a project dedicated to everyday heroes who built the Polish cultural and social life in London after 1945
The Poles in South London Project (2020-2022) focuses on a critical but neglected part of the Poles’ story in London – the growth and decline of the Gmina Polska Londyn-Południe (GPL-P), the Polish Community Association of South London established in the 1950s. The Association aimed to preserve Polish language, culture and heritage. It engaged with community groups, activities and organisations including schools, scouts and folk-dance clubs. Many of these survive to this day, but their origins are being lost. We will preserve the memories of those engaging in activities supported by the Gmina Polska Londyn-Południe for future generations, using our project to celebrate and strengthen relationships between Poles and the wider community. The subproject sections below present our current work.
The project has been coordinated by community development charity, Stockwell Partnership, and made possible by the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
At the core of our project will be six new recordings of oral histories told by the Poles who helped set up social groups and organisations in South London from the ’50s to the ‘90s.
In early 2021, we published a revised edition of our full-colour map featuring some of the existing and ‘lost’ Polish heritage sites in South London.
We will run activities with teachers at the Polish Supplementary (Saturday) Schools and non-Polish schools in South London.
We want to bring the Polish heritage to life via a wide range of community events.
A bilingual publication in the form of a richly illustrated album with over 40 portraits and photographs will depict important places and stories of Poles from South London and other locations.
The Mobile Polish Bookshelf will present archives of Polish publications from London created after 1945.
The Shadow Theatre Project will focus on creating an animation film made with the shadow (puppet) theatre technique that will explore one of the oral histories recorded by our team.