Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A History of Polish migrants in the UK, with Lebara - Win an iPad #Competition

This is a personal post from me, don't be surprised to hear I am part Polish.   

I imagine my readers are interested to hear where I come from.  I have a pale olive complexion, I tan very fast.  I have a rather long surname and if you have heard me speak, I have a London accent... 'Alright Mate'.

I have been told, I look Latin, even European, Spanish, Italy but my accent throws people.  I have even been asked if my husband is Polish because of my surname.  I do have mixed background, I would love to get my family tree properly researched, now that would make some interesting findings.

My Mother was born in Bolivia, she is half Bolivian and half German.  My Dad was born in London.  He speaks the Queens English, 'How now brown cow' My dad sounds extremely posh.  I sound nothing like him.  He is half English, half Polish, his Dad is 100% Polish.

My surname is Zelazowski.  I use it everywhere I go, I love my name, it's unusual, a great conversation starter.  I am very proud of my roots and enjoy being different.  I used to get some serious stick at school, other kids taking the michael out of my name, I was always last for everything!!! Z is always last but, in all honestly I was not that bothered.

My name has been passed down through the generations.  When my Grandfather was alive, he was very proud of being Polish and his heritage.  He was born in Warsaw, Poland in the early 1900s  He spoken often of his parents.
He explained our names meaning, 'Man is Iron'.  So I am Lucy Man of Iron.  'Yes, Grandad I do agree, I feel strong like Iron.' That would make him laugh.
My Grandfather lead a very privileged life, he travelled the World, owned his own Travel business.  Language become second nature to him, he spoke at least 10 languages fluently.  This became extremely handy during the 2nd World War.

He was a high ranking officer for the Allies, he worked within the Secret intelligence, mostly behind enemy lines. After the War he settled in London.

I have to say I doubt his life was normal for any ordinary Poles settling in the UK in the 1940s.  However after the war, a lot of soldiers migrated to Britain.  They where held in great regard.
lots of Polish people settled in the UK, there has been many waves through the years on Polish people migrating to the UK.  Now Poland is part of the Europe its to be expected.    

My grandad travelled all over the world, mostly because of his business.  His company was called General Tours, an independent Travel Agency.  He loved the British way of life.  He would read the stocks and shares everyday, he shopped at Peter Jones and Marks and Spencers.  He used to tell me that Marks and Spencers is the best store in the world, he loved the food aisles.    Its true his kitchen only stocked M&S foods, he even brought shares in the company.  He rarely spoke of his life during the war, shame as I was so interested.  He would ofter tell me how beautiful Poland is, sadly he no family left there. 

Polish Coat of Arms

I grew-up in Hammersmith, London.  There is a huge Polish community living in this area of London.  My grandad would often go to the Polish Centre, POSK on Kings Street in Hammersmith.  He would meet his Polish friends for tea and cheesecake talk about old times.   POSK is really the place to go for Polish events, they host great Jazz nights.  If you are not sure of what to do and where to go, their staff are very helpful.

Dotted all over Hammersmith and Fulham there are plenty Polish delicatessens, famed for the cured meats, delicious sausages all things Polish; Prima on the Northend Road in Fulham has always been a family favourite of mine.  This shop has been here for many years, a true Polish business in the UK.  I like to go there when I am in town.  

My Grandfather never felt he lost his Polish identity he ensured he kept in touch with his Polish friends, mostly his war buddies.  Even thou he adored the British, their way of life, he was Polish.  He worked hard, contributed to society a true Pole living in the UK.

Everyone has a different story, whats yours?

The kind people at Lebara have sponsored my post, they are also giving away an iPad!

 iPad Giveaway Here!

Lebara provide cheap mobile phone coverage abroad, they also work closely with developing communities across the World in different countries as charity, helping them receive basic training, medicines for a better way of life. A great company making the World a better place.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.