Czesław Siegieda recalls that the idea that Polish migrants were merely 'guests' in post-war Britain guided his parents' generation. They were thankful for the home they had found, but that they would soon return to an independent Poland and that, for the moment, the community would kindle their traditions and maintain a low profile. Siegieda captures this tension in scenes of domesticity and festivity, of friends and family, of church services and garden parties. Taken together, his photographs form a unique record of post-war Anglo-Polish life, and I'm glad that as this first generation of migrants passes, these photographs are finally seeing the light of day.
"They grouped together as communities and kept their familiar traditions going," he remembers. "They formed Polish Saturday morning schools for their children so that they could teach them the Polish language, customs, traditions, that little bit of Polish history, but more importantly, their religion – prayers, catechism and so on – so that they remained within the Roman Catholic faith."
The untold stories of Britain's Polish community: Polska Britannica is published by Huck Magazine.