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25 Apr 2019

Remembering the Peace 1919

Written by Pauline Butler, Volunteer Archivist/Historian at Inverewe
The Peace Stone: dedicated by Osgood Mackenzie to recognise the peace-making after the Great War.
‘To commemorate peace after the Great War in 1919’, Osgood Mackenzie of Inverewe created a ‘Peace Shrubbery’ and inscribed this dedication on a large boulder.

Between 28 June and 28 August, Inverewe will remember the peace-making of 1919 with willow sculptures, flower displays and an exhibition.

In 2014, specially commissioned willow sculptures, representing gardeners and a ‘War Horse’ leaving for the Western Front in 1914, were created by Trevor Leat for the Walled Garden. These have been conserved and are now installed in the area close to the Peace Stone.

Willow sculptures at Inverewe, representing gardeners and a ‘War Horse’ leaving for the Western Front in 1914
The willow sculptures at Inverewe

Three further figures (a uniformed soldier, sailor and nurse returning to the Garden at the end of the War) will join them in early summer. The figures make their way through a glade of unusual white foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmation White’, which have recently been planted. The long borders in front of Inverewe House will also feature selected white flowers, including Lilium ‘Casablanca’, Galtonia candicans and Cosmos.

In collaboration with Gairloch Heritage Museum, as part of an ongoing ‘Remembering our Heroes’ project, a small exhibition in the potting shed adjacent to Inverewe House will tell the story of the Inverewe family –Osgood Mackenzie, his daughter Mairi and her husband, Robert Hanbury – during the years of the First World War. It includes photographs and cards from Mairi’s albums and notes Robert made in his Game Book.

The Peace Stone: dedicated by Osgood Mackenzie to recognise the peace-making after the Great War.
The Peace Stone: dedicated by Osgood Mackenzie to recognise the peace-making after the Great War.

From the day that war broke out on 4 August 1914, Osgood, Mairi and Robert committed themselves to doing all possible to serve King and Country. Robert became the Recruiting Officer for the local regiment, 4th Seaforth Highlanders, and Mairi offered their Tournaig home for Red Cross nurses’ training. The family were often guests at the Loch Ewe naval base in Aultbea and reciprocated by inviting the officers to picnics on the moor. Once the war was over, Robert arranged a presentation ceremony for Alexander Mackenzie, a local ‘hero’ who had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct medal, and ‘gave all the returned soldiers and their ladies a day on Loch Maree. They had a bonfire at Poolewe on Peace night which was very wet.’ Towards the end of 1919, he and Mairi travelled to France and saw for themselves the ruins of war.

After four years of recognising the significance of the fighting, it seems appropriate to contemplate the signing of the peace treaties in 1919 through these poignant displays in some of the most beautiful and tranquil areas of Inverewe Garden.

A beautiful view across Inverewe
A beautiful view across Inverewe

Visit Inverewe between 28 June and 28 August for this special event.

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