Midlothian’s 100 objects - a Napoleonic War wooden box

A wooden box, probably made by a prisoner of war held at one of the Napoleonic camps at Penicuik
A wooden box, probably made by a prisoner of war held at one of the Napoleonic camps at Penicuik

This small box, submitted by Penicuik History Society, is made of wood and straw marquetry.

It is thought to be at least 200 years old. It was probably made by one of the French prisoners held in prisoner-of-war depots in Penicuik during the Napoleonic Wars. It is likely that the box was sold at the local market.

Between 1803 and 1814 there were three camps - at Greenlaw, Esk Mills and Valleyfield.

There were thousands of men at the POW camps and not all were French. There were German, Italian, Scandinavian, Polish, Spanish and even Americans. The youngest prisoners were about nine-years-old.

Around 570 prisoners died in captivity and were buried at the depots.

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