Polish British

Polish British

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Polish Britons

caption = Notable Polish Britons: Joseph Conrad, Leopold Stokowski, David Miliband, Daniela Denby-Ashe, Mark Lazarowicz, Zygmunt Bauman
poptime = Labour Force Survey
458,000cite web|url=http://www.ippr.org/members/download.asp?f=%2Fecomm%2Ffiles%2Ffloodgates%5For%5Fturnstiles%2Epdf|title=Floodgates or turnstiles? Post-EU enlargement migration to (and from) the UK|last=Pollard|first=Naomi|coauthors=Latorre, Maria; Sriskandarajah, Dhananjayan|date=April 2008|publisher=Institute for Public Policy Research|pages=21|accessdate=2008-06-15]
Other estimates
Estimated over 1,000,000 [http://www.argostranslations.com/articles/poles_in_the_uk/]
Over 1.6% of the UK population
flagicon|Poland flagicon|UK
popplace = Throughout the United Kingdom
langs = English, Polish, Yiddish (mostly in the past)
rels = Christianity (Roman Catholic, Orthodox), Judaism.

Polish British People or Polish Britons are people of Polish origin who were born in or emigrated to the United Kingdom over the course of history, or descendants of such people. It is estimated that over 1 million people living in the United Kingdom have Polish blood. Among those born in Poland there are also migrant workers who reside in the United Kingdom.


In the 18th century Polish travellers came as traders. In the 18th century some Polish Protestants settled as religious refugees due to the counter reformation in Poland. In the 19th century, due to the collapse of the November Uprising of 1831 against the Russian Empire, many Polish fighters came to the UK in search of political sanctuary.BBC London, [ Polish London] . Accessdate 2008-01-02.]

After the First World War Poles settled in large numbers in Londonndash many from the London Polish Prisoner of War camps in Alexandra Palace and Feltham. During the Second World War the majority of the Poles came to the United Kingdom as political emigrés during German and Soviet occupation of Poland. In 1940, with the fall of France, the exiled Polish President, Prime Minister and government transferred to London, along with at least 20,000 soldiers. Many other Poles based themselves in other parts of the United Kingdom and in practice London became the nerve centre and military headquarters of the Polish liberation movement.

When the Second World War ended, a Communist government was installed in Poland. Most Poles felt betrayed by their wartime allies and were extremely reluctant to return home. Many Polish soldiers refused to return to Poland, because of the post-war persecution of many Poles, particularly of former members of the AK (Armia Krajowa), and large numbers, after occupying resettlement camps of the Polish Resettlement Corps, later settled in London, many recruited as European Volunteer Workers. [cite journal|last=Kay|first=Diana|coauthors=Miles, Robert|date=1998|title=Refugees or migrant workers? The case of the European Volunteer Workers in Britain (1946–1951)|journal=Journal of Refugee Studies|volume=1|issue=3-4|pages=214-236|url=http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/1/3-4/214] A significant numberquantify|date=August 2008 of Poles were professionals (lawyers, judges, engineers), yet only doctors and pharmacists had their qualifications recognised. As a result the majority of Poles worked in building and construction, coal mining and other forms of manual labour, as well as in the hospitality industry. However, the Poles were very entrepreneurial and set up a number of businesses such as clock, watch and shoe repairsndash many of which are still operating today.Fact|date=February 2007

The relaxation of travel restrictions to and from Poland saw a steady increase in Polish migration to the United Kingdom in the 1950s. Brixton, Earls Court and Lewisham were a few of the London areas where they settled. As these communities grew, it was felt by the Polish Catholic hierarchy and the English and Scottish hierarchies (the majority of whom were IrishFact|date=February 2007) that Polish priests should settle and minister specifically to the spiritual needs of the Polish people. The first such parish was Brockley-Lewisham in 1951 and today there are 10 Polish parishes in London, in places such as Balham and Ealing. Thriving parishes also exist in many other UK towns and Cities.

The longer established communities that ensued after the church established itself were mainly set up by former members of the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Around the hub of a Polish church would be Polish clubs, Cultural Centres as well as a variety of adult and youth organisations such as the Ex-Combatants (SPK), the Polish Youth Group (KSMP) and the Polish Scouting Movement (ZHP pgk). The original aims of these organisations was to ensure a continuation of Polish language, culture and heritage for the children of the ex PRC members. Many of these groups are still active and steps are being taken to attract newer Polish migrants.

The Polish Government in London was not dissolved until 1991, when a freely elected president took office in Warsaw. The Polish people fought hard to combat communism, and for their right to liberty. Previously a base to fight against the communist regime in Poland, London came to be seen as an important centre to foster business and political relations.

In the 1951 Census, the Polish-born population of the UK numbered some 162,339, up from 44,642 in 1931. [cite book|last=Holmes|first=Colin|title=John Bull's Island: Immigration and British Society 1871-1971|publisher=Macmillan|location=Basingstoke|date=1988] [cite journal|last=Burrell|first=Kathy|date=2002|title=Migrant memories, migrant lives: Polish national identity in Leicester since 1945|journal=Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society|issue=76|pages=59-77|url=http://www.le.ac.uk/lahs/downloads/2002/burrell2002-3.pdf]

Recent economic migration

Since the expansion of the EU on 1 May 2004, the UK has granted free movement to workers from the new member states. [ [http://www.tescocorporate.com/page.aspx?pointerid=71B7D39196C34FDD98973A56FE14661A Tesco caters for an estimated 1.1 million Poles visiting the UK or living and working there] ] There are restrictions on the benefits that members of eight of these accession countries can claim, which are covered by the Worker Registration Scheme. [Home Office, Border & Immigration Agency, [http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk/working_in_the_uk/en/homepage/schemes_and_programmes/worker_registration.html The Worker Registration Scheme] Accessed 2007-12-27.] Most of the other European Union member states have exercised their right for temporary immigration control (which must end by 2011 [ [http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c10524.htm Freedom of movement for workers after enlargement] Europa] ) over entrants from these accession states, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4497309.stm Barriers still exist in larger EU] , BBC News, 1 May 2005] although some are now removing these restrictions. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3513889.stm EU free movement of labour map] , BBC News, 4 January 2007, accessed 26 August 2007]

The Home Office publishes quarterly statistics on the number of applications to the Worker Registration Scheme. Figures published in August 2007 indicate that 656,395 people were accepted on to the scheme between 1 May 2004 and 30 June 2007, of whom 430,395 were Polish nationals. [Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs and Communities and Local Government, [http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/6353/aboutus/accessionmonitoringmay04jun1.pdf Accession Monitoring Report: A8 Countries, May 2004-June 2007] , 21 August 2007, accessed 26 August 2007.]

The Polish magazine "Polityka" has launched a 'Stay With Us' scheme offering young academics a £5,000 bonus to encourage them to stay at home.

Rapid economic growth at home, falling unemployment and the rising strength of the złoty have, by the autumn of 2007, reduced the economic incentive for Poles to migrate to the UK. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3378858.ece] Labour shortages in Poland's cities and in sectors such as construction, IT and financial services have also played a part in stemming the flow of Poles to the UK. According to the August 2007 Accession Monitoring Report, fewer Poles migrated in the first half of 2007 than in the same period in 2006. Launched on 20 October 2007, a campaign by the British Polish Chamber of Commerce, 'Wracaj do Polski' ('Come Back to Poland') encourages Poles living and working in the UK to return home.

Population and distribution

"See also: U.K. locations with large Polish communities"

According the the Labour Force Survey, 458,000 Polish-born people were resident in the UK in quarter 4 2007. This figure is for recent migrants and doesn't include British-born people who consider themselves members of the Polish British community. Estimates for the total number of immigrant Poles plus British people of Polish descent put the figure at over 1,000,000. [http://www.argostranslations.com/articles/poles_in_the_uk/]

Following the recent migrations (see above), most towns and cities in the UK now have a significant number of Polish inhabitants. The countrysides of East Anglia and the East Midlands have been disproportionately effected by Polish workers employed in agriculture and light industry because of the low-population density of these areas. However many towns and cities in the UK have long established (since c 1950) and relatively large Polish communities, most notably in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester. Other established communities exist in many other locations such as Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, Nottingham, Slough, Reading and Melton Mowbray.

The main hub of the London Polish community is Hammersmith in West London, as well as Ealing, Enfield and Haringey. The activities revolve around the Polish Social and Cultural Centre (POSK) on King Street. Polish newspapers and food shops are increasingly apparent following Poland's entry into the European Union in May 2004.

Poles have also settled in Leeds, Sheffield, Bolton, Bury, Northampton, Peterborough and Chorley in Lancashire. There is a long established Polish community in Bristol and there are also concentrations in Nottingham, South Yorkshire, South Wales, North Wales mainly in Wrexham, Rugby, Banbury, Luton and Swindon.Fact|date=February 2007Scotland has seen a significant influx of Polish immigrants with estimates of Poles currently living in Scotland ranging from 40,000 according to General Register Office for Scotland up to 50,000 as per Polish Council, [ [http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=1508&id=935812007 Polish immigrants swell Scotland's new baby boom] ] with around 5,000 in the Highlands region. This has led to the creation of a bilingual English-Polish newspaper [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/highlands_and_islands/6385713.stm Bilingual paper for north Poles] ] .

Carlisle in Cumbria, which is twinned with the Polish city of Słupsk, has a Polish population of over 1,600 [ [http://www.carlisle.gov.uk/carlislecc/main.asp?page=2256 Polish immigrants in Carlisle] ] .

Blackpool has about 5,000 immigrants living in and around the resort on the Fylde coast, mostly from Poland, and the local newspaper is one of a handful of British newspapers to have its own online edition in Polish, [http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/CustomPages/CustomPage.aspx?sectionid=11828 "Witryna Polska" ] . [ [http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/ViewArticle.aspx?SectionID=62&articleid=1874795 Polish Gazette in the TV spotlight] ]

Racial Tension

Polish people living in Britain reported 42 racially motivated attacks against them in 2007, compared with 28 in 2004. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7435935.stm]

On July 26, 2008, The Times published a comment piece by Giles Coren containing general anti-Polish sentiment. In the piece Coren uses a racial slur, the word 'Polack', to describe Polish immigrants in the UK, who can "clear off". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Coren]

Famous Polish British people

"See also: "

* Joseph Conrad, novelist
* Zygmunt Bieńkowski, leader of RAF 303 Polish Squadron (highest-scoring RAF unit in Battle of Britain)
* Henryk Zygalski, one of 3 Polish code-breakers who solved the German Enigma code in 1932 and gave their knowledge to the British in the fight against Nazism.
* Lieutenant General Władysław Anders, leader of Anders Army, Polish II Corps, British Eighth Army, victor of Monte Cassino (exiled to Britain, Member of the Order of the Bath)
* Bonnie Prince Charlie, claimant to the British throne (Polish mother)
* Henryk Gotlib, leading expressionist painter
* Phil Jagielka, football player
* Waldemar Januszczak, art critic
* Kazia Pelka, actress
* Peter Serafinowicz, comedian
* Chris Dreja, musician, photographer
* Daniela Denby-Ashe, actress
* Lysette Anthony, Lysette Chodzko, actress
* Rula Lenska, Roza-Marie Leopoldyna Lubienska, actress
* Nicky Ladanowski, actress
* Janick Gers, musician
* Jacek Rostowski, current Finance Minister of Poland (born and raised in London)
* David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Labour MP for South Shields, Tyne and Wear
* Denis MacShane, born Denis Matyjaszek, Labour MP for Rotherham
* Mark Lazarowicz, born Marek Jerzy Lazarowicz, Labour and Co-operative MP for Edinburgh North and Leith.
* Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham
* Daniel Finkelstein, Comment Editor of The Times, (Polish-Jewish father)

Also See

* Federation of Poles in Great Britain


Further reading

*Michael Hope, "The Abandoned Legion", Veritas Foundation Publication ISBN 1-904639-09-7.
*Dr Diana M Henderson(Editor), "The Lion and The Eagle", Cualann Press ISBN 0-9535036-4-X.
*Peter Stachura(Editor), "The Poles in Britain 1940-2000", Frank Cass ISBN 0-7146-8444-9.
*Robert Ostrycharz,"Polish War Graves in Scotland A Testament to the Past", ISBN 1-872286-48-8.

External links

* [http://www.zpwb.org.uk/ Federation of Poles in Great Britain]
* [http://www.posk.org/index_e.html POSK] Polish Social and Cultural Association
* [http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/Collections/Onlineresources/RWWC/themes/1275/1197 Reassessing what we collect website – Polish London] History of Polish London with objects and images
* [http://www.wracajdopolski.pl Return to Poland - employers' website]
* [http://supportpoland.org/UKContacts/UKContacts.html Guide to the Polish Community in the UK]

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