Steel tycoon, stockbroker, entrepreneur and philanthropist - Andrew Carnegie was one of the most famous Scots of the 19th century. His birthplace, a little stone weaver’s cottage on the edge of the Dunfermline’s Heritage Quarter, is easy to miss as its stone facade quietly blends in with other similar cottages in the area. Nothing in its interior gives away what an important role one of its inhabitants came to play not only in Dunfermline but all around the world.
Andrew Carnegie was born here on 25 November 1835. While making his fortune in producing iron and steel in Pittsburgh, USA (in fact, Carnegie became the richest man in the world in 1901), he was determined to help communities all around the globe. The subjects closest to his heart were education, science, music and world peace.
Before his death in 1919, Andrew Carnegie had given away 90% of his personal wealth - which helped to build over 2,000 free public libraries around the world, fund schools and universities, endow pipe organs, support the work of individuals such as Marie Curie and many more. Carnegie’s legacy reaches far and wide - his funding also helped give America one of its most famous concert halls (Carnegie Hall) and the Netherlands its famous centre of international law (The Peace Palace).
Carnegie’s best-known gift is perhaps the Diplodocus carnegii dinosaur - unearthed in Wyoming in 1899, Andrew Carnegie gifted plaster copies of his dino to 8 museums around the world, including the Natural History Museum in London! In 2019, Carnegie’s Diplodocus was on display at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow.
Pic: Gary Hutchinson
Although Carnegie only spent his early years in Dunfermline (his family moved to Pittsburgh when he was only 12), his home town remained close to his heart. Carnegie’s influence can be seen all around town - from its library building, to the beautiful stained-glass windows in the Dunfermline Abbey and, of course to the fabulous Pittencrieff Park - a private estate which Carnegie bought and donated to the people of Dunfermline to enjoy.
The Birthplace Museum, founded at the request of Andrew’s wife, Louise, tells the story of Andrew Carnegie’s life and legacy and reopens on 17 May 2021. Why not pop in for a visit and find out more about how Andrew Carnegie helped to change the world.
Entry to the museum is free, but due to Covid restrictions, pre-booking is encouraged.
Carnegie Connections in Dunfermline Abbey: https://dunfermlineabbey.com/wwp/?page_id=21158