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Photo: Veronika Macleod
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New memorial plaque unveiled at former Scottish-Czechoslovak house in Edinburgh

A blue plaque was unveiled at the former Scottish-Czechoslovak house by Honorary Consul Veronika Macleod and Ms Alenka Soukup, daughter of Dr and Mrs Soukup, who founded the house in 1940, which was officially opened by President Beneš in 1941.

Thes plaque was unveiled as a reminder of good relations between Scotland and The Czech Republic and as a memorial to the Czechoslovak soldiers who fought for our freedom in the 2nd world war and this house was their home from home and Scotland was their second home.

In attendance were also the Dodds, the present owners of the house at 34 Lauder Road. Fiona and John Dodds, had suggested that a blue plaque would commemorate the good relations between our countries and our shared history. They have visited the Czech Republic on many occasions without knowing about these connections. The blue plaque for the Scottish-Czechoslovak House was sponsored by Mr Denham Mather.

Among the guests present were also historian Eduard Stehlík, and Mrs Olga Franks who represented the former Scottish, Czechoslovak fund, which made supportive efforts for our communities for twenty years, when fundraising for students to come over to study the University summer courses. It is amazing, that sixty years after opening of the Scottish-Czechoslovak House, they held their annual garden parties just a few streets aways. Another guest, second director of the Czech School Scotland CIC Mrs Radka Petersen, received, together with Veronika Macleod, a bust of the first Czechoslovak president. To thank Ms Macleod for her efforts and research of the history of Scottish – Czechoslovak relations, Ms Alenka Soukup had gifted the Czech school a bust of T. G. Masaryk. The bust had been originally owned by Jan Masaryk and now has returned to Scotland after many decades, and will stay in school ownership. Ms Macleod talked to guests about the relationship of T. G. M. and his family to Scotland.

Dr Stehlík, author of the exhibition 'Czech footprints in Scotland', has presented it to the public at the Honorary Consulate. He talked about events around the Second World War and ties between the then Czechoslovakia and Scotland. The best known success of those times was Operation Anthropoid, and soldiers Kubiš and Gabčík also visited the Scottish-Czechoslovak house in Edinburgh before undertaking their SOE training in Arisaig.

Those events in Edinburgh underpinned the fundraising for a recent renovation project for the Arisaig Czechoslovak paratroopers memorial, organised by E. Stehlík, M. Matějíček with the support of P. Millar, V. Macleod and others. You can learn more about the fundraising in here.

A third event in cooperation with Czech School Scotland and the Consulate introduced the exhibition Czech footprints in Scotland to the wider community. The school has managed to carry on the legacy of its predecessors since 2018.


Scottish-Czechoslovak House Plaque