Peter Fyfe (1854-1940), Chief Sanitary Inspector and Glasgow's first Director of Housing.
Born in Glasgow, Fyfe entered the service of the Corporation in 1879 as an engineer in the Cleansing Department, just as the department was beginning to treat city refuse by machinery for the first time at the site of the old Glasgow Iron Co's works in St Rollox. He was appointed Chief Sanitary Inspector in 1885.
Fyfe became an acknowledged authority on the link between Glasgow's squalid housing conditions and public health. He campaigned for improved public housing, with lectures and pamphlets such as Housing of the labouring classes and Building construction in relation to public health. He also took photographs to back up his arguments.
In 1919 Fyfe was given the opportunity to practice what he preached when he was appointed Director of Housing, as post he held until his retirement in 1923. The first major council housing schemes at Riddrie and Mosspark were built at that time.
Among his other interests, Fyfe was a noted chess player. His name lives on in an opening he devised, the Fyfe gambit.
Reference: Mitchell Library, Gf 920.04 WHO
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
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