Curators investigate lino from Sir Paul McCartney’s childhood home

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney (PA Archive)
0:01am, Mon 10 May 2021
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Curators are on a quest to discover whether a piece of the linoleum that furnished Sir Paul McCartney’s childhood home was originally made in Fife.

Staff at Kirkcaldy Galleries will sift through pattern books from the 1950s to find a match for the former Beatle’s floor covering, which is still in the hall at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool.

The investigation is part of a new venture that celebrates Kirkcaldy’s industrial past, which saw the Fife town become a world leader in linoleum production.

The National Trust donated a sample from the floor to Kirkcaldy Galleries in 1997, two years after the trust acquired the property where Paul McCartney lived from 1955 to 1964.

The sample, which measures 24cm by 9cm, has previously been displayed in Kirkcaldy and is now in storage, however curators hope to put it back on show later this year.

Gavin Grant, collections team leader with the cultural charity OnFife, which runs the galleries, said: “The McCartney’s floor covering is one of 6,000 objects in our internationally significant linoleum collection and we’d love to know if it was made in Fife.

“This new project will help us to promote the collection more widely and to conserve a vast range of artefacts that tell a quite remarkable story, which touched so many lives.”

The galleries’ collection includes photographs, pattern books, catalogues, samples and workers’ tools.

Hall floor

If curators find a match for the floor covering, they will try to trace workers who produced it.

The quest is one strand of a £115,000 project, which starts later this year, backed by the Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund, that seeks to engage people with the galleries’ globally renowned linoleum collection.

Products made in Kirkcaldy and the Fife villages of Falkland and Newburgh floored millions of homes, offices and public buildings in the UK and abroad and, at its peak in 1914, the industry employed one in 10 people in Kirkcaldy.

By the time the Beatles made their only concert appearance in the town – with two shows at the Carlton Theatre in 1963 – just one factory remained.

It is still in production today and operated by Forbo.

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