About Pennylands, Camp 22

Cumnock History Group has received a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant. This exciting project, Pennylands Camp 22 on the Dumfries House Estate 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!

Addyman Archaeology and Cumnock History Group calls on the local community to get digging!

The Pennylands Camp 22 project community archaeological excavation is set for the weekend of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th March on the Dumfries House estate.

We will be on site between 10am – 4pm on both days. The excavation will investigate the remaining WWII hut bases south of the adventure playground. We plan to clear one or more of the hut bases of moss and vegetation with hoes, shovels and trowels so that we can record how they were built and lived in. We will teach archaeological photography and drawing and will survey in the locations of all nine identified huts and any more we find. We will give a brief introductory talk about the earlier excavations on the site of the Farm Education Centre and what we hope to find out to all participants and also to any drop-in visitors during the day.

If you fancy yourself as an Indiana Jones you will need to bring warm, waterproof clothes, strong boots and a packed lunch/drinks, although there is also at café at Dumfries House. We will supply all the tools and a first aid kit.

Families are welcome to come along – there are no age restrictions but all children should be accompanied by an adult. Meet up at 9.45am at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre to the north of Dumfries House.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for local folk to dig on some of the remaining POW camp huts. So far there have been bottles, crockery, toys and Nazi badges discovered – goodness know what else we’ll find!”

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.”

 

Pennylands is situated in the north-west end the Dumfries House Estate in Ayrshire and is partially covered by woodland. Built during the eighteenth century, Dumfries House was partially requisitioned as a WWII military facility.

Pennylands, or Camp 22, served a variety of purposes during and immediately after World War II. Operating first as a military training camp, then used to accommodate prisoners of war before being used to house resettled Free French and Polish soldiers.

The camp was then used by local families for housing until it was demolished in the 1950s.
Archaeologists have uncovered much of the physical layout, various uses of the camp, and its numerous buildings, and unearthed intriguing personal finds such as toys, insignia, ceramics etc.

Pennylands Camp was built around 1940 by the Royal Engineers as a training camp for the Tank Corps. During that time the Barony Road was lined with many tanks because of the excellent cover given by its avenue of mature trees.
BBC - Doomsday Reloaded

As the project commences further details will emerge.

 

Get involved by emailing: info@cumnockhistorygroup.org

Site pics and some finds

Base_hut_fs
Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Toy Car
  • Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Toy Car
  • Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Toy Car
  • Plaster or cement Luftwaffe ground assault badge mould. (Eagle in clouds holding a swastika, with lightning bolt striking the ground, encircled by a wreath
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Car, Marbles and red rubber ball.
  • Car, Marbles and red rubber ball.
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Glass bottles with contents.
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations
  • Waterman’s Blue Inkwell with a sealed lid and ink within.
  • Lead Nazi Eagle cap badge, Eagle holding a swastika (broken). Camp-made, rough cast lead with pierced wingtips.
  • Location map of Pennylands Camp 22.
  • Aerial post-excavation shots of some of the building/ structure foundations.
  • Selection of lids, including ‘Mansion Polish Hygenic Wax’, ‘White Cardinal Polish’, ‘Cherry Blossom Tonette Dark Stain Boot Polish’, and a selection of preserve lids.

 

All photos from Addyman Archaeology


Bobby Grierson
Cumnock History Group

Dr Sue Morrison
Oral History Research & Training Consultant

Liz Jones
Addyman Archaeology

Thomas Breckney
The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust

Pennylands: Camp 22 has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to research the history of this WW2 POW Camp on the Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire.

Tweets