Art and industry in Glenrothes
Founded as a new town following the Second World War, Glenrothes is renowned for a profusion of over a hundred items of public art. The first of these installations located across the town was a bronze sculpture, “Ex Terra”, by Benno Schotz, who came to Scotland from Eastern Europe. Schotz was born into a Jewish family in Estonia, then part of the Russin Empire, in 1891. After completing secondary education in Germany, he moved to Scotland to study engineering in 1912. While working for several years as a draftsman in a ship-building company, he also attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. Schotz began his career as a sculptor in 1923, later becoming head of the Department of Sculpture and Ceramics at the art school and establishing a reputation as a leading figure in the field of 20th century Scottish art. He adopted British nationality in 1930.
The “Ex Terra” sculpture was inspired by the Latin motto of Glenrothes, Ex Terra Vis – meaning “From the earth comes strength”. It consists of a tree-like maternal figure with children emerging from the ground, symbolising the town’s roots in the mining industry. Two other items of Schotz’s work are located in Glenrothes – an altar crucifix and a Madonna sculpture – both in St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church.
Glenrothes is also home to a number of advanced technology manufacturing and engineering businesses. These include the Bosch Rexroth engineering company with headquarters in Lohr am Main in the German state of Bavaria, and part of the Robert Bosch group of companies. The plant in Glenrothes, specialising in hydraulics engineering, was opened in 1963 and currently provides employment for several hundred people in the area.
The “Ex Terra” sculpture is situated in Church Street in the town centre next to the bus station. St Paul’s Church is located in Warout Road. It is open by arrangement. The Bosch Rexroth plant is located on the Viewfield Industrial Estate.
“Ex Terra” image © Kilnburn, via Wikimedia Commons Bosch Rexroth building image © Paul Vyšný, CC BY-SA 4.0