Kirkcaldy

Kirkcaldy (i/kərˈkɔːdi/ kər-KAW-dee; Scots: Kirkcaldy, Scottish Gaelic: Cair Chaladain) is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It is approximately 11.6 miles (19 km) north of Edinburgh and 27.6 miles (44 km) south-southwest of Dundee. The town had an estimated population of 49,560 in 2010, making it the biggest settlement in Fife. Kirkcaldy has long been nicknamed the Lang Toun ( listen; Scots for "long town") in reference to the 0.9-mile (1.4 km) early town's main street, as indicated on maps of the 16th and 17th centuries. The street later reached a length of nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) connecting the burgh to neighbouring settlements of Linktown, Pathhead, Sinclairtown and Gallatown. These settlements would later merge into the town in 1876.

The area around Kirkcaldy has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. However, the first document to refer to the town itself was not until 1075, when Malcolm III granted the settlement to the church of Dunfermline. David I would later give the burgh to the Abbey which had succeeded the church; a status which was officially recognised by Robert I in 1327. The town only gained its independence from Abbey rule, when it was granted a royal burgh by Charles I in 1644.

From the early 16th century, the establishment of a harbour at the East Burn confirmed the town's early role as an important trading port. The town also began to develop around the salt, coal mining and nail making industries. The production of linen which followed in 1672 was later instrumental in the introduction of floorcloth in 1847 by linen manufactuer, Michael Nairn. This in turn, contributed to linoleum in 1877 which became the town’s most successful industry and a world producer until well into the mid-1960s. The town expanded considerably in the 1950s and 1960s, though the decline of the linoleum industry and other manufacturing restricted its growth thereafter.

The town is a major service centre for the central Fife area, home to a swimming pool, theatre, museum and art gallery, three public parks and an ice rink. Kirkcaldy is also known as the birthplace of social philosopher and economist, Adam Smith who wrote his magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations in the town. His legacy has been remembered in the town's theatre and college. In the early twenty-first century employment is dominated by the service sector; the biggest employer in the town is MGt plc (a call centre). Other main employers include NHS Fife, Forbo-flooring (floor coverings), Adam Smith College (education) and R Hutchison Ltd (food).

Read more about Kirkcaldy:  Governance, Geography, Demography, Economy, Culture, Landmarks, Education, Public Services, Transport, Notable Residents

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