Bessie Kirk – Lochgelly, Fife

Bessie Kirk was born in Lochgelly, Fife in 1898

Bessie was a woman of her time. Lochgelly is an area that was also known as Auchterderran.

By the age of 15, she had moved to the highlands of Scotland to work for a wealthy family. In pre-war Britain, this was the path of many young girls of her era and demographics. There was a huge divide between the very rich and the very poor. The middle class gained strength after the war.

Unlike today, the lower classes of the day worked to live – literally. Many were underfed and under clothed. Girls from the poorer classes had few rights and looked to marry to build a future. There were few choices.

Men sought work in farming, mines or factories. Wages were low, and families were large. Infant death rates were very high. Most died of pneumonia or other diseases of the poor.

Bessie is the little girl in the picture below

A British family in 1902

The population was divided by class – The very rich and the very poor. During her life of 70 odd years,

Bessie Kirk – Lochgelly, Fife


  • Married a man in the highlands. He was a gunner in the army, previously worked as a shepherd.
  • Lost her third child to pneumonia
  • Was widowed, and left with 2 young children
  • Moved back to Fife – remarried. Her second husband was a coal miner.
  • Moved to Ramsgate
  • Had another child in 1938
  • Worked as a welder on the ships during the war (WW2)
  • Had her house bombed out, her children sent to Scotland for safety
  • Hospitalised with shrapnel wounds – for 8 months
  • Lived through post-war food rationing
  • Rented a council house in Greater London where she lived out the rest of her days
  • Worked in a factory, raised her family and died as an old lady in a council bungalow


Bessie was loved by many. She would feed you, tell you stories and make sure everyone was well turned out in clean clothes and polished shoes. She was never very good at hugging people.

Will you help me to write a book aimed at helping people to deal with emotional pain? Why? Because nobody should feel alone –  CREATIVE PAIN


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