And finally… Exhibition to showcase Scots who built the White House

The Scottish stonemasons who helped to build the White House are to be the subject of a new exhibition opening in Stirling later this month.

One of the most recognisable buildings in the world, the home of the President of the United States in Washington DC owes much to the team of stonemasons from Edinburgh who built much of it, reports The National.

At the time of its construction in the 1790s, Scottish stonemasons were considered to be the best in the world, and the officials building the White House project sent to Edinburgh for suitable recruits.

It is believed that the skilled tradesmen were found through Edinburgh Lodge Number 1, often considered to be the oldest masonic lodge in the world due to the preservation of its 16th century records.

At least seven and possibly as many as a dozen stonemasons left Edinburgh where work on the New Town was temporarily at a downturn, and despite there being a ban on travel to the US they made their way to Washington.

Now the White House Historical Association’s president Stewart McLaurin will travel to Scotland to unveil a commemorative plaque alongside Historic Environment Scotland’s chief executive Alex Paterson later this month.

The plaque at 66 Queen Street, Edinburgh, will celebrate the significant work of that group of Scottish stonemasons in the construction of the White House.

It will be ceremoniously placed in front of a building that John and James Williamson, two of the stonemasons who worked on the White House, built before leaving for America.

This event will coincide with the launch of a new exhibition at The Engine Shed in Stirling: “The Scots Who Built the White House”.

The exhibition is supported by the White House Historical Association which was launched in 1961 at the instigation of the then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts.

A distinctive stone feature, the Double Scottish Rose, was used as a motif throughout the White House and stonemason Charles Jones from Carnoustie went to Washington to replicate one earlier this year.

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