Hillingdon celebrates Polish heritage and culture in festival at Uxbridge Library

Come and celebrate Poland and the Polish community at Uxbridge Library, which is hosting a dedicated Polish festival on the centenary of Poland regaining independence, opening with a special exhibition on Friday 27 April.

As this year is the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) the library is also hosting a temporary exhibition on the Polish airmen's contribution to victory in the Second World War, in which Polish pilots constituted the second largest Allied contingent after the British - writes hillingdon.gov.uk 

RAF Northolt was the home to the most successful Polish fighter squadron, No. 303. The festival includes a talk by squadron historian, as well as Polish folk music, dance, storytelling and food.  

Jean Palmer, Deputy Chief Executive and Corporate Director of Residents Services at Hillingdon Council, said: "There is a large population of Polish people and those with Polish ancestry living in Hillingdon. This is a special year for the Polish community, so we wanted to celebrate and enjoy Polish culture and the positive contribution made to our community."  

The Polish squadron exhibition opens on Friday 27 April in Uxbridge Library Atrium. A full programme of Polish cultural events is scheduled over the weekend of 3 to 5 May. Polish Heritage Day is held every year on the first weekend after Polish Constitution Day which is 3 May.  

Polish special event programme  


From Friday 27 April there will be a special exhibition to commemorate the role of Polish Squadron No.303 which flew from RAF Northolt. The squadron was commanded by Wing Commander Ronald Gustave Kellett. His personal effects, including medals, are on display at the Battle of Britain Bunker Exhibition and Visitor Centre.  

Thursday 3 May:

  • 11am to midday - Storytime and crafts
    Storytime and crafts with the under 5s, including traditional stories and flag making.  

Friday 4 May:

  • 10am to midday - Cake and craft
    Coffee morning with Polish cake-tasting and a chance to try the traditional Polish art of paper flower-making.
  • 2pm to 3pm  - Storytime and craft
    Storytime and crafts, including traditional stories and flag making. For the under-5s.
    Please book: contact Uxbridge Library or email: culturebite@hillingdon.gov.uk
  • 7.30pm to 9.30pm - Fighter squadron No.303
    Talk by author Richard King on the most successful Fighter Command unit in the Battle of Britain, Polish No.303 Squadron. Czech Sergeant Josef Frantisek, from No.303 was the top scoring pilot with 17 confirmed kills.
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, who led Fighter Command, would later write: "Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle would have been the same."
    Please book: contact Uxbridge Library or email: culturebite@hillingdon.gov.uk

Saturday 5 May:

  • 10.30am to midday - Traditional Polish storytelling
    Join us for stories and crafts for children 5-10 years. Traditional tales followed by the chance for children to act out the drama with a dragon in attendance. Elisabeth Kozmian, author and artist of Polish fairy tales, will be joining us for the craft session afterwards to make a paper dragon. Suitable for children 5-10 years.
  • 2.30pm to 4pm - Polish song and dance
    Polish song and dance group Leśna Polana demonstrates traditional Polish dance with an English commentary, followed by a chance for spectators to try out simple steps with the group. Accompanied by an accordionist.


  • For more information www.hillingdon.gov.uk/libraryevents

  • For more information on the Battle of Britain Bunker www.hillingdon.gov.uk/bunker

  • Exhibition credit: Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, Mr Richard Kornicki CBE DL and Hillingdon Heritage.

  • 3 May is Constitution Day in Poland, commemorating the date in 1791 when Poland proclaimed its modern codified constitution as the first country in Europe, and the second in the world after the United States.

  • 2 May is celebrated in Poland and in Polish communities around the world as the Polish Diaspora Day and Polish Flag Day.

  • The project's logo is based on the design of the white-and-red chequerboard - a symbol painted on the Polish airplanes during the Battle of Britain 1940 and inspired by the Polish flag.

  • During the Second World War and later in the time of communism, the United Kingdom was the refuge of the Polish government-in-exile and free Poles. The Polish community in the UK includes the descendants of wartime and anti-communist exiles and those who decided to move to Britain after Poland joined the EU in 2004.

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