Archive for February, 2009

The world’s only sarcastic war memorial (probably)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The Valour of German Culture 1914

This little-known gem is found in Pitt Street, Leith.  It consists of what looks like a terracotta panel, with the words “The valour of German culture 1914” at the top. The image itself has been fairly badly damaged over the years, with an arm and a head knocked off of one of the central figures. The general idea is still pretty clear though: it depicts German soldiers bayoneting women and children.  It’s a somewhat unsettling window onto another age. Thank goodness that sort of demonisation of a particular group couldn’t happen these days!

Keep the heid

Keep the heid! This baby-stabbing boche has lost his head and arm – not his stabbing arm, unfortunately

Detail of panel

Grim-faced boche attacking romanesque maiden and infant

Further detail of memorial

Imploring woman can only look on helplessly as the boche go about their grisly work. That’s it – I’m enlisting right now!

Presumably it was intended as a piece of propaganda, to incite anti-German feeling. Much as I would like to say “Only in Leith…” I believe that there were a number of these panels produced and erected around the UK. There may even be others that have survived.

However, as of now, this remains the only known instance of a sarcastic war memorial – unless, of course, you know differently…

German retreat

“Back lads – they’re using…sarcasm!”

PS More on this memorial, including a contemporary newspaper report, here. I’ve been fascinated by this panel for years and not found much out about it – looking just now I found that web forum discussion from last month. Synchronicity eh?

Embra – the blog

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Edinburgh from Calton Hill

A blog dedicated to living and working in Edinburgh. I’ll be adding comments about places, gigs, schools, restaurants pubs etc. Probably a bit about the general ineptitude of the city’s council too.  Feel free to add your own!