A blue plaque was unveiled in the former Scottish-Czechoslovakian House by Honorary Consul Veronika Macleod and Mrs. Alenka Soukup, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Soukup, who founded the house in 1940, which was officially opened by President Beneš in 1941.
This plaque was unveiled as a reminder of the good relations between Scotland and the Czech Republic and as a memorial to the Czechoslovak soldiers who fought for our freedom in WW2 and this house was their home away from home and the Scotland was their second home.
Also in attendance were the Dodds, the current owners of the home at 34 Lauder Road. Fiona and John Dodds, had suggested that a blue plaque would commemorate the good relations between our countries and our common history. They have visited the Czech Republic many times without knowing about these relations. The Scottish-Czechoslovak House Blue Plaque was sponsored by Mr. Denham Mather.
Among the guests present were also the historian Eduard Stehlík and Ms Olga Franks who represented the former Scottish and Czechoslovak Fund, which has made support efforts for our communities for twenty years, while raising funds for students come to study the summer courses of the University. It’s amazing that sixty years after the opening of the Scottish-Czechoslovakian house, they held their annual garden parties just a few blocks away. Another guest, the second headmistress of the Czech CIC school in Scotland Mrs. Radka Petersen, received, together with Veronika Macleod, a bust of the first Czechoslovak president. To thank Mrs. Macleod for her efforts and her research on the history of relations between Scotland and Czechoslovakia, Mrs. Alenka Soukup presented the Czech school with a bust of TG Masaryk. The bust originally belonged to Jan Masaryk and has now returned to Scotland after many decades and will remain the property of the school. Ms Macleod spoke to guests about TGM and her family’s relationship with Scotland.
Dr. Stehlík, author of the exhibition “Czech Footprints in Scotland”, presented it to the public at the Honorary Consulate. He spoke about the events around the Second World War and the links between then Czechoslovakia and Scotland. The best-known success of this era was Operation Anthropoid, and Privates Kubiš and Gabčík also visited the Scottish-Czechoslovakian home in Edinburgh before undertaking their SOE training at Arisaig.
These events in Edinburgh supported fundraising for a recent renovation project at the Arisaig Czechoslovak Parachute Memorial, organized by E. Stehlík, M. Matějíček with support from P. Millar, V. Macleod and others. You can learn more about fundraising here.
A third event in cooperation with Czech School Scotland and the Consulate introduced the Czech Footprints in Scotland exhibition to the wider community. The school has managed to carry on the legacy of its predecessors since 2018.