, an established village south of Glenrothes. The mine which was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957 was promoted as being a key driver in the economic regeneration of central Fife. However, un-stemmable flooding and geological problems in the area combined with a lessening demand for coal nationally had a significant impact on the viability of the mine which resulted in its eventual closure in 1965. Ironically, miners who had worked in older deep pits in the area had fore-warned against the development of the Rothes Pit for this very reason.
The Cadco Scandal
On 28th May 1963 Cadco Development Ltd held a press conference in Edinburgh to announce that they were bringing 2,000 jobs to Glenrothes. They were going to take three factories on the Queensway Industrial Estate and open pig breeding units at Whitehill as well as develop a supermarket in the town centre.
The film star George Sanders was a company director at Cadco. The Company's board members included Sanders’ wife Benita Hume alongside Denis Loraine and Tom Roe. Denis Loraine soon persuaded the Glenrothes Development Corporation that the construction work should be carried out by Cadco’s own building company, who had opened a depot in nearby Kirkcaldy.
By May 1964 Cadco were confident that their factories would soon start production but by October all work had stopped because the Cadco Building Company had not paid its sub-contractors and suppliers. It turned out that the money the development corporation had paid to Cadco for building work had been used instead to help the failing Brighton based Royal Victoria Sausages Company.
As the hoped for jobs evaporated, the development corporation, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the board of trade all had to explain how they been taken in by Denis Loraine and Cadco. Despite this the Glenrothes Development Corporation were able to attract other industries to take over the empty factory units left by Cadco.
The coal mine's closure almost halted further development of Glenrothes, however shortly following the closure Central Government changed the town's role by appointing it as an economic focal point for Central Scotland as part of a Regional Plan for economic growth and development. The Glenrothes Development Corporation were able to use this status to attract a plethora of light industries and modern electronics factories to the town as a consequence. The first big overseas electronic investor was Beckmans Instruments in 1959 followed by Hughes Industries in the early 1960s. A number of other important companies followed establishing Glenrothes as a major industrial hub in Scotland's Silicon Glen. During the middle of the 1970s, the town also became the headquarters of Fife Regional Council, making it the administrative centre of Fife, taking over the role from Cupar.
Major industrial estates were developed to the south of Glenrothes, largely due to the proximity to the proposed East Fife Regional Road (A92) which was developed in 1989 giving dual carriageway access to the main central Scotland road network. The Silicon Glen era peaked in the 1990s with Canon developing their first UK manufacturing plant at Westwood Park in Glenrothes in 1992. ADC Telecommunications, a major American electronics company, established a base at Bankhead in early 2000 with the promise of a substantial number of jobs. Around the start of the 21st century, a decline in major electronics manufacturing in Scotland impacted on the town's economy and as a result the industrial base of the town was forced to diversify for the second time in its short history. In 2004 both ADC and Canon had closed their Glenrothes operations with the promised jobs growth never materialising to any substantial level. This was due to the electronics industrial sector in Glenrothes and most of central Scotland being dependent upon an inward investment strategy that led to almost 43% of employment in foreign-owned plants which were susceptible to changes in global economic markets.
Post-Glenrothes Development Corporation
Despite the set backs by 1995 the GDC had left a lasting legacy on the town by overseeing the development of over 15,000 houses, 5,174,125 square feet (480,692 m2) of industrial floorspace, 735,476 square feet (68,328 m2) of office floorspace and 576,977 square feet (53,603 m2) of shopping floorspace. Since the winding up of the GDC Glenrothes continues to serve as Fife's principal administrative centre and serves a wider sub-regional area as a major centre for services and employment.
In 2008 Canadian artist and researcher Sylvia Grace Borda chose to holiday for a week in Glenrothes to explore, as was perceived, "an area considered by many Scots as uninteresting and unworthy of documentation". She was curious to explore the town as if she were a late-1960s photographer of common places following on from a similar study of East Kilbride new town. The outcome was the production of a series of images which the artist believes contradict how some Scots would 'see' Glenrothes, and reinforce the observation that it often takes a visitor to see what others take for granted. The work sought to position itself so the everyday environment can cause the viewer pause and to regard the commonplace as extraordinary.
Glenrothes gained national publicity in 2009 by winning a Carbuncle Award following an unofficial contest operated by Urban Realm and Carnyx Group which was set up to criticise the quality of built environments in Scotland. The judges of the contest awarded Glenrothes the category of the most dismal place in Scotland for its "depressed and investment starved town centre". This generated mixed views from locals and built environment professions alike.
By contrast in 2010 the town won awards for being the "Best Kept Large Town" and the most "Clean, sustainable and beautiful community" in Scotland in the Beautiful Scotland competition and was the winner in the "large town" category in the 2011 Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom competition. The town continued its horticultural success by achieving further Gold awards in the 2013 and 2014 UK finals.
In 2011 Historic Scotland completed an assessment of the town art in Glenrothes, ultimately awarding listed status to a number of artworks scattered throughout the town. The organisation also gave positive recognition to Glenrothes' significant role in helping to create the idea of art being a key factor in creating a sense of place.
Glenrothes' place and importance in the history and development of Scotland has been enshrined in the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which was unveiled in 2013 in the Scottish Parliament. The Glenrothes panel shows various pieces of the town's public artworks, along with visual references to its important industrial heritage associated originally with coal mining and later as a major centre for "Silicon Glen" industries.
Glenrothes lies in mid-Fife between the agricultural "Howe of Fife" in the north and east and Fife's industrial heartland in the south and west. The neighbouring settlements are Coaltown of Balgonie, Leslie, Markinch and Thornton. The boundaries of the town are virtually indistinguishable between its neighbouring small towns and villages forming a contiguous urban area. The villages of Kinglassie, Milton of Balgonie and Star of Markinch are located slightly further away and are physically separated from Glenrothes by farmland. Kirkcaldy, a traditional industrial centre is the next nearest large town and lies approximately 7 miles (11 km) to the south of the town. Glenrothes is also located equidistant from two of Fife's other principal settlements, Dunfermline and St Andrews, at 19 miles (31 km) and 21 miles (34 km) away. Two of Scotland's major cities, Edinburgh and Dundee, are located almost equidistantly from Glenrothes at 32 miles (51 km) and 27 miles (43 km) away, respectively. The smaller Scottish city of Perth is located 23 miles (37 km) to the northwest.
The northern parts of the settlement lie upland on the southern fringes of the Lomond Hills Regional Park. The central parts of the town extend between the southern edge of the River Leven valley; a substantial green space which passes east west through the town, and the Warout Ridge. Southern parts of Glenrothes are largely industrial and are situated on land which gently slopes south towards the Lochty Burn and the village of Thornton. The height above mean sea level at the town centre is 300 feet (91 m). Temperatures in Glenrothes, like the rest of Scotland, are relatively moderate given its northern latitude. Fife is a peninsula, located between the Firth of Tay in the north, the Firth of Forth in the south and the North Sea in the east. Summers are relatively cool and the warming of the water over the summer results in warm winters. Average annual temperatures in Glenrothes range from a maximum of 18 °C (64 °F) to a minimum of 9 °C (48 °F).
A linked network of semi-natural landscape areas throughout the town allow for a mix of biodiversity with different flora and fauna and wildlife habitats. Areas of ancient woodland are found in Riverside Park and Balbirnie Park, both of which are also designated historic gardens and designed landscapes. Balbirnie Park is renowned for having a large collection of rhododendron species. Protected wildlife species found in the Glenrothes area include red squirrels,water voles and various types of bats. Landscape areas also act as natural drainage systems, reducing the likelihood of flooding in the built up areas of the town, with rainwater flows channelled to the River Leven, or to the Lochty Burn. Landscape planning has also ensured that Glenrothes' road network, with particular focuses on the town's many roundabouts, provides green networks throughout the town.
Built environment and urban form
Careful consideration was given to the form and infrastructure of the town, focusing on the creation of individual suburban type neighbourhoods (precincts), each with their own architectural identity. Engineers, planners, builders and architects were tasked with creating not only good quality mass-produced housing but green spaces, tree planting, wildlife corridors and soft and hard landscaping. This was seen as an equally important part of the process, helping to provide a sense of place and connection to the land that a New Town was felt to need in order to become a successful place where people would want to live and raise children. Separating industry as far as possible from housing areas in planned industrial estates was a key element of early plans. This was at the time seen as an important change from the "chaotic", congested and polluted industrial towns and cities of the previous centuries where cramped unsanitary housing and dirty industries were built in close proximity to one another. The vision for Glenrothes was to provide a clean, healthy and safe environment for the town's residents.
The settlement has been purposely planned using a series of masterplans. Development of Glenrothes started in Woodside in the east and progressed westwards. The first town masterplan was implemented as far as South Parks and Rimbleton housing precincts. Early residential precincts were based on Ebenezer Howard's Garden City philosophy, using relatively tried and tested principles of town planning and architecture which is reflected in their housing styles and layouts. The first town masterplan sub-divided the town's designated area into self-contained residential precincts with their own primary schools, local shops and community facilities.
A second town masterplan was developed in the late 1960s following Glenrothes' change of role and was to accommodate an increased population target of 50,000-70,000. New areas of land in the north and south of the designated area were brought into production for new development. The road network was upgraded to deal with projected increases in car ownership and new housing estates were developed to the west, then to the south and finally to the north of the designated area.
The housing precincts of the 1960s and 1970s, developed under the second masterplan, departed slightly from the garden city ideals instead adopting Radburn principles; separating as far as practical footpaths from roads. The housing precincts were designed to better accommodate increases in car ownership which increased significantly from the 1960s onwards. The townscape changed in this period with a mixture of higher densities, more contemporary architectural styles and new development layouts. Terraced housing and flats were predominantly developed with the fronts of houses designed to face onto public footpaths and open spaces. Car parking was kept either to the rear of properties or in parking bays located nearby in efforts to reduce the likelihood of road accidents occurring. Housing precincts from the 1980s onwards were largely developed by the private sector with the majority of this housing developed in low density suburban cul-de-sacs. Landscaping around the town included the blending of housing into the northern hillside through the use of structural planting and tree belts.
The Glenrothes area's geology is predominantly made up by glacial deposits with the subsoil largely consisting of boulder clay with a band of sand and gravel in the area to the north of the River Leven. The river valley largely comprises alluvium deposits and there are also igneous intrusions of olivine dolerite throughout the area. Productive coal measures were largely recorded in the southern parts of Glenrothes, approximately south of the line of the B921 Kinglassie road. These coal measures form part of the East Fife coalfield and prior to 1962 the deposits there were to be worked by the Rothes Colliery, until it was found that there were severe issues with water penetration and subsequent flooding. Smaller limestone coal outcrops that had been historically worked were recorded around the Balbirnie and Cadham/Balfarg areas with the land that is now Gilvenbank Park found particularly to be heavily undermined.
In 1950 the population in the Glenrothes designated area was approximately 1,000 people who were located in the hamlets of Woodside and Cadham and in the numerous farm steadings that were spread throughout the area. Population growth in the early phases of the town was described as being slow due to the dependence on the growth of work places at the Rothes Colliery. In 1960 the town population was shown to have increased to 12,499 people rising to 28,098 by 1969. The town experienced its greatest levels of population growth between 1964 and 1969 with an average inward migration level of 1,900 persons per annum. In 1981 Glenrothes' population was estimated to have risen to 35,000 and at the time the GDC was disbanded in 1995 it was estimated that the town's population stood at just over 40,000 people.
|Glenrothes compared according to UK Census 2011|
|Percentage Scottish identity only||68.5%||63.8%||62.4%|
|Over 75 years old||6.8%||7.9%||7.7%|
The 2001 census recorded the population of Glenrothes at 38,679 representing 11% of Fife's total population. The 2011 census recorded a 1.5% population rise to 39,277. The total population in the wider Glenrothes area was estimated at 50,701 based on 2013 mid-year estimates from the National Records of Scotland. The number of households in Glenrothes in 2011 was recorded at 16,910; 64.5% of which were owned. The age groups from 30-44 year olds (20.2%) and 45-59 year olds (21.3%) form the largest portion of the population. 16-29 year olds made up 16.6% of the town's population.
The working age population of the town in 2011 was 29,079 as recorded by the census. The percentage of population economically active in Glenrothes was recorded at 68.2% in 2011. The number of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants at December 2016 in the Glenrothes area was 458 representing a 1.3% rate. Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) figures indicate that Auchmuty, Cadham, Collydean, Macedonia and Tanshall areas in Glenrothes fall within the 20% most deprived communities category in Scotland.
Culture and community
In 1968 Glenrothes was the first town in the UK to appoint a town artist. This is now recognised as playing a significant role, both in a Scottish and in an international context, in helping to create the idea of art being a key factor in creating a sense of place. Two town artists, David Harding (1968–78) and Malcolm Robertson (1978–91), were employed in the lifetime of the GDC. Both artists, supported by a number of assistants, created a large variety of artworks and sculptures that are scattered throughout the town. Other artists have also contributed to the creation of the town's artworks. The first sculpture erected in Glenrothes was "Ex Terra", created by Benno Schotz. "The Good Samaritan" sculpture in Riverside Park was produced by Edinburgh-based sculptor, Ronald Rae, who was commissioned by the GDC to produce a piece of art work in celebration of the town's 40th anniversary in 1988.
The town has won numerous awards locally and nationally for the quality of its landscaping; something that is promoted by the "Take a Pride in Glenrothes" (TAPIG) group. The Glenrothes Development Corporation devoted around one third of land in Glenrothes to the provision of open space. As a consequence the town has numerous parks, the largest being Balbirnie Park, Carleton Park, Gilvenbank Park, Riverside Park, and Warout Park. The Lomond Hills Regional Park borders and enters the town to the north and east.
The Rothes Halls complex is the town's main theatre, exhibition, conference and civic centre venue. The town's main library and a cafe also form part of the complex. When the new town of Glenrothes began construction, a number of small venues served the community for entertainment purposes. However, despite frequent requests from the community, no plan for a larger-scale theatre or community hall made it past the planning stages. By the 1970s, calls from the community and District Council for an entertainment venue increased. In 1972, a working party was formed to investigate potential sites and designs for such a building; designs for a town centre complex were agreed upon, but financial constraints meant they were not followed through. In 1983, proposals were put forward for what would become Rothes Halls. Again, financial constraints delayed construction, but in 1993 the building was finally constructed, offering state-of-the-art facilities and some of the biggest, most flexible theatre spaces available in Fife. The Rothes Halls was officially opened by actor and director Richard Wilson on 30 November 1993. Since then, Rothes Halls has played host to a vast range of local, national and international shows; popular music and entertainment acts, and amateur societies have all performed there.
The Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre established a permanent base in November 2013 following a series of successful temporary exhibitions held previously in the town centre. The heritage centre is run by local volunteers and operates from a shop unit in the Kingdom Shopping Centre. It focuses on the history of the Glenrothes area from a period between the early 19th century to the late 20th century.
Glenrothes Hospital is a community hospital located in the Forresters Lodge area to the northwest of the town centre. Opened in October 1981 the hospital has over 80 nursing staff and over 60 beds, as well as around 20 day hospital beds. Glenrothes Hospital provides a wide range of services including; speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietetics, district nurses, health visitors, podiatry, hospital pharmacy and x-ray services. There is, however, no accident and emergency service within this hospital.
A war memorial was constructed in Glenrothes in 2007 following the deaths of two local Black Watch soldiers in Iraq. Prior to this Glenrothes was in the unusual position of not being able to host its own Remembrance Sunday commemorations. Unlike traditional memorials, the Glenrothes war memorial consists of two interlinking rings of standing stones.
There are a number of social clubs and organisations operating within Glenrothes which contribute to the cultural and community offerings of the town. These include an art club, various youth clubs, a floral art club, amateur theatre groups, a choral society and a variety of sports clubs. Glenrothes hosts an annual gala which is held at Warout Park and has a variety of family activities including a dog show, highland dancing and a travelling funfair with stalls. Summer and winter festivals were held in Riverside Park in 2012. The summer festival included sporting events along with arts and crafts, food stalls and fairground shows. The winter festival coincided with bonfire night celebrations and included the town's annual fireworks display which was previously held at Warout Park. Markinch and Thornton each host an annual Highland Games and the other surrounding villages host their own annual gala days and festivals.
The town has a large variety of established sports facilities including two 18-hole golf courses (Glenrothes and Balbirnie), a football stadium at Warout and a major sports complex, the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre. The new centre was named after the late SNP Councillor Michael Woods in a controversial decision taken by the Glenrothes Area Committee in 2012. The sports centre was recognised for its architectural quality in the 2014 Scottish Property Awards, coming second place in the Architectural Excellence Award for Public Buildings.
The local football club is the Glenrothes F.C., a junior side who play at Warout Park. Glenrothes also has a rugby club based at Carleton Park and a cricket club who play at Riverside Park. The Road Running Festival in Glenrothes is the largest annual sporting event in the town with over 1500 people of all ages and levels of fitness taking part and has been held annually since 1983. The town is also an established destination in hosting the BDO British International Championships for darts which are held annually at the town's CISWO club.
Glenrothes has a twin-town link with Böblingen, a city in Baden-Württemberg in Germany since 1971. As early as 1962 a local councillor had suggested that the town might "twin" with a town on the Continent. Some years later a friendship grew up between teachers at Glenrothes High School and the 'Gymnasium' in Böblingen which eventually led to the twinning of the towns. Since then there have been a number of exchanges on official, club and personal levels.
Famous people associated with the town include the actor Dougray Scott who grew up in Glenrothes and attended Auchmuty High School. Douglas Mason, known as one of the engineers of the "Thatcher revolution" and the "father of the poll tax" set up home in Glenrothes in the 1960s and spent most of his adult life living there. Henry McLeish, the former First Minister of Scotland lived in Glenrothes, having been brought up in nearby Kennoway. Glenrothes town centre is home to the building involved in the notorious Officegate scandal, which ultimately led to McLeish's resignation as First Minister in 2001. Tricia Marwick, the first female Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament served as MSP for Glenrothes.
The most prominent landmarks in Glenrothes are the River Leven Bridge, the Tullis Russell factory chimneys, Raeburn Heights; a residential tower block and Fife House; an office block, both of which sit at the western corners of the town centre. The River Leven Bridge, which spans Riverside Park and carries the town's Western Distributor Road, is a cable-stayed bridge that was completed in 1995. The bridge was designed by Dundee-based Nicoll Russell Studios, Architects and was commissioned by the Glenrothes Development Corporation (GDC) as a landmark creating a gateway into Riverside Park that could be seen from further afield. The bridge was constructed by Balfour Beatty Construction (Scotland) and it was the first reinforced-concrete cable-stayed structure ever built in the UK.
A number of Glenrothes' artworks and sculptures act as landmarks at major gateways into the town, such as the "Giant Irises" at Leslie Roundabout, and the Glenrothes "Gateway Totum" at Bankhead Roundabout. Former town artist Malcolm Robertson produced the "Giant Irises" sculpture as Glenrothes' contribution to the Glasgow Garden Festival. The sculpture was the winner of the John Brown Clydebank award for the "Most Original and Amusing Artifact" and following the festival, it was re-erected at Leslie Roundabout. A number of other sculptures were relocated in 2011 to more visually prominent locations around the town creating new landmarks. Four pieces of Glenrothes artworks have been awarded listed status by Historic Scotland. "Ex Terra" has been listed at Category B and the "The Birds", "The Henge" and "Work" (or Industry, Past and Present) at Category C. Historic Scotland has also produced a website, a video and an information brochure dedicated to the Glenrothes town art.
Glenrothes is home to the remains of ancient stone circles which can be seen at Balbirnie and Balfarg in the northeast of the town. The Balfarg henge was constructed around 3,000BC and contains the remnants of a stone circle which has been partly reconstructed. The henge was excavated between 1977 and 1978 prior to the development of a new housing estate. The Balbirnie henge which is only located approximately 500m away from Balfarg was excavated between 1970 and 1971. In order to allow widening of the A92 the stones were moved a short distance to a new location at North Lodge and reconstructed as nearly as possible in the original way. The stone circle has been carbon dated as being from the bronze age. It is thought that the Balbrinie stone circle and the Balfarg circle once formed part of a larger ceremonial complex.
There are a number of former stately homes located in Glenrothes. Balbirnie House, the category-A listed Georgian former home of the Balfour family, was bought along with its grounds in 1969 by the GDC from the Balfour family to be developed as Balbirnie Park and golf course. The house was later occupied and restored by the GDC in 1981, to stop the property falling into disrepair. This led to potential interest and the house was converted into a four-star hotel in 1989. The B-listed former stable block of the house was converted into a craft centre. Balgeddie House, a C-Listed former Edwardian residence of Sir Robert Spencer Nairn located in the northwest of the town, has also been converted into a high quality hotel. Leslie House, the category-A listed 17th century former home of the Leslie family, became a care home for the elderly in 1945; owned by the Church of Scotland. The building was in the process of being renovated, when the interior and roof of the house were destroyed by a fire in February 2009. This has put the redevelopment on hold. Much of the former grounds of Leslie House have been used to create Riverside Park. Collydean precinct hosts a ruin of a 17th-century house called Pitcairn House which was built for and first occupied by Archibald Pitcairne famous Scottish physician.
The town is also home to a number of churches which act as important landmarks as a result of their unique architectural styles and sometimes their locations at key road junctions. The three earliest churches are now listed buildings. These are St. Margaret's Church in Woodside (category C listed), St. Paul's RC Church in Auchmuty (category A listed), and St. Columba's Church on Church Street (category A listed) in the town centre. St. Paul's RC was designed by architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. In 1993 it was listed as one of sixty key monuments of post-war architecture by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo. The church sits at a junction between two main distributor roads. St Columba's Church, designed by architects Wheeler & Sproson, underwent significant restoration in 2009. Internally the church contains a large mural created by Alberto Morrocco titled 'The Way of the Cross', which was completed in 1962. Externally the church with its distinctive triangular iron bell tower and Mondrian inspired stain glass windows acts as a landmark at the south-western gateway to the town centre.
One other local landmark of worthy mention is Balgonie Castle, located east of Glenrothes on the south bank of the River Leven near Milton of Balgonie and Coaltown of Balgonie. The castle keep dates from the 14th century, and the remaining structures were added piecemeal until the 18th century. The keep has been recently restored, although other parts of the castle are roofless ruins. The castle was awarded category A listing in 1972 by Historic Scotland.
Glenrothes has a planned road network with original masterplans establishing the principle that "through traffic" be bypassed around the housing precincts by a network of "Freeway" and "Highway" distributor roads. These would connect each precinct to the purposely designed town centre and to the industrial estates. Another element that was adopted was the use of roundabouts at junctions instead of traffic lights which would allow traffic to flow freely.
The town has direct dual-carriageway access to the M90 via the A92 Trunk Road. The A92 passes north/south through the town and connects Glenrothes with Dundee in the north and Dunfermline in the southwest where it merges with the M90. This gives Glenrothes a continuous dual-carriageway link to Edinburgh and the major central Scotland road networks, whilst much of the route north to Dundee remains a single-carriageway. Local campaigners have for a number of years sought the upgrade of the A92 north of Glenrothes. The A911 road passes east/west through the town and connects it with Levenmouth in the east and Milnathort and the M90 in the west. The B921 Kinglassie Road, described in early masterplans as the Southern Freeway, links Glenrothes to the former mining communities of Cardenden and Kinglassie, and to Westfield. The route is a dual carriageway between Bankhead Roundabout and as far west as Fife Airport. Early masterplans show that this route was originally intended to be upgraded to provide dualled connections to the A92 Chapel junction in Kirkcaldy, however this has never been implemented.
The town has a major bus station in the town centre providing frequent links to the cities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth as well as to surrounding towns and villages. Two railway stations on the edge of the main town serve the Glenrothes area - Glenrothes with Thornton railway station and Markinch railway station. Glenrothes is home to an airfield, Fife Airport (ICAO code EGPJ), which is used for general aviation with private light aircraft. Edinburgh Airport is the nearest international airport to Glenrothes, Dundee Airport operates daily flights to London, Birmingham and Belfast.
A purposely designed pedestrian and cycle system was also created using a network of ring and radial routes throughout the town. This includes a near three mile continuous linear cycle path, called Boblingen Way, which extends across the length of Glenrothes, from Leslie in the west, to Woodside in the east. Glenrothes is connected to the National Cycle Network via Route 766 which runs north from Kirkcaldy to north of Glenrothes, linking to the wider network via Route 76 and Route 1.
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