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Barony Castle Hotel, the Great Polish Map of Scotland

A Category B Listed Building in Eddleston, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.712 / 55°42'43"N

Longitude: -3.2167 / 3°13'0"W

OS Eastings: 323653

OS Northings: 647177

OS Grid: NT236471

Mapcode National: GBR 52ZD.D7

Mapcode Global: WH6TR.KPGG

Entry Name: Barony Castle Hotel, the Great Polish Map of Scotland

Listing Date: 21 August 2012

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401045

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51957

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Eddleston

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale West

Parish: Eddleston

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

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Eddleston

Description

Designers: Kazimierz Trafas and Roman Wolnik with assistance from J Szewczuk, Z Olecki and M Raton, for Jan Tomasik, 1974-6. Large, 50m x 40m, sculptured concrete topographical relief map of mainland Scotland and Western Isles. 1:10000 scale with 500 percent vertical exaggeration, set within oval pool excavation 1.5 metres deep in garden ground to S of Barony Castle Hotel (see separate listing). Includes major geographical landmarks and river and loch system fed by network of pipes.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: coastal outline: shuttered concrete, 50 centimetres high, infilled with rubble, soil and concrete to provide level foundation for landmass above sea-level. Terraced core: brick, tin and concrete terraces scaled to nearest 300, 600 or 900 metres above sea-level. Surface: fine-mix concrete modelled to represent topography; embedded plastic pipes to feed water to major rivers, lochs and surrounding sea. Painted (traces remain, 2012) to illustrate land-use including urban and forest areas. Plastered, cinder-block retaining wall to pool.

Statement of Interest

The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a large and important cartographic sculpture in the grounds of Barony Castle Hotel (see separate listing). The Map serves to commemorate the presence of Polish forces in Scotland during World War II and their significant contribution to the allied war effort. Built on a scale of 1:10000, it is understood to be the largest topographical relief model of its kind in the United Kingdom by a considerable margin.

The map was constructed by five Polish geographers from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow using a range of unorthodox cartographic methods. Site preparation and construction of the coastal outline was carried out during a three week visit to Scotland in May/June 1974. Surface modelling was completed May to July the following year. The modelling of mountains, rivers and glens by hand on such an immense scale required an artistic eye for the spatial and geometric relationships across the surface of the map. The completed structure is a combination of precise survey technique and intuitive hand-crafting to create a convincing three-dimensional representation of Scotland when viewed from an elevated position.

After modelling was complete, the surface was coated to help protect against the elements and then painted to indicate land-use including forest and urban areas. The roughly oval-shaped excavation was filled with water containing blue dye to a depth of 50 centimetres. The original brief was expanded to include a water-feature which involved a network of imbedded pipes to feed water to the major rivers and lochs.The structure is a significant water-feature intervention within an established garden landscape setting.

The owner and proprietor of Barony Castle Hotel from 1969 to 1977 was Jan Tomasik - a Polish veteran of World War II who settled in Scotland after the war. While his specific intentions do not appear to have been recorded, it is generally considered that he conceived the giant map (with input from his former commander, General Stanislaw Mazcek who also settled in Scotland) in recognition of the hospitality shown by Scotland to Mazcek and his First Amoured Division during and after World War II. The map equally serves as a symbol of Poland's military contribution to the strategic defence of Scotland during the war, as well as the distinguished history of collaboration between the two nations more broadly.

Following the annexing of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, Polish forces made their way across Europe to Scotland to reconvene at a number of lowland locations including Barony Castle where a staff college for Polish army officers was established by 1942. Whilst reforming, they were tasked with creating defences for large sections of Scotland's east coast. A terrain map of Scotland is said to have been created in the grounds of Barony Castle in the winter of 1940 showing key roads, railways and the locations of military units. Such a map would have assisted with strategic planning and theoretical training exercises in unfamiliar terrain. The map was dismantled before the end of the war and although there is now no physical evidence of its existence (2012), one of the students who helped build the Great Polish Map, Janusz Szewczuk, has written that Jan Tomasik saw the original map while he was stationed at Barony Castle in 1941.

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