Fifers will be floored to see their very own Lang Toun on the small screen, as popular BBC series Antiques Road Trip takes a detour to Kirkcaldy Galleries’ linoleum collection.
In the new episode, airing Thursday June 3 at 4.30pm on BBC1, presenter Natasha Raskin Sharp visits Kirkcaldy Galleries to hear how the Fife town became a global powerhouse in floor covering manufacture.
Guiding antiques expert Natasha through the town’s illustrious industrial past is Gavin Grant, collections team leader with OnFife.
Gavin explained: “Antiques Road Trip got in touch with us because of our fantastic linoleum collections that we have a at Kirkcaldy Galleries. We’ve got well over 5,000 items from the industry, ranging from pattern books to photographs, workers tools and paintings.
“I got to get some of the items out of storage as well to show them, so that was a great opportunity to highlight what we have from the linoleum industry, because it’s so important to the history of Kirkcaldy.”
He said that at its peak, one-tenth of Kirkcaldy’s population was employed in the linoleum industry, showing the massive impact of flooring manufacture on the town’s heritage.
Stories under the lino
The show’s format sees antiques experts set off on a road trip around the UK while searching for treasures and competing to make the most money at auction. So what kind of treasures were unearthed in the galleries?
“We looked at some really early pattern books from the late 19th Century,” Gavin said. “One that really sticks in my mind is a lovely pattern book from the 1880s. It has some really amazing, floral designs and Natasha enjoyed seeing that.”
The episode was filmed last autumn – in compliance with Covid regulations, of course. And after a long year of lockdown, Gavin hopes the TV appearance will boost tourism to the area.
“Hopefully the programme will stimulate people to come and visit Kirkcaldy Galleries again,” he said. “We’re open again, people can book to visit and go round our displays.”
And Fife isn’t the only side of the Tay featured on screen. A key part of the Antiques Road Trip series is highlighting little-known historical stories along the way.
So as well as taking in Kirkcaldy, presenters will visit HMS Unicorn in Dundee.
The episode will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after the initial broadcast at 4.30pm on June 3.