Club History

How it all started...

The early records of the Club are sketchy but a group of people interested in painting started getting together early in 1981. We do know from the records that an inaugural meeting was held on 23rd March 1981 and on that date Dalgety Bay Art Club officially came into existence.

The most prominent person involved in getting the Art Club underway was the first President, Carole Macintyre. She lived in Dalgety Bay and saw the potential of enough people to sustain a local Club. She was an excellent painter and gave assistance and instruction to the other Club members as well.

A place to meet in those early days was not easy in the Bay. The premises currently used by the Art Club were leased from Barratt the builders to the Community Council and the Club hired the premises on an hourly basis. Barratt had no further use for the premises and there was concern that Dunfermline District Council would demand its removal – it had been erected as a Sales Office by the builders and was subject to temporary planning permission.

In October 1981, 211 signatures were collected to save the premises for use by the Art Club. These however, were not required as the Council decided to leave the building meantime because of its importance to the Community, and the only accommodation available to clubs in the Bay at that time.
The Early Days
The Club met for two 15 week sessions starting in March and September each year. The fee was £5 per session (£10 per year). October 1981 was a major boost to the fledgling Club with our first exhibition held in the Club premises. It became known as the ‘One hundred and one exhibition’, this being the number of paintings exhibited. According to the records there were 25 active members at that time, the exhibition had over 300 visitors in the two days, paintings ranged in price from £5 to £65 and 35 pictures were sold. This was most encouraging to members as the Tuesday morning session at that time had had to be cancelled due to poor attendances.
During 1982 activity increased with an exhibition in April and October (both for three days), and a disco/buffet in the Sailing Club premises. Again uncertainty about the Club premises returned. Barratt had approached the Community Council to see if they wanted the building but by that time a new Community Centre had been built near Regents Way and the Art Club was the only organisation using the building regularly. We made an approach to Barratt confirming our interest in the property and this resulted in a letter from them dated 2nd September 1982 offering the premises free to the Art Club.
Legal documents were prepared and signed and on 29th October 1982 at the opening of our exhibition, the premises were officially handed over to us by Mr George McLean, Managing Director of Barratt (Edinburgh) Ltd. This brought about a time of euphoria when it was realised we owned the premises and could use them as often as we liked and unfinished paintings could be safely left there until the next visit. Alongside this came the realisation of the responsibility we had inherited – a wooden building which had been neglected over several years, with very basic furnishings, a rates bill of £400 per year and with a total annual running cost estimated at £600, not allowing for repairs and maintenance. With a membership at the time of just under thirty, one of the first decisions had to be a fee of £10 per session (£20 per year).
Bad news...
January 1983 brought a major trauma to the Club with the resignation of founder member and President, Carole Macintyre, as she was moving from the Dalgety Bay. Her expertise and instruction would be sadly missed. However, by that time we had many committed members working actively for the Club and what we may have lacked in expertise we made up for with enthusiasm. An amended constitution was drawn up which allowed the activities of the Club to be extended to include all types of craftwork and not just pictures – a move which paid dividends from the additional members joining. The Club was operated on more democratic lines than ever before, members put their efforts into making display boards for our exhibitions, easels for Club use, organising work parties for cleaning and painting the premises, arranging fund raising open days etc. The now familiar Art Club logo appeared in May 1983.
More bad news...
Yes, there was always something. The temporary planning permission for the building expired on 3rd August 1984 and we had to apply for a renewal of this. Nothing daunted we applied for permanent planning consent stating the importance of the building to the Art Club and the community in general. To our surprise and delight this was granted by Dunfermline District Council on 6th July 1984. We could relax again – our premises were secure.
Good news...
During 1985/86 extensive alterations were made to the inside of the building. The kitchen area was enlarged and improved. An internal wall separating the main room from a second smaller room was taken down resulting in a large, open and airy room for working in. We received articles from all sources such as a new sink unit for the kitchen, calor gas heaters, carpet tiles, kitchen cupboards, tables, in fact anything useable we took it. Complete redecoration was carried out and the Club became a bright and comfortable place to work – much as you see it today.
Our first exhibition...
In April 1985 we had our first one day exhibition in the Church Hall. This was because the new shopping centre had opened in Regents Way and people no longer came along past the Club to the East-end shops, and our Club exhibitions suffered as a result. The one day exhibition was a great success and though a lot of work setting up for only one day, these exhibitions have continued twice yearly in the Church Hall until the present time.
More members...
During 1986 we experimented with lowering the annual fee to £15 to attract more members. This was successful and the following year it was reduced to £12 and the Club has enjoyed a steady growth in numbers since then. The real bonus came when Dunfermline District Council abolished rates for Social Clubs in 1988 – at last we had some money to spend on large but necessary external repairs to the building.
More equipment...
We went on to buy new tables and chairs, install adequate heating facilities and obtain video equipment and teaching videos for water colour and oil painting. We held regular demonstrations for both the painting and craft sections of the Club. Anything from painting on silk to making garden gnomes from cement; or painting with pastels to cake icing and decoration – you name it, we’ve tried it!
The Extension
Over 2012 and 2013, we worked hard to raise funds to build an extension to our Clubhouse that would give us room for an office and a storeroom for bikes and our trailer and exhibition screens. With help not just from members but also from outside organisations we achieved our target and engaged local business Taylor Joinery Services to put up the extension and spruce up the original part of our premises. This has given us the extra space we wanted, plus a whole new lease on life!
Phew! Success at last...
The real success story now is that we have an active, happy and vibrant Art Club. Thankfully we have a lot of talent amongst us and we help each other along. Evidence of this can be seen in the exceptional quality and variety of the paintings, craftwork and (since 2016) photography produced for our twice yearly exhibitions.

We have continued to grow and expand with our present membership standing at over a hundred and still increasing.
"Stormy sky over Benarty" by Moira MacPherson"Aberdour Castle" by Margaret Cummins"Cellardyke Washing Day" by Liz BarclayCherries and GlassBeauties of the Rainforest2nd Place - 'Feed the birds', Watercolour by Moira MacPherson