Sources at Surrey History Centre for researching Polish history and the Polish community

Polish flag1Surrey History Centre (SHC) holds a small amount of material useful for Polish community and family history. This guide gives a brief idea of what is held here and elsewhere but is by no means exhaustive. If you can suggest other places of research or can help by adding material to our collections, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Polish migration to Surrey

There has been an established Polish presence in Surrey since the early twentieth century, with migrant workers finding their way to the county from London for employment, or setting up their own businesses.

A significant number of Poles, however, came to the UK during the Second World War either as servicemen in the Polish Allied Forces, refugees, or members of the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC). Many of these settled in Scotland but, of the 180,000 members of the Polish Allied Forces who refused to accept the communist takeover of Poland, some 2000 settled in Surrey. A significant proportion of these found their way to Witley, near Godalming, and a resettlement camp at Tweedsmuir Camp, near Tilford. Originally Tweedsmuir had been a base for returning Canadian and American troops but between 1947 and 1960, the camp was used as temporary accommodation for personnel of the PRC. After 1960, residents from Tweedsmuir eventually settled in permanent housing in areas such as Thursley, Milford and Elstead, whilst others headed for London where a significant Polish community already existed in Clapham.

More recently, from the late 1990s onwards, the Polish community has grown as a result of migrant workers and students studying in the county. According to the 2011 census, 521,000 Polish-born residents were living in the UK, although research by University College London claims there are nearer 2 million. Provisional results from the 2011 Census indicate that there were around 7,500 people born in Poland who were resident in Surrey on Census Day. The main concentrations were in Woking, Spelthorne, Runnymede and Elmbridge.

Click on the images below to see larger versions.

Modezelan family documents from The Tweedsmuir Project archives (SHC ref 9196/1/2/- ; courtesy of The Tweedsmuir Project)

Modzelan family documents from The Tweedsmuir Project archives (SHC ref 9196/1/3/- ; courtesy of The Tweedsmuir Project)

Surrey Advertiser, 14 Dec 1949, reports that 100 Polish families are living in Tweedsmuir Camp (SHC newspaper collections)

Surrey Advertiser, 14 Dec 1949, reports that 100 Polish families are living
in Tweedsmuir Camp (SHC newspaper collections)

The 1905 Aliens Act increased legislative controls on immigration, and local police and authorities used this legislation to keep track of immigrants who were required to register as ‘aliens’ at their local police station. Alien Registration cards were issued by Surrey Constabulary in the event of a registered ‘alien’ (foreign national) moving out of their original registration district; they contain name, any alias, date of birth, nationality and address and survive for the years 1947-1991 (SHC ref CC654). Cards which may contain information relating to living individuals are subject to access restrictions. Under the Data Protection Act (1988), a researcher wishing to view a card, who is not the data subject or their personal representative, will need to submit a Freedom of Information request and demonstrate that the data subject is no longer alive. The cards will be opened to general access 100 years after the latest date they contain.

Sources at Surrey History Centre

Surrey History Centre holds only a few records relating to Poland and the Polish community. They have been divided into themed sections for ease of use:

First and Second World Wars

Surrey History Centre holds the records of the Surrey Regiments including personal papers of some soldiers who found themselves interned in Prisoner of War camps in Nazi occupied Poland. During the First World War, one such soldier was Pte Benjamin Westby, of the Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) who kept postcards of where he was held at Bromberg (SHC ref QRWS/30/WESTB/1).

Funeral in Stalag VIIIB POW camp, Poland, c.1940 (SHC ref ESR/25/BALD/4/p.16)

Funeral in Stalag VIIIB POW camp, Poland, c.1940
(SHC ref ESR/25/BALD/4/p.16)

During the Second World War, photographs were taken by Cpl John Baldwin of the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, interned at the Stalag VIIIB Prisoner of War camp in Nazi occupied Poland (SHC ref ESR/25/BALD/4), whilst Lance Cpl Robert Beesley, also a Prisoner of War in Nazi occupied Poland, wrote about his internment (SHC ref ESR/25/BEES/1). The reminiscences of Surrey regiment veterans were recorded as part of the ‘Buried Battles, Veterans’ Voices’ project. These recordings feature soldiers who experienced life in Nazi Prisoner of War camps in Poland during the 1940s and they can be listened to online (with transcripts) at

The East Surrey regiment fought alongside Polish troops in Italy during the Second World War. The Polish forces’ capture of Monte Cassino and the losses they endured are well documented. The online reminiscences include those of Major Toby Taylor, 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, who recalls the Polish capture of Monte Cassino and the desperate advance through Italy in 1944. Among the regimental archives are photographs of the Polish memorial at Cassino Military Cemetery (SHC refs ESR/1/12/17/p23/5, p.27, and ESR/10/12/1/p53/4).

Polish pilots at Kenley with their fighter plane, September 1940 (SHC ref 4209/3/115/1)

Polish pilots at Kenley with their fighter plane, September 1940 (SHC ref 4209/3/115/1)

The heroic efforts of Polish air crews during the Second World War are now legendary. Redhill Aerodrome (RAF Redhill, Surrey), was part of the Elementary Flight Training School and ran a course for the testing and grading of Polish airmen. No. 15 Polish Grading School ran there from March to June 1940. From the Royal Air Force base at Kenley there is a group photograph of air crew, including Polish pilots, 1940 (SHC ref 4209/3/115/1). Further details of RAF Redhill can be found at Wings Museum, which is dedicated to the remembrance of the Second World War particularly in Surrey and Sussex

Immigration: Polish Jewish immigrants and wartime refugees

The largest immigration of European Jews occurred in the nineteenth century and in the years before the Second World War, when immigrants came to Britain from Congress Poland, and the Pale of Settlement, a huge area that included most of present day Lithuania, Belarus, Eastern Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of western Russia. Names were often anglicized and spellings changed, often in an informal way but sometimes changed by deed poll, for which there may be surviving records at The National Archives. Changes of name were sometimes announced in national newspapers (usually the Times or the London Gazette). Surviving passenger lists for those travelling from Europe are not comprehensive but can be accessed via genealogy websites such as and Both sites can be used free of charge at Surrey History Centre, and if you have a Surrey library card you can search the records on site or in any Surrey library.

The most comprehensive online resources for Jewish family history are the Jewish Genealogical Society website and The International Genealogical Index (IGI).

For researching Polish Jews who fled Nazi oppression, The Wiener Holocaust Library is one of the world’s most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. They can advise on sources for twentieth century refugees including Kindertransportees. For specific Surrey case studies of Kindertransportees and refugees please see our Refugees theme page on our Exploring Surrey’s Past website

Polish Resettlement Camps

After the Second World War, some 2000 members of the Polish Allied Forces who refused to accept the communist takeover of Poland settled in Surrey, in camps such as Tweedsmuir, near Tilford, Farnham. A Heritage Lottery Fund project to capture the memories of those who lived at Tweedsmuir Resettlement Camp has resulted in the following resources:

  • Wies Rogalski, The Polish Resettlement Corps 1946-1949, 2019 (Helion)
  • Zen & Wies Rogalski, The Polish Community in Tweedsmuir Camp, Surrey after WWII (Old Kiln Museum Trust, 2012). (SHC ref 942.2THU)
  • Project papers, including photographs and reminiscences (SHC ref 9196)
  • DVD, In their Own Words: The Polish Community in Tweedsmuir Camp, Surrey after WWII (Old Kiln Museum Trust), 2012. (SHC ref 9196)
  • A recreated barrack block and exhibition at the Rural Life Centre, Tilford, see
  • Tweedsmuir Military Camp website includes details of the Tweedsmuir Camp exhibition which charts the history of the project and the permanent exhibition.

Project administrators Zen and Wies Rogalski are very keen to hear from anyone who was involved with or has memories of Tweedsmuir, email: [email protected]

Click here to see our online guide to the Tweedsmuir Military Camp project and researching resettlement camps elsewhere.

An insight into the administration of the Polish Resettlement Corps can be seen through a small collection relating to Alexsander Jarzembowski, who like many Poles at the end of the Second World War, found himself exiled and unable to return to newly Communist-run Poland. In 1947, he was discharged from the Polish forces at the main Polish Resettlement Corps camp at Witley, near Godalming (SHC ref 9449).

Church records

The Roman Catholic religion plays an important part of Polish family life, particularly communion and religious festivals. Surrey History Centre holds only a few Roman Catholic Church records, primarily marriage registers. Further details and a research guide to ‘Tracing Roman Catholic Ancestors in Surrey’ can be found here

Not all Polish immigrants were Roman Catholic or Jewish. The Parochial Church Council minutes for St Michael and All Angels, Thursley, record a group of Lutheran Polish exiles worshipping at the parish church from 1950-1955 and a brass tablet commemorating their time there was erected on the church wall (THU/10/2 & THU/12/14). The minutes also record Polish men employed to maintain the churchyard in September 1950 (THU/10/2).

Polish exiles brass tablet at Thursley Parish Church (copyright Sean Edwards)

Polish exiles brass tablet at Thursley Parish Church (copyright Sean Edwards)

Most of the Surrey parish registers, 1538-1987 are now available to search and view online at If you have a Surrey library card you can search the records free of charge at Surrey History Centre or in any local library in the county.

Charities and later refugees

The vast archive of Woking refugee charity Ockenden International (SHC refs 7155 and 7524), records how Eastern European children, some of them Polish, were brought to Woking from displaced persons camps after the Second World War. The charity aimed to support them through their secondary education. There is correspondence relating to the first Polish girls helped by the charity, 1952-1956 (SHC ref 7155/3/1/10), along with a photograph of Polish girls meeting Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in May 1959 (SHC ref 7155/4/7/3) and an album ‘Early Days. Joyce’s Archive Photos for the Little House’, 1951-1963 (SHC ref 7155/14/7).

Voyczik’s Xmas Tree, Ockenden, 1959 (SHC ref 7155/14/7)

Voyczik’s Xmas Tree, Ockenden, 1959
(SHC ref 7155/4/7).

Ockenden’s records also contain administrative papers relating to the charity’s aid programme in Poland in the 1980s. The programme was very successful and the two women in charge of the project, Beryl Taylor and Margaret Dixon, were awarded the Grand Order of Smile by the Polish Government in 1991 (SHC ref 7155/8/8). Ockenden founder, Joyce Pearce, was awarded two medals by the Polish government for her work in helping Polish refugee children, the Polish Gold Cross of Merit (awarded May 1961), and the Order of Polonia Restitua (Knight’s Cross class), one of Poland’s highest orders (SHC refs 7155/14/21 & 23).

Ockenden’s refugee homes provided accommodation for Polish children and students, and material relating to the homes can be found in the Ockenden archive (SHC ref 7155/5/-). Reigate House, Woking, housed families from Displaced Persons camps from 1961, and one of the first residents there was Nursing Sister Maria, a former Polish underground worker who had been imprisoned at Belsen concentration camp.

Donington Hall, Derbyshire, was used as a home for Polish refugee children from 1958, whilst The Abbey at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, and Beech Hill, near Reading, Berkshire, both housed Polish girls from 1960. The first housemother at Beech Hill was a Polish woman called Henriette Wright. Kilmore House, Camberley, housed elderly Polish convalescents, and Polish students from 1973. Facebook reunion groups exist for some of the Ockenden houses, allowing former residents to keep in touch.

Please note that personal information relating to those who were helped by Ockenden is closed to public inspection but may be accessed by the data subject following a Data Protection request to Surrey History Centre.

In 2009, a Heritage Lottery Fund project to catalogue the charity’s archive also digitised surviving historic film and commissioned interviews with those who either worked for or were helped by the charity, including Jan Zoltonos, a Polish Displaced Persons camp refugee (SHC ref 7155/13/4/1).

Read more about the ‘Ockenden International: From Vision to Venture’ project here

Other Polish Aid projects

Charitable and fundraising efforts for Polish aid projects by Surrey religious organisations are documented in the archives of Barnes and Dormansland Baptist churches in the 1960s (SHC refs 3145/5/28 and 3502/6), and Coulsdon Methodist Church Young Wives Club (SHC ref 4273/3/18).

Other support came from charitable organisations such as Sunbury Rotary Club, who, in the 1980s sent food aid to Poland (SHC ref 7495/1/22). The Henry Smith Charity records reveals that the organisation’s property at 46 Egerton Gardens, Kensington, London, accommodated the Polish Military Relief Association, from 1946 to 1947, and the Polish University College Association, in 1949 (SHC refs 367/13/63, 64 and 66).

The architect H S Goodhart-Rendel, also made charitable contributions towards the welfare of a polish refugee in Surrey in the 1950s (SHC ref 1791/Box15 & 16).

The records of St Catherine’s Womens’ Institute, Guildford, contain papers relating to the support given by the group to a Polish family at a camp in Germany, 1957-1970 (SHC ref 7650/89/35).

It is also worth checking the local Woking News and Mail and Surrey Advertiser newspapers held at Surrey History Centre for reports of local aid projects and aid shipments to Poland during the 1980s.

Political affairs

Henry Goulburn as a young man<br/>(SHC ref 4348/2/57/11)

Henry Goulburn as a young man
(SHC ref 4348/2/57/11)

Over the centuries Polish political affairs have been of interest to some of Surrey’s renowned residents, including Sir Alan Brodrick (1623-1680) (SHC ref 1248/1/154-155, and 1248/9/267), and Henry Goulburn, MP (1784-1856) (SHC ref 304/D/1/2/543), whose papers both contain references to political situations in Poland.

Unionist and nursing reformer, Bertha Broadwood (1846-1935), took an avid interest in European politics and a letter to her from friend A C Lyall, in April 1888, recorded ‘The German Emperor is dying and the Czar is massing his troops upon a forward position in Poland.’ (SHC ref 2185/BMB/4/40/8).

Among the famous Vaughan-Williams family papers is a beautiful annotated photograph album labelled ‘Eastern Europe, 1905’, containing views of Poland belonging to Roland Edmund Lomax Vaughan-Williams, who had a lifelong interest in Balkan politics The sepia photographs include market scenes in ‘Cracow’, and views of Zakopane, Meer Auge (SHC ref 6536/72, 143 and 198).

(Zakopane is a small town in the Polish Tatras, a popular holiday destination, and ‘Meer Auge’ is a German translation of the name of a well-known nearby tourist attraction, a lake called ‘Morskie Oko’, or ‘The Eye of the Sea’. (

The papers of the 5th Earl of Onslow (1876-1945), contain various articles and poetry written by him concerning the Poland-Russia situation during the First World War, as well as papers relating to his chairmanship of the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University of London (SHC ref 5337).

Queen Elizabeth I’s reply to the Polish Ambassador, 1597 (SHC ref LM/2031)

Queen Elizabeth I’s reply to the Polish Ambassador, 1597 (SHC ref LM/2031)

Our earliest document relating to Poland is a reference to the election of Henry Duke of Anjou as king of Poland in 1573, which can be found in the Loseley manuscripts (SHC ref LM/1329/247). The manuscripts further contain a copy of a letter from Queen Elizabeth I to Pavel Dzialynski, Polish ambassador to England, who had provoked her indignation after protesting against English attacks on Spanish ships trading with Danzig in 1597 (SHC ref LM/2031) [click on the image to the right to see a larger version]. Entertainments at Oxford for the Albertus Alasco, the Polish Prince Palatine of Siradia, in 1583, are also recorded (SHC ref Z/407/MSLb.606).

One curious collection at the History Centre is a collection of letters and papers of Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk (1903-1997), who claimed to be King Wladyslaw V of Poland. Head of the Polish Royalist Association, Potocki lived in Little Bookham during World War II and was a poet, and pamphleteer. He was a direct descendant of the Bocki Potocki line, until recently believed to have died out with the death of his great grandfather, Count Jozef Franciszek Jan Potocki (SHC refs 3395 and 4203).

Boundaries of the Dominions of the Polish Crown as they were under the last ‘lawful’ Kings, 1943<br/>(SHC ref 3395/5)

Boundaries of the Dominions of the Polish Crown as they were under the last ‘lawful’ Kings, 1943
(SHC ref 3395/5)

Cultural and literary affairs

Image of Marian Hemar in later life (photo: courtesy of Tom Bolonski)

Marian Hemar in later life
(photo: courtesy of Tom Bolonski)

The final resting place of Polish literary giant Marian Hemar (1901-1972) can be found at Christ Church in the Surrey village of Coldharbour. Born Jan Marian Hescheles in Lwów, Poland, Hemar was a prolific poet, journalist, playwright, comedy writer, and songwriter. When war broke out in 1939, Hemar’s anti-facsist views and Jewish origins rendered him a target for the Gestapo and he fled, joining the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade. In 1941/42 Hemar came to England, working with the BBC during the later years of World War Two. After war ended in 1945 and Poland fell under the Communist regime, Hemar remained in England. Sometime around 1959 Hemar and his wife Caja purchased Fig Tree Cottage, near Leith Hill, Dorking. A project celebrating Hemar’s life has collated material available to study at Surrey History Centre (SHC ref Z/676).

Discover more about Marian Hemar in Surrey.

Lucy Broadwood (1858-1929), the renowned English Folk Song collector, refers to Polish musicians in her diaries, including the pianist Paderewski, and Chopin’s doctor Lyschinska, who was a Polish exile (SHC ref 2185/LEB/1/19 & 238). The records of her family’s famous piano manufactory, John Broadwood and Sons Ltd, contain photographs of Polish pianist, Witold Malcuzynski, taken during the recording of a special Chopin recital for the BBC in 1946, along with photographs of Polish pianist, Henryk Sztompka, at a recital at the Polish Embassy in London, 1948, to mark the centenary of the composer’s performance at a ‘Grand Polish Ball’ (SHC ref 2185/JB/83/19-29). There is also an obituary for Polish pianist, Natalia Karp (1911-2007), showing her seated at the Chopin Broadwood grand piano (SHC ref 7568/2/7).

Among the papers of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council are papers relating to an exhibition at the Ashley Gallery, Epsom, in 1986, entitled ‘Poland Painting’: works by twelve contemporary Polish artists (SHC ref 6117/4/14).

Surrey History Centre holds the papers of author and playwright R C Sherriff, who wrote the epic First World War play Journey’s End. The play was an international success and was performed in countries around the world, including Poland. Among Sherriff’s papers are royalty statements for performances of the play in Poland, 1929-1930, along with a Polish translation of the script (SHC ref 2332).

Industry & business

Surrey History Centre holds a vast business archive for the specialist vehicle manufacturer Dennis. Among the records are engineering drawings for fire engines and other vehicles supplied by the Dennis factory in Guildford to Straz Pozarna Miejska, in Lwow, Poland, in the 1920s (SHC ref 1463/PHTALB/-).

Polish labour has been vital to Surrey since the Second World War. The Dorking Greystone Lime Company had relied on Prisoner of War labour and with their repatriation in the late 1940s came the prospect of labour shortages. Displaced Persons (DPs) and members of the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) were an obvious replacement. The company’s records include Ministry of Labour circulars and National Joint Industrial Council for the Quarrying Industry reports regarding the employment of Polish immigrants and provision for them, including those from the PRC camp across the Sussex border at Horsham (SHC ref 2073/2/39).

Hospital records

During the Second World War, Long Grove Hospital in Epsom received large numbers of military personnel, including Polish patients, of whom three hundred still remained in 1951 (SHC ref 6251/1/1). However, the sensitive nature of the records of these patients means that access to them is restricted and is generally only granted to the data subject or their next of kin through a Freedom of Information request to Surrey History Centre. By the 1960s, the Ministry of Health were concerned about the treatment of Polish mental health patients and corresponded with St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, regarding the provision of a Polish Welfare Officer and various improvements to be made (SHC ref 6292/10/7).

Researching Polish family history

Looking at the reasons why Poles have moved to this country will give a clue as to the sources that may survive for researching their family history. Staffordshire Record Office’s guide to general sources for tracing Polish family history both in the UK, and in Poland, can be found at

To learn about family history stories of Polish people in Britain, written by Poles and their descendants, see

Online genealogy sites such as or continue to make more worldwide records available. If you have a Surrey library card you can search the records free of charge at Surrey History Centre or in any local library in the county.

Records of Naturalization and British Citizenship can be found at The National Archives These include the Internees Index of the Home Office Aliens Department, 1939-1947, listing those who were interned or considered for internment during the Second World War . Many of these are now available online via genealogy websites such as or If you have a Surrey library card you can search the records free of charge at Surrey History Centre or in any local library in the county. The London Gazette published notices of naturalisations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which can be searched online at

The Polish Catholic Mission (in England and Wales) hold church records, such as marriage registers, relating to the Polish forces, particularly those serving in Italy during the Second World War. They can be contacted at 2 Devonia Road, Islington, London N1 8JJ, Tel: (44) 20 7226 3439, Email: [email protected], website:

There are several Polish genealogy websites, including the Polish Roots website, which features tutorials on finding, reading, and understanding vital Polish records; and, for Polish (and Ukrainian) roots in Eastern Galicia, home to over a million ethnic Poles before World War II.

The UK based Anglo-Polish Family History Society have an online guide to researching Polish family history

The Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation, includes a searchable database of records for towns in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova and Ukraine, based upon the archival holdings of these countries. Although the site is written mainly for Jewish genealogists, much of it is applicable to non-Jewish Polish and Ukrainian researchers.

Military service records of Polish soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Polish Armed Forces under British Operational Command in World War Two can be found among the personnel records of the British Ministry of Defence. Further details of how to identify and obtain copies of service records can be found at or by writing to APC Polish Enquiries Building 60 RAF Northolt West End Road Ruislip Middlesex HA4 6NG. For expert help on how to apply see

Records relating to Polish resettlement camps in England, 1943-1948, can be found at The National Archives (TNA) under the reference WO315/6. Further details of TNA can be found by contacting The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU; Tel: 020 8876 3444; email: [email protected]; web:

The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum, London, is a research and publishing institution and possesses the largest Polish Military Museum outside of Poland. It incorporates the Polish Armed Forces Standards, the Ealing Branch-Historical Commission and the Home Army Study Centre,

Brookwood Military Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the UK and contains a section for Polish servicemen cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Names of those buried at Brookwood and indeed at other CWGC cemeteries can be searched for on their website

Other online sources and useful websites

Tweedsmuir Military Camp website

Zosia and Jurek Biegus, authors of Polish Resettlement Camps in England and Wales, 1946-1969 run a website This site is the main online resource for Polish resettlement camps in the UK and includes personal stories and links to sources.

The Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum is a useful online guide to Polish exiles following the Second World War It features a vast amount of information for tracing archive material and reminiscences of survivors of the conflict. The ‘Research Sources’ section contains links and advice for tracing Polish family history around the world.

Polish Cultural Institute

School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University College London

Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum

School of Central and East European Studies at Glasgow University

Read how Polish mathematicians helped Alan Turing break the Enigma code.

Aquila Polonica is a publisher specialising in the Polish Second World War experience. Their website is The website also has guides to further Polish reading material, maps and photographic archives.

Online newspapers are a great resource. The Times, the British Library’s British Newspaper Archive (, and Find My Past’s British Newspapers, 1710-1953, are available on the Surrey Libraries online reference shelf

Useful Polish community history contacts

Online Polish community magazine Moja Wyspa is a useful guide to the modern-day Polish community in this area and may provide community links for family and research

Janusz Jarzembowsk, Armoured Hussars (Helion, 2014). Features a history of the Polish First Armoured Division, from the First World War onwards, in particular the role of his father Alexander Leon ‘Manka’ Jarzembowski, RSM, 1939-47, who was at Witley Camp, near Godalming. Janusz welcomes any information regarding the subject and can be emailed at [email protected]

Agata Blaszczyk-Sawyer, from the School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London, has spent many years researching Polish resettlement camps and the post-war Polish community in the UK for her PhD thesis. She is happy to answer queries and point people in the direction of sources. Agata can be emailed at [email protected]

Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRonEM), formerly based at the University of Surrey but no longer in existence, produced various research papers and surveys of the modern day Polish migrant community which may be available through the University library

Bibliography for researching Polish history in Surrey

The following items are available to study at Surrey History Centre in the Local Studies Library collection. Further published items may be searched online via the Surrey Libraries Online Library Catalogue

Front cover of Wies Rogalski's book, The Polish Resettlement Corps 1946-1949Wies Rogalski, The Polish Resettlement Corps 1946-1949, 2019 (Helion) reveals in detail the methods and legacy of the resettlement programme which affected the lives of Polish allied troops in Britain after the war, using documents held at The National Archives and elsewhere.

Roger Kershaw, Immigrants and aliens: a guide to sources on UK immigration and citizenship, (PRO, 2004). (SHC ref 929.3)

Zosia and Jurek Biegus, Polish Resettlement Camps in England and Wales, 1946-1969 (PB Software, 2013). Features Polish camps across the country, contains a list of camp residents and details of Polish Boarding Schools run by the Committee for the Education of Poles in Great Britain. Tweedsmuir is the only Surrey camp named and much of the information on it has been taken from the Tweedsmuir Military Camp website. (SHC ref 305.9069)

Kresy-Siberia Group, Research, Remembrance, Recognition: Research Guide. Useful leaflet for Polish family history in the Second World War. (SHC ref 929.3)

The Lightbox, Woking Living Words (Woking Borough Council), 2007. Contains a reminiscence of a Polish resident of Woking. (SHC ref 942WOK)

Wies and Zen Rogalski, Living in Tweedsmuir Camp 1948-1957 (Old Kiln Museum Trust, 2002). (SHC ref 942.2THU)

Zen and Wies Rogalski, The Polish Community in Tweedsmuir Camp, Surrey after WWII, (Old Kiln Museum Trust, 2012). (SHC ref 942.2THU)

Piotr Pietrusiewwicz, Tweedsmuir Camp, Surrey, 2013. Text from the Polish Settlement Camps in the UK website. (SHC ref 942.2THU)

Pamela Watkin Joyce’s Ockenden: the story of a vision that became a venture for refugees, (Broadmead, 1993). (SHC ref 352.2)

Stephanie de Montalk, Unquiet World: the Life of Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk (Victoria University Press, 2001). Montalk was a pretender to the Polish throne. (SHC ref 920MON)

2 thoughts on “Sources at Surrey History Centre for researching Polish history and the Polish community”

  1. Helena says:

    Hello there,
    I did just try to write to the Polish Catholic Mission using the email address you provide above: [email protected] but it bounced back.
    There appears to be a general office/biuro email if you take a look:

    1. ESP Admin says:

      Dear Helena

      Many thanks for taking the time to let us know about the incorrect e-mail address.

      I have updated the page.


      Phil Cooper
      Exploring Surrey’s Past Officer

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