Friday, May 7, 2010

Restoration of a 3-Dimensional Map of Scotland

Here's a worthwhile project that deserves support.

General Stanislaw Maczek (1892–1994) was a World War 2 Polish tank commander, born in Lwów (then in Austria-Hungary), of Croation ancestry.  After the fall of France, Maczek and many of his men made their way through Africa and Portugal to London, and formed the nucleus of a Polish armoured unit based in Scotland for four years. 

General Maczek’s Great Polish Map of Scotland stands in the grounds of Barony Castle, Eddleston, Peeblesshire, later the Black Barony Hotel, now the Barony Castle hotel.
Scotland's Places says the property came into the hands of the Murrays of Blackbarony, cadets of the Murrays of Falahill, early in the 16th century, and in 1771 passed to the Murrays of Elibank.
During the war, the castle was in use by Polish forces, and there is speculation that an outdoor outline map was one of the features used to help plan the defence of the Scottish coastline.

In this setting, General Maczek and his friends had the idea of a map of Scotland as a permanent three-dimensional reminder of Scotland’s hospitality to his compatriots.  The map was laid out in 1975 by Kazimierz Trafas, a young Polish student.

I remember seeing photos of the completed work and it was awe-inspiring then.

More detail and stunning photographs in a BBC article, and in the Restoration Committee's site, from which much of the text is taken.

General Maczek deserves to be remembered not only as a war hero, but for this map, which is an icon of sculptural art and also a poignant reminder of the threats that Scotland faced during the War.

To comment on this article, please click the 'comments' link below. 

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