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Scottish Gaelic: Loch Gheallaidh

Lochgelly in November 2008
Lochgelly is located in Fife
 Lochgelly shown within Fife
Population 6,834 
OS grid reference
Council area Fife
Lieutenancy area Fife
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district KY5
Dialling code 01592
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
Scottish Parliament Cowdenbeath
List of places

Lochgelly (   ; Gaelic: Loch Gheallaidh) is a town in Fife, Scotland. It is located between Lochs Ore and Gelly [1] to the north-west and south-east respectively. It is separated from Cowdenbeath by the village of Lumphinnans. According to the 2007 population estimate, the town has a population of 6,834.[2]


  • History 1
  • Economy 2
  • Gelly Loch 3
  • Entertainment 4
  • Sport 5
    • Football 5.1
    • Motor Racing 5.2
  • Community organisations 6
  • Fife Ethylene Plant 7
  • Wind farm development 8
  • Future Development 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


From the 1830s until the 1960s Lochgelly was a mining town.[1] With the industry now dead the town has slipped into economic and social deprivation as with other former mining towns. Lochgelly is now classed as town in need of regeneration "economically and socially" and has the cheapest average home price in Britain.[3]

Lochgelly, as part of the old parliamentary constituency of West Fife, was known as "Little Moscow" up to the 1950s owing to its Communist political leanings.

An area of Lochgelly was known as the Happy Lands (or Happy Valley)[4] and is referenced in the Scottish folk song 'The Kelty Clippie'.[5]

The town is served by Lochgelly railway station on the line between Edinburgh and Markinch.


In the 1970s new investment was brought in the form of a factory and development office built by the Andrew Corporation. This created microwave antennae under the banner of Andrew Antennas, symbolised by a red lighting flash on the dishes they made. These dishes were primarily for commercial and military usage. The firm located at the end of "The Avenue" on the south-east side of the village. Adjoining fields were used for testing new equipment.

Lochgelly is also the home of the most reputed firm that produced tawses, John Dick (Saddlers), and was hence a synonym for that typically Scottish device for corporal punishment.

Gelly Loch

The town derives its name from the nearby body of water, Loch Gelly. The name comes from the Gaelic Loch Gheallaidh which, loosely translated, means ‘Shining Waters’ or ‘Loch of Brightness’. Land around the loch is owned by Wemyss 1952 Trustees.[6]

The loch was once a very popular spot for the local community and was used on a regular basis for water skiing up until the early 90s. Since then the loch has not been used for water sports.


Lochgelly used to be served in the entertainment sector by the Lochgelly Centre, which had a 424-seat theatre that was ideal for community theatre groups, dance groups and music events. The Lochgelly Centre closed in 2010 for remodelling/refurbishment work, leaving Lochgelly without any access to children's facilities, elderly facilities, community access to various events and classes. The centre re-opened in 2012 and now boasts a range of refurbished and new facilities including the New Jennie-Lee library. The centre runs many classes and boasts an impressive theatre for a small town, on which a variety of artists, groups, plays, musical, poets and drama productions regularly appear.

The town is also entertained by Lochgelly Town Hall, which is now establishing itself as a venue for live music. Rubber Stamp Promotions hold regular events at the venue, with bands such as The Vivians and Sergeant playing there in 2009.



Lochgelly is home to the junior football club Lochgelly Albert F.C. Former clubs include Lochgelly United F.C. who played in the senior leagues between 1890 and 1928 and Lochgelly Violet.

Motor Racing

There is quarter mile oval racing track just outside the town known as Thunder Valley Raceway. The circuit hosted the 2013 Superstox World Championship.

Community organisations

To tackle issues of multiple deprivation in the town various organisations such as the Coalfields Regeneration Trust have been given funding monies to distribute locally via community-based groups such as social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups.[7]

The Lochgelly Community Council holds meetings, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, to discuss issues affecting Lochgelly, from planning issues to general issues representative of the local community. All meetings are open to the public. The Community Council is made up of local members of the Lochgelly Community and also include local politicians in attendance from the SNP (Ian Chisolm) and Labour (Mark Hood). Monthly minutes from the meetings are available in the Lochgelly Library.

The Lochgelly Community Development Forum (LCDF), until early 2011 known as the Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum, is a voluntary group representing the interests of the local community and providing a forum for raising local issues with Fife Council. The LCDF publish a 2 sided glossy newsletter, The Voice, which is delivered to every home in Lochgelly. This replaced a full magazine, designed for free by a locally based not-for-profit Social Enterprise (Subliminal Directions), now closed.

Mooth O the Yooth, is a local non-profit group, managed by and for local youths, with support from Fife Council workers, community wardens and community police officers. The 'Moothies' aim to provide and set up activities for other youths in the area. Activities and successes include arranging the 'Bairns Ball' (a youth disco), which is held on a monthly basis in Lochgelly. The Moothies obtained a Youth Shelter (an open steel construction, similar to a bus shelter, with a seating area and roof to provide some shelter), located at the bottom of Lochgelly Public Park. The shelter has since been vandalised.

In January 2010 'Loch of Shining Waters', an online not-for-profit community platform, was launched. It allows members of the local community to publish articles about Lochgelly, raise issues of concern and find out more about local issues. The aim is to release all material under a Creative Commons Licence, provide information about Lochgelly and the issues affecting the town and provide tutorials covering a wide range of technologies, such as using open source scripts for gaining a web presence, as well as articles on computer and online safety.

The Royal Oak Community Club provides affordable venue hire for many smaller groups in the local community, such as the Lochgelly Community Council, dance groups and meals for the elderly but the work they do is currently in a limited capacity due to the restrictions of their facilities. Having recently achieved charitable status and social enterprise status they plan to redevelop their building with a complete upgrade of facilities. During the refurbishment works they will be seeking temporary premises for the Lochgelly community to use.

Fife Ethylene Plant

Approximately 4 km from Lochgelly is the Fife Ethylene Plant, known locally as Mossmorran and run by ExxonMobil. This is one of Europe's largest ethylene plants[8] and is bordered by the communities of Lochgelly, Lumphinnans, Cowdenbeath and Auchtertool.

There is local concern over the impacts Mossmorran has on the local communities regarding flaring events, noise pollution, light pollution, vibrations, safety, health and environmental mpacts.[9] There are also supporters of the development.

ExxonMobil invest in the local area through community schemes, such as the Links programme, which provides additional funding to the majority of schools in the local communitites surrounding the complex.[10]

Wind farm development

Installation of the first wind turbine of nine at the Little Raith wind farm, south of Lochgelly, was completed in September 2012.[11] The farm is 1.6 km south of the nearest houses in Lochgelly and 1.3 km from Cowdenbeath. It is Fife's first commercial wind farm and is immediately to the north of the Fife Ethylene Plant.

The wind farm is owned by Kennedy Renewables [12] who purchased the site from West Coast Energy.[13]

Future Development

In 2010 Lochgelly participated in the Lochgelly Charrette, led by designer Andrés Duany. The Lochgelly Charrette was the only charrette in Scotland to be led by the local authority.[14]

The Charrette process has identified areas in need of regeneration within the town centre and aims to improve the central area of Lochgelly by regenerating existing walkways and buildings. It included a review of all design-based policies, simplifying the mechanisms to achieve good design for planning zones, cross departmental working with the transportation services so proposals can work towards the Scottish Government policy statement 'Designing for Streets'.[15]

There has been much local criticism of the Lochgelly Charrette.[16] It received criticisms from the Community Council and the Lochgelly Development Forum for ignoring them on specific issues. There were objections to the halting of plans for a supermarket with petrol station in favour of plans for a smaller store objected.[17][18] There was also criticism of the removal of Lochgelly Golf Course and other green areas for housing developments.[19]

Further plans include completely redeveloping the town centre to improve access and better integrate walkways. The plan will take until 2066 to be fully realised.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Overview of Lochgelly". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  2. ^ "Population Estimates for Towns and Villages in Fife" (PDF). Fife Council. March 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  3. ^ "First-time buyers face price woe". BBC News. 2005-01-22. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  4. ^ Happy Lands Memories -
  5. ^ The Kelty Clippie Lyrics -
  6. ^ FOI Request -
  7. ^ "Bridging the Gap Case Study". Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  8. ^ "ExxonMobil in the UK - Fife Ethylene Plant". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  9. ^ "The Dawn Chorus o Mossmorran". Lochgelly. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  10. ^ "Neighbourhood activities around Fife". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  11. ^ "First turbine erected at Little Raith wind farm". Fife Today. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Outlook Web App". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  13. ^ "Little Raith wind farm". West Coast Energy. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  14. ^ Official Lochgelly Charrette site -
  15. ^ Article on Lochgelly Charrette -
  16. ^ Public views of the Lochgelly Charrette sourced from many sites -
  17. ^ Various views on the support supermarket both from local non-profits, community members, and the LCDF -
  18. ^ Planning application for small store and public objections -
  19. ^ Golf course sell out -
  20. ^ PDF file containing the official final report of the Lochgelly Charrette -

External links

  • Lochgelly Community Development Forum
  • Recycle Fife
  • Lochgelly - Loch of Shining Waters - Community Site
  • Lochgelly Interest Site
  • Lochgelly Albert
  • Lochgelly Brass Band
  • Lochgelly Tawse
  • Pictures of Lochgelly Past & Present
  • Rubber Stamp Promotions Page for info on Lochgelly Live Music
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