Links Market

Kirkcaldy Links Market

April each year

Take a walk along the esplanade for what’s reputedly the longest street fair in Europe! A great fun family event.

The Links Market unofficial facebook page

Looking through old newspapers I found this great advert on the front page of the Fife Herald-Kinross, Strathearn and Clackmannan Advertiser from April 12 1832. Could they possibly do that today?

The Board of Health in Linktown of Abbotshall, hereby intimate, that persons from a distance wishing to attend the Links' Market on the 20th curt, will be required to produce a Bill of Health before they are permitted to enter the town. Pedlars without licences, Vagrants, and idle persons of every description, are strictly prohibited, and if any such are found in the town, they will be prosecuted as law directs.
April 9, 1832.

The present day market bears no resemblance to the market of yesteryear, a brief history of the Links Market is provided for visitors to The Fife Post site.

The History of the Markets of the Royal Burgh of Kirkcaldy is bound up in a manner peculiar to the Burgh and its extensions.

In 1304 a weekly market was established and a year later the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline informed Edward I that Kirkcaldy was one of the most ancient Burghs in Scotland, and a yearly market was granted at the Octaves in Easter.

At that period it is stated that ” the area of Kirkcaldy Market was from John Lowdon’s Wynd to East Bridge; Linktown Market on Links Street from Kirkcaldy boundary to Bridgeton; and Pathhead Market on Mid Street”, all of which were then confined to sellers and traders to the three areas mentioned.

Royal Charter of Confirmation for Kirkcaldy Markets was granted on 5th February, 1644. Power was granted to hold a Market Cross and weekly Market every Saturday, with four FREE Fairs or Markets annually in all time to come, viz., one on 17th day of March, calle St.Patricks’s Day; one on 16th day of May, called Lie St. Brandon’s Day; one on 18th day of July, called Lie Mary Magdalen’s Day; and one on 20th September, called Lie St. Matthew’s Day; every Market to last for two days.

The right of holding two markets was confirmed by Parliamenyt to Sir Andrew Ramsay in 1672, April and October annually. Customs were collected by the Ramsays as proprietors of the Barony.

On 3rd September 1850 the commissioners fixed Market charges at – large caravans 1/6d (71/2p), small caravans 1/- (5p), and stands from 3d to 1/-(around 1 1/2p to 5p), according to size. Stalls were at the widest part of the street and large caravans were sent to Sands Brae. This was the first time that the Market was no longer confined to Links Street alone. Dates of the Markets were the Third Fridays of April and October. Regulations for Links Market of 1877 fixed the site of the Market as Links Street between Bell Wynd and Watery Wynd; and Sands Road (now Esplanade) between Bell Wynd and Pottery Wynd. (Town Council Minutes 5th March 1877)

In 1903 Tramways were established in Links Street and the whole of the Trader’s Market was removed from that street and added to the Amusement Market and caravan sites established on Sands Road (Esplanade).

The Market has steadily grown in area, and instead of having the various Markets mentioned, the Links Market now extends over a considerable portion of the area that was once occupied by Kirkcaldy markets and a greatly extended area of the Links.

The Promenade is also used for the parking of the living vans and power wagons

The thousands of patrons who now attend the Links Market come from all parts of Britain and overseas visitors also attend.

It would not be unreasonable to say that the existing Market has been built up from the original Kirkcaldy and Links Markets, which, records state, were established in 1304, and that is now the largest Street Market and one of the best equipped markets in Britain. It is the established start of the season rendezvous for the touring showmen in Scotland.

Showmen’s families have attended for generations, and it is the policy of the Council to give preference to the old tenants.

Each year the opening ceremony of the Market takes place before a large crowd of citizens and the platform party formerly consisted of the Provost of Kirkcaldy, Magistrates and Councillors, Town Officials, and prominent members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, that was prior to local government reorganisation in 1975. From then until March, 1996 the ceremony was performed by the Provost of Kirkcaldy District Council and now by the Fife Council Convener and then back to the Provost nowadays.

A families day out at The Links Market in 2024.
Many thanks to Karen Speed and her family for permission to use photographs.

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