The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Vast outdoor concrete map of Scotland

I am amazed by this latest example to reach me of the versitility of my favourite material: concrete.  It’s in the grounds of Barony Castle, Peebles, which is now a posh hotel, but which was a headquateres for Polish troops during WWII. They laid out a map of Scotland on the Castle’s putting green so they could plan coastal defence tactics. This however is not the wartime version of the map (no idea what that was made if) , but was created  by Kazimierz Trafas and a team of four young Polish geographers  in just a few weeks in 1975.  The Polish Commander, General Maczek  was one of many Poles who ended up st aying on in Scotland at the end of the war, and when the Castle  eventually came into the ownership of one of his former soldiers,  Jan Tomasik, they decided to create a great Map of Scotland in memory of the hospitality of its people and Poland’s part in its defence.

I am not sure exacly how the concrete was cast, (it seems to be mainly insitu, with several different mixes) or what the current conservation issues are.  It was originally  set in a sea of water and fitted with over 50 water spouts to operate its rivers., which must make its preservation pretty challenging.  It’s just been listed by Historic Scotland.  I’ve not seen anything like it, although there is a concrete  map of the Isle of Wight/paddleing pool in Ventnor.

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