How one Scottish town floored the world

Scotland’s influence on the world is well known through the likes of John Logie Baird, John Loudon McAdam, Alexander Graham Bell and Alexander Fleming.

With so many famous individuals, it’s sometimes easy to forget that an entire Scottish town had a dramatic effect of its own.

BBC Two Scotland is screening a documentary this Monday, 21 May, entitled The Town That Floored the World, from 9-10pm.

This reveals how the Scottish east coast port town of Kirkcaldy become the world centre for linoleum.

The Town That Floored the World traces the history of that ‘magic material’ to its origins in the mid 19th century, and tells how one town built its fortunes on its manufacture.

Current and former linoleum workers, and Kirkcaldy bairns including crime writer Val McDermid, share their stories of a life in flooring. Lino’s role in high art and design is also traced. The programme, which has been produced by TVI Films for BBC Scotland, is narrated by John Sessions.

Maurice Smith of TVI Films said: ‘Our social history is so important in terms of understanding where Scotland stands, and how it got here. Towns like Kirkcaldy were the backbone of the economy, and companies like Nairn dominated international markets from Fife.

‘The same is true all over Scotland. Communities were built around the industries they served.

‘Apart from our cities, towns like Kirkcaldy, Paisley, Hawick and Dunfermline had roles and influence way beyond our borders.

‘It is great to tell their stories through the voices and memories of the people who worked there – and in the case of Kirkcaldy, still work there today.’