A few days ago, Oxford’s Pitt Rivers ethnological museum pulled down the traditional Slovene hayrack (kozolec) at the Oxford Arboretum, and put the pieces into storage. The Arboretum requires the space where it stood for a new development. The museum, which owns the artefact, has told the British-Slovene Society it has no alternative location and intends to “deaccession” it. In practice that means we will not see it again: for some years it had been falling into disrepair and cannot practically be put together again.
It is a sad end for a traditional Slovene construction brought to Britain at the time of Slovenia’s independence in an initiative led by BSS Trustee Jana Valenčič.
However the good news is that a new kozolec is to be erected on the outskirts of Henley-on-Thames. Henley’s Town Council has agreed to locate it on a “Town Green” which belongs to the Council. Thanks to a generous benefactor in Slovenia, Miro Senica, the British-Slovene Society will be able to fund its construction by a specialised artisan in Slovenia.
The new location is apt, since Henley is twinned with Bled in Slovenia. Preparations will start once the present lockdowns have been eased.
This summer we regrettably will not be able to hold the British-Slovene Society’s annual picnic. We hope to resume once the new kozolec is in place.
Meanwhile here are two dates to reserve looking ahead:
11th December 2020: Annual BSS Carol Service in the church of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe in London.
6th February 2021: Annual Prešeren Evening in the Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury, London.
Plans are obviously subject to Covid-19 developments.
Keep well everybody!
Picture below: new kozolec location in Henley