Presiding Officer (Elaine Smith):The final item of business is a members’ business
debate on motion S4M-03061, in the name of Christine
Grahame, on the great Polish map. The debate will be
concluded without any question being put.
That the Parliament recognises the historic significance of The Great Polish
Map of Scotland in the village of Eddleston in the
Scottish Borders, designed and built as a labour of love by a group of young
Polish geographers from the Jagellionian University
of Krakow in 1975 at the request of General Maczek,
former Polish wartime Commander of the 1st Armoured Division, and the war
veteran, Jan Tomasik; notes that this commemorates
the vital role of Polish forces in the defence of Scotland in the Second World
War and is a token of thanks to the people of Scotland for the hospitality and
friendship given to the Polish people not only during the war years but also in
the decades that followed; considers that this 50 x
40 metre, three-dimensional outdoor 1:10,000 scale model of Scotland, complete
with mountains, landscape, flowing rivers, estuaries, coasts and seas located
is a remarkable example of topographic landscape modelling of a complete
country, with a design and layout involving pioneering survey and construction
techniques with dynamic representation of major river basins using a
gravity-driven water supply; further congratulates Mapa
Scotland, a voluntary group established to protect and restore this unique
three dimensional representation, reminding Scots of the historical heritage
linking Poland with Scotland, and considers that this project deserves support.
Presiding Officer, it is a great pleasure to speak on the subject of
the great Polish map of Scotland.
It is also a great pleasure that the debate is being simultaneously translated
into Polish—a first for a language other than Scots or Gaelic. I said those few
faltering words in Polish with thanks to our many Polish colleagues in
Parliament—I thank Maria, Waldi, David and Monika—for
pronunciation lessons. I apologise for unintended errors, despite their best
I welcome the people in the public gallery, including the Polish consul, and I
remind all that there is a reception afterwards in TG.20 with the Polish
and representatives from the Barony hotel.
I thank all the members who signed the motion but, most of all, I thank Mapa Scotland—which is now a charity—which comprises a band
of enthusiastic volunteers who have secured funding of £20,000 from the
Heritage Lottery Fund, and listed status for the map from Historic Scotland.
Added to that is an agreement from the new owners of the Barony hotel in Eddleston in my constituency, where the map is located, on
match funding of £20,000 together with an access route to the map. When we
think that some £60,000 will secure materials, with free labour from
volunteers, Mapa has come a long way.
But—to the beginning. Constructed in 1975, the great Polish
map of Scotland
is reputedly a globally unique example of topographic landscape modelling of a
complete country. It is a very large—50m by 40m—three-dimensional outdoor scale
model of the Scottish landscape, with mountains, rivers, estuaries, coasts and
seas. It is located in a walled oval excavation that is 1.5m deep. I know that
it is large because, before health and safety officials stepped in, I jumped
down and stood on the Scottish Borders. Well, I would, wouldn’t I?
The map’s design and layout involved pioneering survey and construction
techniques and it incorporates a unique dynamic representation of major river
basins that uses a gravity-driven water supply. The map may commemorate a
defence strategy map that was used in the 1940s when Barony castle housed a
Polish military staff training college.
It was designed by young Polish geographers from the JagiellonianUniversity
in Krakow in 1975, at the
request of war veteran Jan Tomasik, who owned the
hotel at the time and who financed the project, provided the ground, procured
materials and recruited local labour for its construction. One of the labourers
was KazimierzTrafas and
the current Polish consul general is Dr TomaszTrafas. Yes—he is a close relative.
The map is a reminder of the vital role of Polish forces in the defence of Scotland
in the second world war, and of the hospitality and
friendship that was given to the Poles by the Scots, not only during the war
years but in the decades that followed and up to the present day.
Many Poles were unable to return to their homes because of political
persecution and border changes in Europe,
so they remained in Scotland.
One such person was the great General StanislawMaczek, who settled in Edinburgh
after the war and became a close family friend of the Tomasiks
and a regular guest at Barony castle. Maczek was
known as the most accomplished Polish tank commander of world
war 2. After the fall of France,
he and many of his men made their way to London
and formed the nucleus of a Polish armed force that was based in Scotland
and which defended our shoreline between Montrose and Dundee.
Maczek had long years of exile and was deprived of
his Polish citizenship by the post-war Stalinist regime. His life and Scottish
connection are worth commemorating. He lived to be 102 and died in Edinburgh.
The focus of work on the great map is the full restoration of the structure to
its original appearance, including, eventually, surrounding sea, flowing rivers
and lochs. The historic themes are the second world war
on the British home front and the relationship that developed between Polish
citizens and communities in Tweeddale and Midlothian.
The map was neglected and almost forgotten, as were the ties from wartime to
today. It is time to change that. As is the Italian chapel on Orkney, the map
is a symbol of our past—in this instance, it is the shared history of Poland
It deserves our attention and deserves to be restored.
There are at least 60,000 Polish people in Scotland.
The map represents our Polish and
W Szkocji mieszka przynajmniej 60,000 Polaków. Ta mapa reprezentuje polskie i
Now, wi ma heid
birlin with my Polish endeavours, I look forward to
the rest of the speeches—and, indeed, to the Polish translation of “wi ma heid birlin”.
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab):I
am delighted to speak in the debate and I thank Christine
Grahame for securing it. I apologise to the people
who have attended Parliament today, because I will not be able to attend the
reception after the debate, as I have to chair the cross-party group on China.
Such are the challenges of being a member of the Scottish Parliament.
The great Polish map of Scotland
and its restoration deserve more attention. The project will surely benefit
from the debate, as the volunteers seek to bring the attention of local people,
as well as people further afield, to that remarkable
model. I declare an interest, in that in a previous life it was a pleasure for
me to meet Jan Tomasik, when he was in business in Glasgow.
I found him to be an honourable man, who was committed to his home in Scotland
while always being mindful of his Polish origins. It is no surprise to me to
hear that he was whole-heartedly committed to the project.
We recognise the efforts of Dr Trafas, the Polish
consul general, and the incredible efforts of the young Polish geographers from
the university in Krakow
who contributed so much to the design and build of the map in 1975.
The map serves to commemorate not only the crucial role of Polish forces in
helping to defend Scotland during the second world war, but the warmth and
hospitality with which Polish troops were greeted and with which a new
generation has been greeted. It also reflects the warmth that Poles have
brought to Scotland
and the friendships that have been built here.
I have been pleased to meet Graham Russell and Keith
Burns of MapaScotland,
and I went to see the map on several occasions in June and July, during the
terrible rains. I could see the effect of the dampness on the map then.
work is to be commended. The restoration of the great map is a significant
project. The map is huge by any description—it is 50m by 40m—and it is a
three-dimensional scale model of Scotland
that includes its mountains, rivers, estuaries, coasts and seas. It has a
gravity-driven water supply, and there is plenty of water supplying it.
The project is large and daunting, but the map has fantastic potential. When it
is restored, it could play a significant role in increasing tourism to the
area. It could be used in an educational context to honour the historic links
to which my friend Christine
Grahame alluded. The project is therefore worth
I am very glad, as other members clearly are, that
Historic Scotland has awarded the map B-listed status for its contribution to Scotland’s
built heritage. That will help the restoration project as it moves forward, and
I know that the volunteers who are involved in MapaScotland
are delighted with the decision. The decision will also help to protect the map
from any change of ownership at the Barony hotel in the future. That is a real
concern, given that the hotel was recently on the market. The fact that it has
now been sold and, under the auspices of an Edinburgh-based group, will be
branded with Mercure signage by the end of next month
is some comfort to all in South Scotland. I trust that the new owners will
co-operate with the Polish community, MapaScotland
and others to deliver a future for the map and the memories of all those
Jean Urquhart (Highlands and Islands) (SNP):I
Grahame on securing the debate, which is timely, as
it was announced on Monday that the great Polish map has been awarded listed
status. The map is undoubtedly worthy of protection, and I am delighted that
future generations will be able to admire the attention to detail in that
unique structure, which looks extraordinary. The use of gravity-driven water to
recreate our rivers and lochs is truly magnificent.
I am sure that all members who will speak in the debate will concur on the
map’s historic importance, not only as a feat of architecture and a reminder of
the sacrifices that Polish soldiers made during world war two, but as a symbol
of the long-standing links between Poland and Scotland that were forged in that
era and which have remained strong ever since. I want to concentrate on that
connection, which has continued to the present day.
A number of years ago, Ross and Cromarty District Council twinned with the
region that is known as the “Polish Highlands”. Sometimes people wonder whether
civic twinning has any real purpose, but that twinning did have real purpose
for our education—we learned a number of things. We learned about the thousands
of Scots who went to Poland
and settled there in the previous two centuries, and about a pipe band from
there, which marched all over Ross and Cromarty on several occasions. Its
bagpipes were fantastic and they looked quite unlike ours. They had no tartan,
but they were made of sheepskin. That stayed in my mind. The band played as
beautifully as ours do.
All of Scotland
has benefited from the special relationship with Poland—I
think particularly of the Polish food shops that can now be found in any city
and our supermarkets’ dedication to providing Polish produce. The Highlands
and Islands in particular have
attracted a large number of Poles. As late as 2004, the Highlands
and Islands were threatened
with yet further depopulation, but the situation has changed dramatically. Inverness
is still one of Europe’s
fastest-growing cities. That growth is concurrent with economic regeneration
and is attributable in part to Inverness’s
active and dynamic Polish community, which now forms roughly 10 per cent of its
population. Across the Highlands
and Islands, approximately 69
per cent of all immigrants come from Poland,
which shows the strong ties that exist between our two nations.
The mutual benefit of those ties is evident. They contribute hugely to civic
life in Inverness and the
surrounding region. I was privileged to have the chance to recognise that when
I was able to invite ZosiaWierzbowicz-Fraser,
the chair of the Inverness Polish Association, to be my local hero at the
opening of Parliament last summer. Among other activities, Zosia
has organised translation services and accommodation, and the Inverness Polish
Association has acted as a welcoming group that helps Poles to settle and to feel
welcome in the city.
In contributing so much to society, Zosia is typical
of the Polish community in Scotland.
I am sure that all of us in this chamber recognise the value to future
generations of growing up in towns, cities and villages in which many cultures
are known and celebrated, and in which an awareness of our place in the world
and that of others helps to inculcate a sense of internationalism and global
citizenry. I am sure that that will be all the more beneficial when Scotland
regains its place in the community of nations.
Once again, I welcome the continuing restoration of the map.
The story of the great Polish map of Scotland
in Eddleston embodies much more than the important
structure itself. It is a story with meaning and it is a story of history,
romance and friendship. Some of that remarkable history has already been
recounted. As has already been referred to, the map is claimed to be the
largest outdoor relief map in the world, and I believe that it is the totem for
a drama-documentary or even a film. The map was the vision of General Maczek—a true Polish military hero—and his friend, Jan Tomasik, which was realised in this 2,000m2,
three-dimensional model of our nation.
The history of the map encompasses a friendship that involves the fall of France
and the 10th armoured cavalry brigade of Polish forces being stationed at
Barony castle. Those Polish forces were befriended by the Scottish people and
were entrusted by the War Office to plan a defence of Scotland’s
east coast during world war two. That defence was based on a map of the
Scottish landscape that they developed.
At that point, history turns to romance. Under the command of the hero, General
Maczek, the courageous Polish soldiers, including Maczek and Tomasik, played a
significant part in the Normandy
landings and the liberation of Europe.
However, that was only the start of the romance. Due to the post-war political
situation in Poland
and the fact that he was a great leader and hero of the people, Maczek found himself—along with many brave Polish
soldiers—in exile in Scotland.
Jan Tomasik, who had been billeted at Barony castle,
eventually bought the hotel in 1968—I believe that there is no such thing as
coincidence. He then found his friend and wartime commander, the non-pensioned Maczek, working as a barman in Edinburgh.
À la Eisenhower and Culzean castle, he took Maczek home and installed him in a suite in Barony castle,
and there the two planned a way of ensuring that their wartime strategy map
could be remembered in a more permanent form, which resulted in the great
Polish map of Scotland that we have today and which we wish to be fully
restored in all its glory—not just as a tourist attraction, but as a testament
to the relationship between the Scots and Polish peoples.
Four minutes can never do justice to the history—real or romantic—of the mapa. What the mapa does is
confirm the friendship and the strong bond between two soldiers—two men—and
between our two countries.
The Polish consul general, TomaszTrafas,
is a brother of the person who designed the mapa—as I
said, there is no such thing as coincidence. In a recent interview, he said
that the map is
rare symbol of the broader heritage and a symbol of the cultural links between Poland
We could not have put it better.
(West Scotland) (Con):I, too, thank Christine
Grahame for securing the debate. The great Polish map
that was conceived by General Maczek and Jan Tomasik is a remarkable and enduring tribute to the warm
relationship between exiled Polish forces and the people of Scotland
that was prominent during the second world war. It is
also a tribute to the skills of the young geographers from the Jagiellonian University of Kraków
who, in 1975, created the map on the site of the former wartime tactical map
that their Polish predecessors had designed on the putting green of the hotel.
It would be regrettable if this unusual tribute and memorial were to risk
sustained deterioration. It is encouraging that, in 2010, the Mapa Scotland group was formed to restore the map fully to
its original condition and to promote it as a heritage monument, educational
resource and visitor attraction. The £20,000 grant from the UK Heritage Lottery
Fund is a welcome boost, as is the co-operation of the hotel owners, to which Christine
Grahame referred. I congratulate them and MapaScotland
on their endeavours. The recently conferred listed status should afford further
Of course, the great Polish map of Scotland
is just one development that reflects the long-standing relationship between Scotland
I will broaden out the debate to explore and comment on that.
Polish immigration has enriched Scotland’s
culture and has strengthened our economy over many years. If I may be permitted
a little self-indulgence, I note that one of my favourite composers is Frédéric Chopin. He is widely regarded as perhaps the
greatest Polish composer and is among the greatest composers of all time for
the piano. An important influence on Chopin’s life was his Scottish pupil, Jane
Stirling. With her encouragement, he visited Scotland
in 1848, staying at Calder house, near Edinburgh,
and at Johnstone castle in Renfrewshire,
my home area. While he was in Edinburgh,
he spent time residing at the home of a Polish doctor, Adam Lyszczynski,
by whom he was being treated. By contrast, Renfrewshire
must have seemed slightly forbidding, as Chopin wrote to his friend, WojciechGrzymala:
“The weather has changed and it is dreadful outside.”
Some things do not change very much.
The connections between Poland
are of long standing. In 2012, although not a lot has changed about the Renfrewshire weather, the social climate for our Renfrewshire Polish community is very positive. In
February, the Renfrewshire Polish Association was
established to bring support to the Polish community living in Renfrewshire and to promote Polish culture in the area. The
association’s activities are directed at various age groups, and it aims to
provide access to the widest possible part of the Polish community but with a
focus on Renfrewshire. Its objectives are to organise
events for children, encouraging their development and integration with peers
and teaching them the Polish language; to organise events related to Polish
traditions and culture; to hold events that allow the Polish minority to
integrate with the Scottish community and other national minorities in Renfrewshire; to encourage self-development and improve
self-confidence within the Polish community; and, importantly, to assist with
the acquisition and improvement of work-related qualifications and language
Given that Polish immigrants face many challenges, the Renfrewshire
Polish Association, with its committed volunteers, is doing excellent work both
to support my local Polish community and to enhance Renfrewshire.
I thank the association for that invaluable work. Given the abundance of
musical talent in Renfrewshire, perhaps the Renfrewshire Polish Association would like to consider a Frédéric Chopin celebratory event in memory of his visit to
Johnstone 164 years ago. Without doubt, any
problems of weather would be more than eclipsed by the beauty of his music.
I thank all our Polish residents, wherever they are in Scotland,
for enriching our Scottish communities.
(Mid Scotland and Fife) (SNP):Thank you, Presiding Officer, and dziendobry—I hope that that has successfully communicated
my greeting to you of good afternoon, in Polish. I, too, welcome the Polish
consul to the public gallery. I have had the pleasure of meeting the consul on
many occasions in Perth.
I congratulate my colleague Christine
Grahame on securing this important debate and thank
her for giving us the opportunity to highlight not just the considerable
achievements of those who were behind the great Polish map of Scotland,
but the wider and deeper connections between our countries that that wonderful
endeavour represents. We have heard something of that already in the debate.
The efforts to ensure that the map is restored and preserved, which have been
described, are to be welcomed.
Before I turn to the deep connections between my home patch of Perthshire and Poland,
I will briefly mention my personal links with Poland.
I had the privilege of attending a summer school at the JagiellonianUniversity
in Kraków in July and August of 1982, some months
after martial law had been declared and after trade sanctions had been imposed.
I was there as part of a student exchange programme that was, uniquely, allowed
to go ahead in those particular circumstances. It was a formative experience
and led to my participation, some months later in December of that year, with
some pride, in a march in support of Solidarnosc, in Amsterdam
where I was studying at the time. I was keen to participate in that march of
solidarity, having had those personal experiences in Poland.
I have maintained a deep affection for and interest in Poland
since that time.
The same applies to Perthshire, whose connections with Poland
run deep. For example, the links can be seen in the fact that Perth
and Kinross Council has been twinned with the Polish
city of Bydgoszcz
for many years and, more poignantly, that a special section of Wellshill cemetery in Perth
is set aside for Polish war graves from the second world war.
Indeed, 381 members of the Polish forces lie at rest in Wellshill,
which is about half of all the Polish war graves in Scotland.
Many Polish forces were based in Perthshire and, after the war, a great many
stayed on, marrying locally, bringing up families and becoming an important
part of the local community. That is one reason why a quick perusal of the
local telephone book in Perth
shows that many people with Polish surnames live in the area.
As part of the year of homecoming in 2009, Horsecross
Arts, a multi-award-winning arts organisation in Perth,
staged “Scottish Tides-Polish Spring”, which was a three-month-long cultural
feast celebrating centuries of close connections between Scotland
As we have heard, the relationship is a special one that began with the
relocation of tens of thousands of Scots to Poland
in the late 16th century and the creation of trade links with the Baltic. The
relationship has carried on through the centuries, including through the awful
events of world war two and the dramatic emigration of Polish people to Scotland
in recent years. More than 22,000 Polish people now make their home in Scotland,
many in Perthshire.
In recent years, they have been joined by a new wave of Perthshire Poles, with
Polish shops and cafes being established in Perth.
We also have the Frederick Chopin Saturday Polish school
and the Perth Polish support group, which provides a meeting place for advice
and support where members can access resources and information to help them to
cope with issues that are related to living and working in a new country.
I am proud that so many Poles have chosen to make a home in Scotland,
and particularly in Perthshire. It is absolutely right that we should mark,
strengthen and celebrate the links between our two countries, and supporting
the work of MapaScotland
is one important way of doing so. Dziekuje, or thank you, Presiding Officer.
Nigel Don (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP):Given
my well-known skill at languages, I will duck any attempt to pronounce anything
in Polish, but I am glad that we have an opportunity to discuss this important
issue. As usual, when I am this far down the batting list, I have no intention
of repeating what has already been said, except to thank Christine
Grahame for securing the debate.
I am grateful to Christine
Grahame for pointing out that, although the Poles
came—and were welcomed—here as a result of their retreat from Europe,
they took it upon themselves to defend parts of Scotland.
That includes in my patch, up to Montrose.
For many Poles, home was in Forfar, which is an ancient town in Angus. To this day, there are two plaques in Forfar that
commemorate the presence of Polish forces. A plaque on Market Street, by the
sheriff court building, commemorates a royal visit by King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth, along with General Sikorski—he, of the
famous helicopters, I think—on 7 March 1941.
The other plaque, situated on the wall by the Forfar cross in the middle of
town, commemorates the 10th Polish reconnaissance group’s stay in Forfar during
the war. That group, as was mentioned, went on to take part in the Normandy
campaign. The following words are engraved on the plaque:
commemorate the sojourn of the 10th Polish reconnaissance group in the royal
and ancient borough of Forfar.18 October 1940—3 April 1942.
Gifted to the town by the unit on their departure.”
The unit was obviously grateful, and I can tell members why. The troops were
not billeted in barracks, but were placed with local families. I suspect that
that was typical of what happened around Scotland,
and it is probably the reason why there is a great bond of friendship. The
Poles formed a band and a choir in the town, and apparently performed regularly
in the Pavilion picture house on a Sunday, giving concerts to locals to raise
money for the war effort. Later, the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, the
reconnaissance unit, three signals companies and a grenadier battalion stayed
in Forfar, too.
I am told that one abiding memory is that the troops, when not training, helped
with the tattie harvest—I am not sure how tattie will come out in the Official Report. Apparently
they did so in pressed uniforms and white gloves, which must have been quite
funny to see. That just goes to show how professional they were and how loved
they were when they left. They clearly enjoyed their time in Forfar.
I am grateful to Christine
Grahame for lodging the motion for debate. I have to
say that Mapa Scotland is a wonderful model—I wish
that I had one in my constituency because, boy, would we make something of it.
Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP):Like Nigel Don, I was impressed by the Polish words
spoken by Christine
Grahame and others but I, too, will not attempt to
replicate them. I wish to thank Christine
Grahame and congratulate her on bringing the debate
to the chamber. I congratulate everyone involved in MapaScotland’s
restoration work and, of course, General Maczek and
Jan Tomasik for working so hard on developing the
1,200m² map of Scotland.
As others have done, I want to touch on Scotland’s
wider links with Poland.
There are links to Poland
in my constituency—every year, we celebrate the Largs
Viking festival to commemorate the 1263 victory of Scotland
over the Vikings. Walomin, in Poland,
has a Viking festival every year, too, so links are being established between
Ayrshire and Poland
as a result of the shared history in that area.
In the early modern period or the later middle ages, there was a tremendous
emigration of Scots to Poland.
We think about the 60,000-plus Poles who now live in Scotland,
but think about bygone days—between 1600 and 1650, some 50,000 Scots emigrated to Poland
at a time when Scotland
had a population of fewer than 1 million people. Most of those emigrants came
from Aberdeenshire, Dundee
and the east coast of Scotland.
They had a tremendous impact on Polish culture and society. Of course, in 1610,
when the Poles captured Moscow,
there were many Scottish mercenaries in the Polish forces. In 1683, when King JohnSobieski of Poland
defeated the Turks outside Vienna,
once again Scots participated. The Sobieski Stuarts
are, as we know, a pretender family to the throne of the United
We also think that Poland
has often had a tragic history. A century ago, there was no Poland
as we now know it—it was divided between the emperors of Russia,
Yet, in being divided among those three empires, the Polish nation was reborn
at the end of the first world war, even managing to
resist a Soviet invasion led by General Tukhachevsky
in 1920. I understand that Ed Miliband’s
great-grandfather took part, on the Soviet side, in that invasion.
In the second world war, many thousands of Poles came
and fought to defend Scotland
and the UK.
They hoped, at some time, to go home, but because of the Stalinist rule of Poland,
it was not safe for many of them to do so. Many Poles settled in Scotland,
married Scottish people and became very much a part of our culture. Growing up,
I had Polish friends and friends who had one Polish parent. Polish people have
certainly made a great contribution.
Poles are famous for their hard work and determination to look after their
families, make a success of life and make the best of what Scotland
has to offer.
One famous Scot who went to Poland
was Alexander Chalmers, who was four times elected
mayor of Warsaw
in the 17th century. A tombstone for him, with a lengthy Latin inscription, was
erected in 1703 in the cathedral of St
The cathedral was utterly destroyed during the heroic Warsaw
rising of 1944 when the Poles rose up against the Nazis, failed to get any help
from their erstwhile Soviet allies and were crushed as a result.
There is much to celebrate in the cultures of Scotland
and their friendship and shared history. While Poland
is no longer the America
of the day that it was to Scots in the 17th century, there is still tremendous
sympathy for Poland
among many Scottish people. I have no doubt that many Poles in Scotland
today have ancestors from Scotland
who settled in Poland
all those centuries ago.
I am particularly grateful to Christine
Grahame for securing a debate on the great Polish map
and indeed challenging us all on the basis that this is the first time that we
have had a simultaneous interpretation into Polish in the Parliament. I welcome
the Polish consul general and our Polish friends in the gallery.
In closing what has been a fascinating debate, I add my support to Parliament’s
recognition of the great Polish map of Scotland.
The map represents a significant contribution to the cultural life of Scotland
and is an opportunity to enhance our continuing strong cultural and economic
links with Poland.
I was struck by the passionate testimony of Graeme
Pearson, Jean Urquhart, Chic Brodie,
Annabel Goldie, Annabelle Ewing, Nigel Don and Kenny Gibson, who recognised the
historic and modern connections between Poland
I add the Government’s voice to the congratulations expressed by members to MapaScotland’s
volunteers. Those dedicated individuals have campaigned tirelessly to protect and
restore this unique three-dimensional map of Scotland.
This is a timely moment to show our appreciation of the contribution that has
been made to Scotland
by Polish people who have settled here.
I welcome the decision by Historic Scotland earlier this week to list the map.
It reflects the wide interest in the map and showcases Scotland’s
shared history, culture and creativity, and the unique contribution to Scotland’s
defence during the second world war.
Recently, the director of conservation at Historic Scotland met senior staff
from the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Polish Ministry of Energy and Poland’s
National Heritage Board to discuss our climate change work on heritage and
traditional buildings. Together, we have started a journey to raise the profile
of cultural diplomacy, with the potential to produce a global impact on how
nations relate to one another and build trust and understanding between
It is appropriate to explain why the map has been recognised by Historic Scotland.
As we have heard, it is a vast three-dimensional concrete representation of Scotland,
which is found in the grounds of Barony castle hotel near Eddleston
in the Borders. It is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The map was
constructed in 1975 by five imaginative Polish geographers from the JagiellonianUniversity
in Kraków using a range of unorthodox cartographic
methods. The completed structure is a combination of precise survey technique
and intuitive handcrafting to create a convincing three-dimensional
representation of Scotland.
The map is an incredible thing. Ben Nevis
is easily identifiable at a glance, and the map originally had water flowing
through it to represent Scotland’s
main lochs and rivers.
Following the annexing of Poland
by Nazi Germany in 1939, Polish forces made their way across Europe
to reconvene at a number of lowland locations. Those included Barony house,
where a staff college for Polish army officers was established. Part of their
role was to create defences for large sections of Scotland’s
east coast. As Scotland
was largely undefended, Polish forces were deployed to aid in the building of
defences. Many examples of those defences survive in the landscape today,
including pillboxes and anti-landing obstacles, many of which are scheduled or
listed in recognition of their place in our military history.
It was at the request of General StanislawMaczek, the former wartime commander of the First Polish
Armoured Division, and the war veteran Jan Tomasik that
the great Polish map was commissioned in the 1970s. The conception,
commissioning and execution of the giant map were quite remarkable and
inspired. It was conceived to commemorate a wartime strategic map that was
originally laid out in the grounds of Barony house by Maczek
as commanding officer. We owe a debt to those courageous Poles for their great
legacy, and we recognise the vital contribution that they made not only to the
defence of Scotland
during the war years, but in the decades that followed.
Of the 50,000 service personnel who were based in Scotland,
10,000 decided to stay and settle. We have heard stories about some of them
during the debate. In more recent times, links with Poland
have continued, with the accession of Poland
to the European Union in 2004, and there has been a dramatic increase in the
number of Polish people making a new home in Scotland.
More than 61,000 Polish migrants have registered to live and work in Scotland,
and Poles make up the biggest percentage of nationals from the accession states
who have settled in Scotland.
Polish migrants came to my constituency 150 years ago to work in the mines, so
in West Lothian we talk of three
waves of Polish immigration. This year, we saw the largest ever Polska arts programme at the Edinburgh
international festival, which included a modern interpretation of Macbeth that was wholly performed in Polish with English
subtitles. I met the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage when he
attended the international culture summit and had the pleasure of attending the
opening performance of the Polish Macbeth with him
and the Polish consul general, and the Adam Mickiewicz
institute of culture.
Although the contribution of Poles in Scotland in the modern era is one that
has been stimulated by a new Europe—one that is no longer hindered by the
destructive forces of war but held together by the common goal of peace and
prosperity—there are lessons to be learned from the past. Scotland
continue to maintain strong links in the present, but it is important to
recognise the efforts of those committed individuals and organisations that
bind the Scottish-Polish community. We have heard many examples of such efforts
I congratulate the Mapa Scotland group of volunteers,
who formed a charitable trust to bring the great Polish map of Scotland
into focus. In 2010, they began their enthusiastic campaign to have the map
protected and repaired for the benefit of future generations and to reinforce Scotland’s
heritage links with Poland.
The campaign to restore the map is now well under way and the Mapa Scotland group has secured heritage lottery funding to
advance its plans.
I have been very pleased to confirm that, as a creative nation that is rich in
heritage and which contributes to the world,Scotland
is open to vital cultural exchange. It is appropriate to celebrate the great
map of Scotland
in the Scottish Borders as an important and unique memorial that commemorates
the achievements of two countries working together. In securing the debate, Christine
Grahame has allowed us to celebrate the work that the
volunteers have done. More importantly, we have had an opportunity to remember,
commemorate and celebrate the heritage that led to the map’s creation and,
vitally, to continued dialogue, exchange and friendship between the people of Scotland
and the people of Poland.
Meeting closed at
TomaszTrafas Polish consul general, was present for
the debate in the public gallery (front row third from right);
present in the gallery were the grandson, greatgrandson
and son of Jan Tomasik who also bear that name same
name (fourth row);
Burns, secretary MapaScotland (front row, on left),
with Nick Macdonald chair (second row, third from left), Graham Russell
treasurer (second row, on right)
and Roger Kelly, founder of the
campaign to restore the Great Polish Map of Scotland (third row, on left).