Dunfermline and Andrew Carnegie - this was the title of the talk given to the Mearns Probus Club at their latest meeting, presented by member Ian Bell.
Ian had lived and worked in Dunfermline for nearly 40 years, as he remarked nobody could visit Dunfermline without noticing the influence of Andrew Carnegie on the town.
An illustrated tour of the area in which the young Carnegie lived, started at the ruined Royal Palace, then the Dunfermline Abbey surmounted by King Robert the Bruce on the four sides of the Tower.
Other slides showed the first Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Hall, Public Baths and Health Centre, all built with funds from Andrew Carnegie. Into Pittencrieff Glen with the statue of Andrew Carnegie facing the town, then to commemorative trees planted there 110 years ago by members of the Carnegie family. Carnegie made his wealth in the production of iron, then steel to railroads, bridges and rolling stock.
By the time he retired he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, selling out to banker J.P.Morgan. Estimates of his wealth vary, but in modern terms he was probably better off than Bill Gates is today, somewhere between 500 and 600 billion dollars.
After retirement, Carnegie bought Pittencrieff Park for the citizens of Dunfermline and set up many funds to distribute his wealth.
Examples are 3000 libraries, 6000 organs to churches, an observatory in California, The Peace Palace in The Hague, and then two more in Costa Rica and in Washington.
Ian concluded his presentation with slides of Dunfermline today, with new and old buildings.
Member Albert Smith proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of fellow members for an interesting and informative presentation.