A gold key given to a philanthropist who opened a Scottish theatre will be exhibited to mark the venue’s refurbishment.

Andrew Carnegie, a famous industrialist, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, in 1835.

In 1899 he opened the Kirkcaldy Adam Smith Theatre and was in turn given the gold key.

The key is now set to go on display to mark the venue’s recent £7.8 million makeover.

It was one of two keys given out when the venue was inaugurated.

The other was given to the widow of Kirkcaldy linoleum manufacturer Michael Beveridge, who funded the theatre’s construction.

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Both keys will be on display at Kirkcaldy Galleries, situated across the road from the now revamped theatre.

It marks the first time both keys will be seen together since 1899, and will be the first time in a decade that the Carnegie key has been exhibited.

Crafted by local jeweller Alex Constable, the keepsakes were not keys to the theatre itself but decorative items bearing Kirkcaldy’s coat of arms and inscriptions to each recipient.

Speaking at the opening in 1899, Mr Carnegie declared the venue “suitable for concerts, charades, private theatricals, meetings of philanthropic committees, lectures upon interesting and instructive topics and entertainments of all kinds”.

Accepting his ceremonial key from Mrs Elizabeth Beveridge, Mr Carnegie said: “This key, presented in any circumstances, would have been precious beyond price.

“Coming, madame, from you, the honoured wife of one of the benefactors of Kirkcaldy, I assure you this key must ever derive and retain tenfold value and (will be) handed down in our family as one of its most precious heirlooms.”

The theatre was opened on October 11 1899 to honour the hugely influential economist and philosopher Adam Smith, who was born in Kirkcaldy 300 years ago.

The Herald: Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie (Image: free)

The venue reopens on Saturday September 23 with a grand reopening concert, hosted by radio, TV and pantomime star Grant Scott.

Other works which can be viewed at the venue include a sculpture of Adam Smith by Italian artist Baron Carlo Marochetti, which will be on permanent display.

The Adam Smith Theatre quickly became a popular venue following its inauguration for its movies, boxing tournaments, opera and concerts.

The building also housed soldiers from Scotland during both world wars.

OnFife, a cultural charity which runs the theatre, cited many famous names who have walked the Adam Smith stage, including James McAvoy, entertainer Jimmy Logan and former prime ministers James Callaghan and Gordon Brown.

OnFife’s collections team leader Gavin Grant said: “The theatre’s reopening is a wonderful opportunity to reunite the two presentation keys for the first time since 1899.

“We’re delighted that visitors to Kirkcaldy Galleries can view these significant objects from the town’s history over the coming year.”