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History of POSK

The Polish Social and Cultural Center (POSK for short) in London’s Hammersmith district was founded by the Polish community in the UK on the initiative of Prof. Eng. Roman Ludwik Wajda (1901-1974), who was also the first chairman of POSK.

In 1964, on his initiative, the first public meetings began to be held in the UK to speak with the Polish community about the idea of building the Center and to raise funds for the realization of this idea. Numerous Polish communities, organizations and associations, as well as private individuals, supported Professor Wajda’s visionary idea and began to make donations or organize fund-raisers for this worthy cause. In 1972, buildings on King Street were purchased, including stores and the no-longer used Baptist Church – this is where the POSK building was to stand in the near future. After the demolition work was done, trenches were dug for the foundation and construction began from scratch.

This was such a big event for Poles scattered around the UK that tours from various corners of the UK brought people in to see how the construction work was progressing. In 1974, the main building was completed and on December 29, after 3 years of intensive work, the centre was officially opened to the public. Sadly, Professor Wajda did not live to see his dream of building and creating a Polish center come true – he passed away on December 8th, 1974, three weeks before the work was completed.

The last part of the building, which houses the theater, was finished and ceremonially opened in 1982. POSK’s motto is “Poland and free Poles for the benefit of Poland.” It is a common home for all Poles in the UK. It was established, among other things, to save and maintain the Polish Library in London, which was established in 1942 and is still fulfilling its tasks and developing its activities.

POSK hosts numerous exhibitions, meetings, concerts, film screenings and theatrical performances – both for adults and the youngest. Numerous Polish organizations have their home here: some of them dissolve or transform over time, but new ones arrive, created by successive generations of Poles in the British Isles.

In 2014, the Polish Social and Cultural Center proudly celebrated its 50th birthday with a year-long series of excellent events and cultural activities specially prepared for this wonderful anniversary. POSK currently maintains this huge edifice mainly from its own funds, earned through a prudent policy of self-sufficiency – rents from office and apartment tenants, and renting out rooms to both Poles and Brits. Donations and grants, both from individuals and Polish foundations, help POSK carry out the social and cultural activities for which it was created.

The day-to-day management of POSK is carried out by Board members on a volunteer basis.