THE rich history of Benarty and its people will be put on display at Lochore Meadows.

And five new books will be launched next month that will add detail and colour about their lives and how they shaped their communities.

Benarty Heritage Preservation Group have produced their annual publication, Beneath the Sleeping Giant, as well as Benarty Patriots and three on the census of 1911, covering Ballingry and Lochore; Crosshill; and north and south Glencraig.

They’ll be launched at the open day on November 1 and chairman Tony Zimny said: “There are new display cases going into the Willie Clarke Centre at Lochore Meadows and also Benarty Community Centre so our new publications will be displayed and go on sale.

“We’ve done 20-odd over the years so this will bring them to the attention of the general public and once we sell the books, the profits go back into the community.”

The group chronicle the history and lives of the people of Ballingry, Lochore, Crosshill and Glencraig and have a treasure trove of old photographs and newspapers, some from as far back as the 1800s.

They delve into school and church records and have a Hall of Fame, for the local heroes who have brought pride to the villages.

The new publications will be unveiled at the group’s open day, which starts at 7.30pm in Benarty Centre. Tony said: “The area has a history that’s not just mining. The whole area was founded on mining, and we have done a lot on that, but we’ve also gone a bit deeper and further back.

“One of the new publications is about the Benarty war dead. There was never a war memorial here as such, now there is one with the names of those that gave their lives for their country, but no history of these people.

“It doesn’t have any rank or status on it.

“Benarty Patriots has the information about the people that died, the day they were killed, the regiment they were in, where they were born, date of birth, where they lived, who their parents were, if they were married or had a family, siblings etc.

“Our publication gives them an identity, something tangible to show that person did belong here, so people can try and find out if it’s a relative or ancestor.

“It took a lot of years to put it together, I tell people it’s been 100 years in the making! And I still feel there are other names to be added.”

The books on the census of 1911 mark an important time in the area’s history with a huge rise in the number of people coming to live and work there.

Tony explained: “I call it a population explosion that was down to deep mining. People had to be brought here from the UK and abroad to fill the vacancies as both pits employed more than 1,000 people. The one in Lochore, The Mary, was owned by the Fife Coal Company and the Glencraig Colliery was owned by the Wilson & Clyde Coal Company.

“People came here from all over and that’s actually mirrored in the Benarty Patriots book about the war dead.

“If you look at where they were born, most of them came from the Lothians, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, places where mining was on the wane so they’d come here to stay in the industry or because they had the experience.”

He added: “The population was never stable, there was a large turnaround. A lot of them were single men and the people that worked in the pits were basically selling their labour as they had no skills as such.

“Younger and fitter men could produce more coal and were in demand. And while a lot of them did put down roots and have families that are still here, people have been saying ‘That’s my granny or grandad’, many of them moved on.

“Mining has been gone, especially deep mining, in this part of Fife since 1966 so people had to go to the coast, places like Seafield, if they wished to remain in the coal mining world.

“It’d be very interesting to look at the social implications.

“We would like to do that and we’ve laid down the foundations to take the next step and look at the social history of this area – what happened when the mining era ended, where did they go and what did they do?

“That’s one for next time!”

You can find out more about the group at