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Leading the Way in Arts and Crafts in the Glenrothes Area
Caledonia House

Glenrothes Art Club is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No: SC 049835 - Leading the Way in Amateur Arts & Crafts in the greater Glenrothes area. Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are Copyright Ian Sloan Photography.

A History of Glenrothes Art Club 1955 - 2020

We need more information about the 65 years of work of the Club, please contact us if you can add any information for our History page.


The 21st Century




Glenrothes Art Club is moving into a new age. After some 60 years in Cottar House in Alburne Park, the Club has opened much larger, brighter, more modern, better located facilities in Caledonia House, Saltire Centre. Taking up the wing of the building above Glenrothes Foodbank, the Art Club now has the space to grow and develop for the 21st century. All normal activities have restarted, and always on the look-out for new members, an exciting and stimulating programme is being developed.

There is already a special reduced membership rate for 16 and 17 year olds, while the adult annual membership currently is equivalent to just over £1 per week. With Glenrothes Art Club moving to modern-day premises, it is now possible to start children and teenager groups.

2019 –

Extract from President’s Report:

2019 marks endings and new beginnings.    

This move has given us a much larger area to work in, lots of natural daylight and more comfortable surroundings.  It is a time for change

In time this will enable the Club to expand, open new groups, classes and workshops

We have even created a Gallery Space which we are calling ‘The Wee Gallery’ Here we can have different exhibitions throughout the year. Members can hire the space and hold their own exhibitions.

The possibilities for expanding the activities of the Club are endless.

We hope to eventually have the Club open 3 sessions a day for at least 5 days a week, making this a busy and exciting Arts Centre.

Classes for children and teenagers are planned.  A program of classes and workshops is being planned for the autumn and a brochure will be printed.

Financially the Club is secure for many years to come. The Treasurer and I are in the middle off setting up a reserve account for the bulk of the money from the sale.    A Large part of this money will be put in an interest account to secure the future of the rent for the club in years to come.

One member told me that in the Cottar House all she seemed to be involved with was fundraising to pay for repairs etc. to the building.  Now we have the chance to generate income which can go back into providing art and craft opportunities as well as equipment. When we begin to generate income, the position will become even stronger.

In addition to this we have been gifted an amazing amount of furniture from Scottish Power Energy Networks, saving us several thousand pounds.  Originally the Committee had agreed to set aside an amount of monies to furnish the new premises.  This money is now free for other essential set up costs.   We will have a computer installed giving internet access not only to the committee but to the membership.   For the first time in our history we also intend to have a telephone installed. Welcome to the 21st century.

It has been a very busy year for the Committee, and they have worked extremely hard from the moment we were gifted equipment from the Beehive Art Centre in Buckhaven when it closed.  Personally, I feel that it has been a privilege to work with this committee and I give my sincere thanks to them for all their support, work and commitment.

This is an exciting time for the Club with a bright future ahead of us.   The Glenrothes Art Club now could become an even greater focus for arts and crafts in the Glenrothes Area. 


2018 –

Later in the year Workshops and classes were arranged.

This year ends with the opening of the 2018 exhibition   It must be said that although the Exhibitions are not as successful as they once were in terms of sales, we continue to sell paintings from the former Pound Stretcher shop on a regular basis.

In December we had another successful Dinner at the Lomond Centre and held a buffet in January.  It was generally agreed that it was good to start the year with a get together for the buffet.

A rather pleasant surprise came in February.   Sadly, the Beehive Centre in Buckhaven is closing, and they offered Glenrothes Art Club a selection of furniture and equipment on a long-term loan.   These include small tables, chairs, trestle tables, display boards, glass display cabinets, acrylic coffee tables, easels and more.   This will save us hundreds of pounds when it comes to furnishing new premises.


2017 -

Special General Meeting on 15th January decides that

“The Membership of Glenrothes Art Club agree to authorise the Trustees of the Club to complete the sale of the Cottar House Studios and Clubrooms, with the attached land for an appropriate sale price, based on market valuation.

The Membership of Glenrothes Art Club agree to authorise the Trustees of the Club to proceed to secure an appropriate lease in terms of cost and period of time on part of Caledonia House or on other suitable premises in a central location in Glenrothes.”

Planning Permission in Principle agreed by Fife Council Central Fife Planning Committee on 19th January

Cottar House put on sale through Shepherd & Co. Commercial Estate Agents

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President – vacant; Treasurer , Helen Dick; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Committee,  Karen Crombie; Carol Wardlaw.

We began with a Bookbinding Workshop in February, the “Love to Create” Project with Glenrothes Camera Club in May, promoting the Club at Markinch Fayre in July, our Annual Exhibition in August in the Rothes Halls, “Doors Open Day” in September and our Christmas Dinner in the Lomond Centre and Buffet in the Club in December.

We agreed to take on a shop in the Kingdom Centre for 3 months from October to December.   After a few delays we opened the former Poundland shop in the Kingdom Centre as the “Glenrothes Arts Centre”.  A grant of £5000.00 had been received from the Fife Council Area Budget and £200 from Kingdom Kids. With a contribution from the Club funds we planned classes to take place throughout October and November and ending with a Charity Shop for the last 2 weeks, bringing in much needed funds.

With the estimate of about 500 individuals taking part in the classes it was a great success.  During the school holiday we provided classes for 7 – 11 year olds and also for teenagers.  Again, these proved successful.    

The result has been a number of new members to the club.

Awareness Raising stalls taken at Fife Flying Club Open Day at Fife Airport and at Markinch Summer Fayre in July.

The Exhibition Opening in August 2017 was felt to be one of the most successful we had had in many years. 

At the end of the 2017 we felt we had to cancel the 2-week Pop-up Shop due to unforeseen circumstances.   However, the craft Group stepped in and sold crafts over 5 days.  They brought in about £498 to the club.   Well done to all who were involved.


2016 -

Roof repaired after leak damages upstairs rooms

Wednesday evening Tutor-led class continues with great success

Life Drawing Class takes place

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President – vacant; Treasurer , Helen Dick; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Committee,  Karen Crombie; Carol Wardlaw Carol McClements

Website updated with "widgets".

Kingdom Kids Charity funds an Arts Activity for young people run by the Art Club

Classes on Introduction to Watercolours; Still Life

Club takes a successful Awareness Raising stall at Markinch Summer Fayre

Cottar House again featured in the European Doors Open Day event

An application is made to Fife Council for Planning Permission in Principle to demolish Cottar House and erection of up to 3 homes on the site. 

Glenrothes Arts Centre opens from September to December with a major series of workshops for the public, drop-ins and a Charity Shop raising funds for the Club in the former "Poundstretcher" shop in Lyon Square. Lilian Sloan succeeds in £5,000 application to Glenrothes Area Committee, Fife Council to fund the programme and costs.

Excellent Christmas Dinner in Lomond Centre and Christmas Buffet in Cottar House


2015 -


Big Lottery Fund awards a grant of £10,000 for "Celebrating 60 Years of Art in the Community"

February - "Art 4 U" Teenage Group started with a grant of £3,700 from Glenrothes Area Committee, Fife Council led by Billy Caulfield and Helen Dick

March - Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President – vacant; Treasurer , Helen Dick; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Committee, Maureen McInnes; Daria Swales; Karen Crombie; Carol Wardlaw.

April - Civic Reception with Provost Jim Leishman, MBE in Fife House; "Wish You Were Here" Primary School Art Project; Lecture Series - Stan Bonnar, former Glenrothes Town Artist

May- Lunch in Rotunda Restaurant; Lecture Series - Sandy Guy, Artist

June - Art Club Garden Party & BBQ

July - "Art in the Square" free public workshops in Lyon Square, Kingdom Centre

August - Official Opening of Annual Exhibition in fifespace Gallery, Rothes Halls by David Harding, OBE first Town Artist of Glenrothes

September - Exhibition of "Wish You Were Here" project; Doors Open Day at Cottar House

November - Pop up Shop

December - Gala Dinner, Rothes Halls with Guest of Honour Gillian Parsons, Fife Cultural Trust.


2014 - 

Fundraising lunches at the Rotunda in February, April & June

Art Club "Twitter" account opened

Members provide three workshops to pupils of Pitteuchar West Primary School

Paintings hung in the new Glenwood Health Centre (later removed due to lack of sales)

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President, Vacant; Treasurer, Helen Dick; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Members, Flora Ferguson, Maureen McInnes, Daria Swales.

Art Club Pop-Up Shop in Lyon Square, Kingdom Centre runs from 1st to 9th November


2013 - 

Funding from Glenrothes Area Committee, Fife Council for the purchase of two glass display cabinets (£2,900).

"I Can't Draw" Workshop; Watercolours; Abstract Portraits

Participation in Cultural Roadshow in Rothes Halls

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President, Gill Low; Treasurer, Grant Newell; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Members, Helen Morrow, Maureen McInnes, Daria Swales, Helen Dick.

Voluntary Action Fund Grant of £800 for Thursday evening Taster Classes.

Evening Classes for Beginners start in May with Tutor, Billy Caulfield.


 2012 - 

New Craft Group starts on Tuesday afternoons 

Classes / Workshops in Fabric; Oil Painting; Art Nouveau Poster Painting; Glass Work

First year we took part in "European Open Doors Day"

Funding from Glenrothes Area Committee, Fife Council for a new central heating boiler

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President, Gill Low; Treasurer, Grant Newell; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Members, Chris Moore, Helen Morrow, Maureen McInnes.

Open Weekend and Christmas Lunch very successful.


2011 - 

Workshops (open to the public) included Basic Crafts; Watercolours; Acrylics; Basic Jewellery Making.

Lunch at the Rotunda Restaurant

Unframed and Car Boot Sales

Annual General Meeting - President, Lilian Sloan; Vice President, Sandy Kennedy; Treasurer, Grant Newell; Secretary, Ian Sloan; Member, Irene Hunt.

"Smart & Safe" Poster Competition for Secondary School age young people with 1st Prize of a laptop - funded by Fife Community Safety Partnership 

Open Weekend - inviting the community into the Cottar House

Award of £2000 from the Glenrothes Arts Endowment Trust

Community Ownership Scheme - Members attend a Special Genera Meeting in September and agree unanimously to relocation from Cottar House and bid for the Wayside Hall, Woodside. Sadly, this was not successful.


2010 -

Celebrating Fife - The Art Club received a grant of £1750 to organise a series of public arts events.

Car Boot Sales in the Woodside Community Hall were very successful fundraisers.

Lilian Sloan succeeded in gaining a grant from "Making Waves" Lottery Grant of £2000 to run arts workshops for both members and the wider community.


2009 -

At the start of 2009 it was all change for the committee as we lost Ella Rennie and Jim Methven who decided the time was right to take a back seat and enjoy more time painting. We also lost another 4 committee members, so we started 2009 with one of the smallest Committees to date comprising of Richard Toole as President; Grant Newell as Treasurer; Lilian Sloan as Secretary plus our youngest member Lee Shaw; Liesbeth Dammers and Daria Swales. Alistair Seath joined us midyear. There have been great changes to the club with the structure of setting up Art Exhibitions and increasing the unframed sales. We published our first Art Club Calendar, and this has gone down a treat.

We now have full use of the club facilities with the two upstairs rooms having been revamped and new flooring /lighting and computer equipment installed. Our Library has been moved up into the relaxing room/ non painting room. We have changed our outlook for the club by bringing the club to the community. We have the services of our unofficial press officer Ian Sloan, who has worked to increase our profile in the community. We intend to increase our membership and to aim this at the younger element of our community.

Not only has the inside of the club been upgraded but the outside is also currently undergoing changes and with the help of the neighbouring gym the rotten trees have been removed and landscape to the front entrance has been upgraded. So, you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the club if you are into gardening then there is plenty of scope and space to do so. 


2008 -

Improving the inside of the Club in 2008, we targeted the back studio as we had to install heat proofing and a new ceiling. Once again the expense of this was met from the Clubs Coffers plus we had the help of two local builders who gave their time and service at a greatly reduced rate. Not only was the studio ceiling completed but all the lighting had to be upgraded and rear staircase practically rebuilt, new outside security lighting fitted and finally, upgrade to the club décor.


2006 –

As 2006 started, once again we continued the year with our fundraising and doing work within the community. This included working at Age Concern Day Centres with members volunteering to do all types of entertainment from poetry to singing the old type songs. This year also saw our youngest club member joining at the age of 16 ¾, and who went on to become a committee member. We also had our first wheelchair user artist who was able to make full use of the disabled access and services within the club.



The year of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Glenrothes Art Club and as well as all the normal activities we held a celebration in the Lomond Centre to mark the anniversary.  This year saw the start of Car Boot Sales and these were organised by a new member to the committee, Lilian Sloan and her husband Ian. These were to prove a great success with the tables being sold out before the opening of the sale. Our “in-club demonstrations” and workshops also became a hit with the members.


2003 and 2004 -

The artists continued to produce some fantastic works, plus we held our open days, fundraising sales, and the normal unframed sales taking place twice a year in the Kingdom Centre. The annual exhibition in the Rothes Halls was a great success and we also carried on with the upgrading work to the club buildings.


2002 -

In November 2002 we found a major problem with the main studio floor, and as the expense was going to overwhelm the club’s coffers, it was decided that this work should be carried out on a do-it-yourself basis. Luckily, we had the expertise of an architect and some would-be builders and the repairs were undertaken throughout the Christmas break with work carrying on well into the night on quite a few occasions and everything was up and running for the January of 2003. We started to hold “open weekends” to allow the public more access to the club with club members running stalls, serving refreshments from our new kitchen and this proved a great success with all those who attended. The open weekends continued from March to September of that year and were reduced by two months the following year.


2001 -

From 2001, the club was in the process of implementing great building works and the upgrading of our facilities. The club had to implement new disabled access via a ramp to the outside of the building and a ramp inside. Also being constructed were new disabled toilets and a new kitchen area. We did receive a grant from Fife Council but still had to raise funds to carry the work out. This was completed by the end of 2002 but left us with the task of upgrading and decorating the other studios and upper rooms. This was to become ongoing work with fundraising taking place.


2000 -

In March 2000, the committee welcomed a new Treasurer, Grant Newell with Ella Rennie as President and Jim Methven as Secretary. Ella and Jim were to keep these positions into 2009 when after some 12 years’ service they stood down.

Throughout 2000 fundraising continued to help with the repairs that were needed within the club.


Author: Ian Sloan from 2010 to Present and Richard Toole from 2000 to 2009.






The first 43 years: 1955 - 1998  

The Club was founded in Woodside, Glenrothes in December 1955 by five early settlers in the New Town; George Paton, an art teacher, Ken M. Michie, a school master, W. Fraser Biggs, a train driver, William Brown, a retired printer and John L. Coghill, an architect who worked for Glenrothes Development Corporation. 

They were all originally members of an evening class which was held in the local primary school but they were frustrated by the restrictions of storage and access and set about looking for alternative premises of their own.

About this time the derelict farm buildings of Woolmill Farm were due to be demolished. The Cottar house, no longer fit for dwelling, was seen as a possibility for a clubroom. Members of Glenrothes Development Corporation were invited to visit the cottage and they agreed to allow the Art Club to occupy it and adapt it to their needs. The Cottar House and Coachhouse behind it were duly saved from demolition.

The Club grew in numbers and repute. Three years later, much work had been done by members and friends to make the Cottar House usable but they still needed funds to renew the roof and to extend into the Coachhouse. Members of Glenrothes District Council were invited to tea at the Studio and they were pleased to agree to cover the cost. With the money from the Council, the Club put a new roof on the Cottar House, broke through to the Coachhouse, strengthened its roof, laid new concrete floors, put windows in the entrance arches and installed lighting and a second-hand heating system.

Subsequently the Corporation leased the building to Glenrothes District Council and later to Kirkcaldy District – which lease was due to end in 1995. The Art Club continued throughout to have exclusive use of the premises at no charge, that being the original understanding with Glenrothes Development Corporation. The Council suggested that membership fees should be kept low so that no one need ever be deterred from joining because they could not afford it. This, the Club has done ever since.


(Sir John McWilliam, Lord Lieutenant of Fife and Dorothy Fowles (now Wharton), Art Club President at the Annual Exhibition in the CISWO circa 1965)

In return, as it were, for the patronage of the Corporation and Council, the Club has paid a handsome dividend to the town. Over the years classes have been run (day and evening) in the History of Art, oil painting, watercolour painting, life drawing, pottery, modelling, china painting, carving in wood and stone, weaving, embroidery, floral; decoration and frame making. Demonstrations have brought to the town some of the leading artists of our time and encouraged new members to join the club.

The annual Exhibitions were held in the middle of the Kingdom Centre Shopping Mall in Glenrothes and brought distinguished figures to their Opening Nights. The talent on display enhanced the reputation of the town and brought art right to the ordinary members of the public as they shopped.

With Glenrothes Development Corporation due to be wound down in 1995, and with changes of local government imminent, the Art Club members became anxious about their tenure of the Studio, upon which they had spent so much of their time, effort and funds over the past 37 years. The Committee therefore made approaches to G.D.C. with regard to acquiring the Art Club premises and car park permanently. After lengthy negotiation, G.D.C. finally agreed to the Club’s offer of purchase.

The Club now owns the property (buildings and car park) outright for the duration of its life.  If ever the Club should cease to exist and the property is then sold, the Club has arranged that its share of the sales proceeds will be held in trust by the new Fife Council in order to fund any new similar arts venture in the town in the future.

The Club was registered as a Charity in 1995.

The Club’s income still comes solely from the commission from sales of paintings in its Exhibitions and from membership subscriptions which are traditionally kept to the lowest amount possible.

Over the years, even before the building was owned, surplus income has been ploughed back into the building. Improvements include the installation of new radiators throughout; complete rewiring and new lighting; fire safety measures such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers; and the appearance and decor of the building inside and out has been maintained to as high a standard as is possible on limited resources.

Burst pipes in January 1996 caused much damage to the Clubroom floors and the kitchen units were so badly affected by damp that they had to be stripped out. As yet they have not been replaced as it is hoped to improve on the layout of the kitchen / toilet area to include disabled access and facilities when funds are available.

The ancient central heating boiler unfortunately broke down at the same time and was replaced by a modern Combi boiler. Repairs to the old pantile roof are carried out when they became necessary with the help of small grants from Fife Council.

Membership fees were increased in 1997 and automatically linked to the rate of inflation in order that they should cover the basic running costs of the Club but still be affordable to all.

The Club has always managed to be self-sufficient. Membership remains constant at about a hundred members, aged between 16 and 80 plus.

In 1996, with the need for renovation and the advent of the National Lottery, the committee set about having plans drawn up and obtaining estimates for the restoration of the building and surrounds. It was hoped that funding might be available, which would also allow the Club to expand to cater for disabled groups and a wider membership. A main part of the development would be the hard surfacing of the large grassy parking area to the rear of the Club and the creation of a new entrance with ramp direct from the car park that would allow for easy access especially for wheelchair users. A ramp is required between the pottery room and the painting studio.

In order to raise public awareness of the Club still further and to boost our funds, the Management of the Kingdom Centre were approached with regard to the Club holding a sale of unframed paintings in Lyon Square twice a year and this was agreed for May and August in 1999 and will hopefully continue in future years.

The Club has continued to thrive and the opening hours were extended to suit members who were not keen to come out in the evening during the winter. The Club already met on Wednesday and Thursday evenings throughout the year but a Friday afternoon was added. Courses of tuition are also provided regularly.

In 1998, the Club was pleased to see the introduction of the Lottery Charities Board Community involvement scheme that allowed 100% funding for suitable projects. The plans for the upgrading of the premises were duly amended and updated to provide even better accommodation, access and facilities which would provide for a much wider membership and give the benefit of an improved service for the community. Our application was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Authors: John Coghill and Graham Turner 



 New Members Welcome - Invite A Friend, Neighbour or Relation Along to the Club. This website is maintained by Ian Sloan. 
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