Warsaw's Scottish Mayor Remembered

On Sunday 16th November a plaque was unveiled in the heart of the Old Town in memory of Alexander Chalmers, a Scot who made his home in Warsaw in the 17th century and went on to become the elected mayor of the city on four separate occasions.

It is thought that he came to Poland around 1676 and Polonised his name to Aleksander Czamer. As well as holding the office of mayor he was also a judge and served as a deputy in the coronation parliament of King August II. Chalmers died in 1703 and was buried in Warsaw's Cathedral of St.John. The Cathedral was rebuilt after the war but the plaque commemorating Chalmers life was never re-created. Plans are already in place for a permanent rememberance plaque honouring Chalmers in the Cathedral and it should be in place by 2010.

Over the past few weeks Paul Gogolinski, a Scot of Polish descent living and working in Warsaw has worked tirelessly in order to organise the installation of a plaque celebrating Chalmers role in Warsaw's history and also as a reminder of, not only, the historical links between Poland and Scotland but also the ongoing relationship between the two countries. The realisation of the project was also made possible with the kind help of the Warsaw Museum, the Conservation Office, the City of Warsaw Authorities and the tremendous support of Krzysztof Noworyta from the National Centre of Culture.

The plaque has been installed on the site of Chalmers former house at the corner of Waski and Szeroki Dunaj in a building now housing the Leathercraft Museum. It was officially unveiled by Ms. Linda Fabiani, minister for European and External Affairs and Culture in the Scottish Parliament. Around thirty people attended the event including the legendary Scottish arts guru and champion of Polish art Professor Richard Demarco and also the former Polish Consul General in Edinburgh.

Paul Gogolinski and Linda Fabiani MSP at the unveiling of the Alexander Chalmers plaque.


Add review

norman czemerys from United Kingdom Reply Jul 7th, 2011

Extremely interesting. As the son of a Polish soldier who settled and married in Scotland in 1948 I have always wondered about he origins of our surname , which is not typically Polish. Surely 'Czemerys' is an even closer form of 'Chalmers'.. and so we may indeed be descendants of the formidable figure that was Alexander Czamer (s). Fascinating. My father has maybe completed a migratory circle.

Godfrey Lomas from United Kingdom Reply Dec 23rd, 2010

How good to see a story where a person left the british isles without enslaving the natives!

Tom Oliver from United Kingdom Reply Aug 24th, 2009

Had never heard of Alexander Chalmers(Aleksander Czamer)in Scotland before my first visit to Poland in July 2009. Great to know that there are people in your country who remember the links between our two countries. Only saw the plaque by chance while walking around Warsaw with my Polish friend so I took a photo of it to show friends in Scotland. A piece of Scottish/Polish history which needs to be more universally known

Billy Kay from United Kingdom Reply Nov 26th, 2008

Great to see this kind of material. I made several radio documentaries on the Scots in Poland and include this material in my book The Scotish World - visit www.billykay.co.uk There is going to be a series of events in April/May 2009 in Perth, Scotland relating to Scotland/Poland.

Billy Kay from United Kingdom Reply Nov 26th, 2008

Great to see this kind of material

Trev Hill from Poland Reply Nov 24th, 2008

There are some books on the internet which might be of interest. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/poland/scotsndx.htm http://www.electricscotland.com/history/prussia/index.htm

meatox from Poland Reply Nov 21st, 2008

Let's see more on the subject of Polish-Scottish ties. Believe it or not, I've just been talking to a Polish artist whose mother was called Machlejd, a Polonised form of Macleod! The Machlejds were pioneers in the local Warsaw brewing industry in the 19th Century. Fascinating stuff, so let's have more!

Lawrence from Poland Reply Nov 21st, 2008

A great day for Scots everywhere. And well done to Paul for his sterling efforts in organising this and getting round all the obstacles and bureaucratic hurdles. And of course for bringing the Scots of Warsaw together on a bitterly cold day to mark the occasion

meatox from Poland Reply Nov 21st, 2008

A terrific initiative! Warsaw's Scottish mayor will now be remembered for generations to come.

Hoppy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 20th, 2008

I've been trying to do some research into him as well. Really not much info around on Chalmers. Hope to speak to Mr.Gogolinski who arranged the plaque. Will let you know if I get any other links or interesting info.

warsawa08 from United States Reply Nov 18th, 2008

Wow this is great! is there anywhere I can read more on Chalmers/Czamers?