A brief history of the Polish Displaced Persons camps in Britain and the programme of the ceremony written for the unveiling of the commemorative plaque at the site of the Fairford Polish Hostel, May 30th 2009.
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MAY 13th 2009
Ten members visited the collection following on from Emma Stewart’s talk in February. What a treasure trove the building turned to be! Hours could have been spent browsing and reminiscing about the wonderful collection of objects stored there: the bell from Weaver’s Hall, the butter churn, the domestic items and then on to the costume collection, the lovely evening dresses and uniforms. Upstairs were the smaller objects; everyone recognised objects from their childhood which brought back many happy memories. For those with an archaeological interest, shelves of masonry and stonework artefacts collected from the area were on display.
The Corinium Museum receives all the items from local archaeological investigations and there were boxes and boxes of bones, both animal and human. Much of the stonework was from old Cirencester Abbey, which was situated behind the present church, including medieval masonry with the remains of the paintwork with which it would have been decorated – what a wonderful sight Cirencester Abbey would have been! – and of course lots and lots of Roman items.
The Resource Centre at Northleach is open for group visits, contact the Corinium Museum for details 01285 655611 or email email@example.com.
On a beautiful summer day about 250 Polish visitors, some from as far as Belgium and the USA plus Fairford residents attended the unveiling of the Polish Hostel commemorative plaque at the Pitham Path Gate on Leafield Road on Saturday 30th May. The plaque was funded by the Polish Ex-Combatants Association of Great Britain and was the brainchild of Mrs Alicja Swiatek Christofides, one of several people attending the ceremony who had been born in the Polish Hostel at Fairford. The Hostel opened in the grounds of Fairford Park in 1947 and about 1,200 Poles were resident there until it closed. For more detailed information on this subject see Zosia Biegus’s website at www.polishresettlmentcampsintheuk.co.uk. The plaque was placed at what used to be the main entrance to the Hostel thanks to the generous support of the Ernest Cook Trust, who now owns the land. Maurice Jones, the Town Crier, (right above) introduced speeches made by (from left to right) Joe Cusack, the Mayor of Fairford; Czeslaw Maryszczak, Chairman of the Polish Ex-Combatants Association of Great Britain and World Federation; Nicholas Ford, Secretary to the Trustees of the Ernest Cook Trust(middle standing); Father Philip Beisly, parish priest of St Thomas of Canterbury in Horcott; June Lewis Jones, President of the FHS; and our Chairman, Geoff Hawkes.
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