With the season barely underway Raith Rovers have added another piece of silverware to their already impressive boardroom trophy cabinet but it wasn’t a secret competition that the fans weren’t told about, it was a trophy last won at the turn of the Century, the 20th Century, the “Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital Challenge Cup” also known locally as the “Nairn Cup”.

The Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital Challenge Cup was the trophy up for grabs in an annual competitionbetween Fife clubs between 1897 and 1903.The trophy was presented by Miss Euphemia Nairn of the famous Linoleum manufacturing family who resided at The Priory in Victoria Road in Kirkcaldy, and the proceeds raised from the matches was donated to charity. The first winners in 1897 were Raith Rovers who defeated Kirkcaldy United in a second replay following 0-0 and 2-2 draws, and Rovers also won it for the next two years 1898 and 1899, when Kirkcaldy United were again the beaten finalists. Buckhaven won it in 1901 and 1902, but the cup returned to Kirkcaldy, when Raith Athletic, a nursery team affiliated to Raith Rovers beat Kirkcaldy United in 1903, the last year that the competition was held.

Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital was situated in Nether Street Kirkcaldy, and was gifted to the town by the philanthropic Michael Nairn who also owned the neighbouring Ravenscraig Castle, which he
also later gifted to the town in 1929. The hospital was opened in 1890 and originally only had ten beds, but this was later increased with the addition of distinctive ‘round’ wards in 1899, at the
Bill always had a hankering to give the trophy back to the club – indeed he had lent it out for the Raith Rovers exhibition in the library a few years back. Bill contacted Turnbull Hutton in August and offered the cup to the club. The club was delighted to accept this and Bill and Turnbull agreed that the cup should be remounted and cleaned up, with the existing base returned to Bill……the base showed the winners of the Scottish Ambulance Competition, whilst the cup itself showed the football honours. suggestion of Michael Nairn himself, and based on examples that he had seen on his European travels, and by 1938, the capacity had risen to thirty eight. The moulded lintel which is barely visible above the right hand gatepost, on the front wall of the building reads – ‘1889, I was sick and ye visited me. The lintel was salvaged and relocated, and can now be seen on the grass area at the front of the Victoria Hospital. The hospital which was better known to some locals as ‘the auld general’ was closed in 1967, by which time it had become rather dated and was no longer needed due to the completion of the Victoria Hospital in Hayfield Road. The building was demolished in 1985, after lying empty for almost twenty years, and the site is now occupied by flats known as The Kyles. It was during its dormant years in 1973 that the Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital Challenge Cup, the ‘Nairn Cup’,was found for the first time, having been ‘lost’ for seventy years since it was last competed for back in 1903.

Fife Health Board presented the trophy to The Scottish Ambulance Service to be competed for in an inter depot simulated accident competition during the 1980’s. The first winner of the trophy for the new competition was local man and Raith supporter Bill Mason. After having been competed for annually for several years , re-organisation within the Scottish Ambulance Service meant that the trophy was no longer competed for and it was decided that it should be presented to the winner of the inaugural event …….Bill Mason.

An article on the re-appearance of the trophy, written by Jim Foy appeared

Liam and Bill Mason with The Nairn Cup

on the  original Raith Rovers web site back on 8th of December 2004 when Bills son Liam contacted Jim to say that his dad had the trophy and he wanted to know more about it’s history, and wait for it, Liam had it in his room and kept pencils and bits and pieces in it.

On Saturday, Bill and his son Liam – a regular in the South Stand – were invited along to the Boardroom as guests of the Club to formally present the trophy to vice chairman Turnbull Hutton.

The solid silver trophy is now proudly on show in the Raith Boardroom. The club wish to extend their thanks to Bill Mason for his generous gesture.


Written by, Turnbull Hutton, Jim Foy and Tony Fimister
Photographs by Tony Fimister , Jim Foy and the TFP Raith Rovers Archives.


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