This February, we began work on Flooring the World – a two-year project exploring the history of the of linoleum production in Fife.

Linoleum has been made in Fife since soon after its invention in the 1860s up until the present day, with production centred in Kirkcaldy, Newburgh and Falkland. It has changed the shape of the entire county, and of the people who live within it, and today Kirkcaldy is the only place in Britain where linoleum is still made.

Workers inspecting linoleum production, Newburgh. CUPMS:1986.809.

As part of this project, we are interested in establishing connections and beginning conversations with those who have experience of working in the linoleum industry. If you currently work, or if you or your family members once worked, in the Fife linoleum industry – we want to hear from you!

We’d love to hear any memories you have to share, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Can you tell us about your day to day working life?
  • Do you have a memory of a specific day at work which has stuck with you? This could be your first day, your last day, a day you received some exciting news, or even just an ordinary day which has stayed with you.
  • Which aspects of your work stayed the same during your time working with linoleum? What changed?
  • If you could share only one memory of your working life, what would it be?

Women workers making inlaid linoleum, Kirkcaldy, c.1960. TEMP:2012.4423.

We are interested in all aspects of working in the linoleum industry – any role, any length of service, at any time, in Kirkcaldy, Newburgh or Falkland – and would particularly welcome information relating to:

  • The experiences of women in the workplace
  • The experiences of workers who were employed in the linoleum industry from 1960 onwards
  • The experiences of those involved in social activities such as work bands, clubs and sports teams
  • The experiences of workers involved in industrial action, such as strikes and protests

Alternatively, if oral history isn’t for you, there are other ways you can get involved. If you have an object you’re considering donating to our collections, if you’d like to learn more about upcoming volunteer projects, or if you’d like to share some information or ideas for future research, then we’d love to hear from you too!

You can get in touch with Lily Barnes, the Project Curator, by sending an e-mail to

Block-cutters at Barry, Ostlere and Shepherd, Kirkcaldy, 1952. KIRMG:1976.603.


This blog was written by Lily Barnes, curator working on the linoleum project Flooring the World (2022-2024). Flooring the World is a two-year project exploring the history of the Fife linoleum industry. It is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact.

If you have any questions or information you’d like to share, you can get in touch at