Coal was, and remains, is a major source of wealth in Fife, and much of the early mining was centred around the historic village of Culross.
The first tycoon was Sir George Bruce in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, when his mines stretched for a mile under the River Forth and allowed men to work 200 feet down.
Bruce's house in Culross is known as the Palace, and the newly formed National Trust for Scotland bought it for £700 in 1932, before adding a further ten properties in the village during the 1930s for a total of £168.
King James VI visited Bruce and made Culross a Royal burgh in 1588, but by the twentieth century it was a poor community, a decline which the Trust was able to turn into good fortune.
There were calls for the bulldozers to be brought in and a start made from scratch, but the Trust set about restoring properties to the point where they could again be lived in. Rents were offered to miners, to workers at the nearby Longannet power station and at the Rosyth dockyard, and to retired people, such that the village has remained a community, with a substantial proportion of the population aged under 24.
The prosperity of the old days has been replaced by a rich social and architectural heritage. Culross might not be as ostentatious as some National Trust for Scotland properties, but it is a gentle village with a living heart.