Heres another interesting story of the impact that French prisoners had on the lives of ordinary
people in Britain.
Apparently french officers ( on parole ) were as notorious for failing to pay off their debts on time
in Peebles as they were in Wantage.
From the Scotsman:
James Chambers – father of the William Chambers was forced out of his drapery business in
Peebles after French parole prisoners who had bought cloth from him failed to repay their debts.
Instead of pursuing the university educations they might otherwise have received, William and
Robert went into the book trade to earn a living.
His sons, William and Robert Chambers went onto to found the Chambers publishing empire
in Edinburgh of which its most identifiable works are the
Chambers English dictionary.
The French POW's at Valleyfield Depot, also left a profound impression on William Chambers
as a young boy for, amid the doldrums of a Sunday morning in 1812, he stood at the edge of
St Mungo's parish churchyard in Penicuik, Midlothian.
Where on the Scottish Sabbath, he gazed astonished, at the pallisaded yards and buildings in
the dell below him. Two ranks of men danced to the music of a fiddler perched on a barrel,
others were fencing with sticks, pots were bubbling over open fires, and a nearby ramshackle
booth bore the sign "Café de Paris", with a Tricolour flag fluttering defiantly above it.
The article - Prisoners from Napoleon by John Gilchrist is
a book about French prisoners of war in Scotland.