Pennylands Camp 22 - Dumfries House Estate

Researching the history of a WWII POW Camp

Cumnock History Group has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today. This exciting project, Pennylands Camp 22 on the Dumfries House Estate and led by Cumnock History Group, has been given £10,000 to explore the history of this WWII POW Camp.

Cumnock History Group works with volunteers who are interested in the rich history and cultural heritage of Cumnock and the surrounding area and how this can be shared with everyone. These volunteers are our History Champions!

Archaeologists have uncovered much of the physical layout and uses of the camp and unearthed intriguing personal finds such as badge moulds, toys, bottles and military insignia. We will build upon this work through oral history, desk and archival-based research, and an archaeological survey of the remains of a camp hut. 

Oral history research will capture the memories of people who lived in or near the camp during its occupancy and who were themselves, or remember, its inhabitants. Given the passage of time, there is now a great urgency to record and preserve their memories before their knowledge and unique experiences are lost. 

Our History Champions will receive comprehensive oral history training with support from Dr Sue Morrison, Oral History Consultant, to digitally record interviews and produce audio clips. Our Champions will also be trained by Cumnock History Group in conducting primary and secondary research, focusing on the camp’s inhabitants, uses and its eventual demise.

The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust is supporting the project through hospitality and web based resources. The Trust's Curator, Thomas Breckney is also providing supporting history materials for the project. Addyman Archaeology will deliver a two-day event where volunteers and members of the public can discover the base of one of the remaining camp huts and learn a range of professional recording and desk-based assessment techniques. 

History Champions and the wider public will take part in a range of activities, including a reminiscence and launch event, educational talks at Dumfries House and the Baird Museum in Cumnock and a celebratory event at the end of the project. The Champions will help produce a mobile exhibition, website and social media pages, digital information packs and assist with public lectures and school presentations to further circulate project findings. The Pennylands Camp 22 project will start in January and end in October 2017.

Commenting on the award, Bobby Grierson, Chair of Cumnock History Group said: “it’s fantastic that we have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started. We are eager to discover more about the Pennylands camp, its inhabitants and its impact on the local community. We are all really excited about involving more people and sharing this heritage and history with everyone.”

Lucy Casot Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Pennylands Camp 22 is a fine example of HLF’s Sharing Heritage programme that, thanks to National Lottery players, makes it possible for local people to choose what is important to them, what they want to save, and how they want to spread the word throughout their community.”