Clues sought in Kelso stained glass mystery

Stained glass window owned by Harry Tomcyzk.
Stained glass window owned by Harry Tomcyzk.
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A probe has been launched in Kelso to try to uncover the

origins of a stained-glass

window which has lain under a bed for more than a decade.

It was recent coverage of plans for a ceremony at the local war memorial to install a plaque, marking links between Polish soldiers and Kelso during the Second World War, along with another plaque marking the deaths of three Polish soldiers who died in a nearby tank training exercise, that saw news emerge of the window’s existence.

It had been stored in Innerleithen by a member of the family building firm which carried out the work during the early 1990s to convert the former Kelso Cottage Hospital into private homes.

And that was that for almost 20 years until Murray Charters, of Innerleithen, whose father and late brother worked on the hospital conversion project, spotted the story in The Southern about the plaques and contacted community councillor Harry Tomczyk.

“It was the family firm of R. W. Charters which did a lot of the building work,” Murray Charters told The Southern.

“There was a nice stained- glass window in the old mortuary, but it wasn’t the sort of thing someone would want in their living room or bedroom once the hospital was converted into homes.

“However, it wasn’t the sort of thing you’d want to throw into a skip either, so it was stored at our yard in Innerleithen and then pretty much under a bed for 15 years.”

Mr Charters said he was told the window was originally intended to honour the three soldiers who died as a result of the tank tragedy.

Mr Tomczyk, who revealed the window’s existence at a recent community council meeting, is keen to find out more.

“A lot of people have given different versions as to its origins, but all we know for certain is that the window came from the mortuary of the old hospital,” he said

Retired sister midwife Alison Brunton started her training at the cottage hospital in 1948 and says the window was already in the mortuary then.

“There was never anything mentioned in my time that the window was to do with the Polish soldiers.

“But it was a lovely window and I’m delighted to hear it has been stored safely for all of these years. It would’ve been a great shame if it had been lost.”