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Taking Tea in Kirkland, Fife

Peter family at Kirkland 1899

The Peter family taking tea at Kirkland in 1899

This photograph, mounted on card, is inscribed Mrs Peter & Family, Kirkland, Sep 6 1899 and includes the intriguing footnote “a little scorched by the fire“. Although I was unable to uncover anything about the fire I was able to learn quite a bit about the family and home featured in the photo.

This is one of two photos I have from the Peter estate, a family who emigrated from Scotland to North America in the late 19th century. My knowledge was limited until Google, yet again, unearthed a wealth of information, this time on a website created by David Morris in South Africa. From information written on the back of the second photo I was able to confirm that this was the same family referenced on this website.

Henry Thomas (Tom) Peter was born in Wemyss, Fife in 1825 and into a prominent family of mill owners.  He and his brothers were said to be exceptional golfers and curlers (his father founded the Innerlevan Golf Club). Tom married Marianne Anderson in 1854, raised a family of 6 children, emigrated to the US in 1880 and then to Victoria, BC in 1890.  Marianne died in 1892 and Henry Thomas in 1899. Both are buried in the St. Luke’s Anglican churchyard in Victoria (note: the obituaries are courtesy of: The British Colonist Online 1858-1910).

I have no way of knowing which members of the Peter family are in this photograph although I suspect the older lady may be the matriarch Elizabeth Peter (nee Souter) who died in 1912 at Kirkland House and was referred to in the papers as “Mrs Peter”.

Kirkland House was built in the early 19th century and according to the article written by David Morris it was occupied by the family until 1931.  It was demolished in 1940 however I was able to find its location using the National Library of Scotland‘s excellent historical Ordnance Survey Maps.  Using this map in conjunction with Google Maps I was able to pinpoint the former location of Kirkland House and pin it to Historypin.

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January 2012

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