With Poles being the second largest migrant group and Polish the third most spoken language in Waltham Forest, it is about time, people explored the culture and history of our European neighbours. Thanks to a new exhibition opening at Vestry House on the 30th May, 150 years of Polish migration has been documented, bringing to life the struggles and the excitement experienced by the Polish community in Waltham Forest.
The exhibition, which has been curated by Walthamstow resident, Esther Freeman, will form part of this year’s E17 Art Trail. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition combines digital learning and heritage to take the viewer on a journey enabling them to see the emotional side of migration through a selection of photographs, video footage and artefacts.
Following four stages of migration, ‘From Poland To Waltham Forest’ details the lives of people who built RAF planes, stormed the beaches of Normandy, lived through the horrors of the holocaust and many other pivotal events in history. It also brings to life the many factories that populated the area such as the Lebus Factory which was established by Polish migrant, Louis Lebus in the 1840’s, and employed thousands of Polish migrants to produce their iconic furniture.
‘From Poland To Waltham Forest’ is an inspiring account of human struggle, love and life set against the tumultuous backdrop of 20th century Europe. It also highlights just how much life in Walthamstow has been influenced by these four stages of migration and shows the benefits that have occurred as a result. This heart warming exhibition is not to be missed and is perfect for locals eager to learn more about the community.
To discover more, visit the exhibition website here
Photos: From Poland To Waltham Forest
Words: Grace Molan