The Ladies Committee was formed in 1972, but this does not mean that ladies were not active in the Polish Centre's activities before then. They were actually very active in maintaining the chapel, and organizing national celebrations and dances in the 1960s. Ladies who held positions in the "Zarzad" were helped by others, principally the wives of other "Zarzad" members. A special case was Leokadia Tomaszewska, who from 1963 to 1984 was responsible for the chapel. The Ladies Committee's first chair was Alina Daszkiewicz, and the committee was responsible for organizing all the functions, such as the "Oplatek" Christmas celebrations, "Zapusty" at Lent, "Swiecone" at Easter, the Monsignor's "Imieniny", and dinners for visiting artists. Unfortunately, this first committee later disbanded, but on 31st May 1975 it was revived, with Bozena Przeniczka as chair. This second committee was chaired by her from 1975 to 1978. Later chairs were Alina Daszkiewicz (1979-1980), Bozena Przeniczka (1981), and Alina Daszkiewicz (1982-86). In 1986 all members of the Ladies Committee were brought into an enlarged, combined "Zarzad" of the "Kolo" and Club. The AGM of 27th March 1994 decided that any lady elected to the "Zarzad" should automatically serve on the "Rada Duszpasterska" Church Council.

The need to visit the sick was first raised at the AGM on 12th April 1964. Social Care then became the responsibility of Aldona Zakrzewska. Local hospitals were given information cards, to enable them to inform Social Care whenever they admitted a Polish patient. Patients did not always respond appropriately to visits by Social Care. Consequently in 1971, visits to patients who normally lived with their families were discontinued. The sick and the elderly were not, however, forgotten. Presents were sent out each Christmas, a practice that continues today.

As early as the 1960s the issue of housing the elderly was a concern, and this is why the first plans for the Polish Centre included a residential home for the elderly. The building bought in 1968 was too small to house larger numbers of residents, but in 1971 an opportunity arose to buy the Christian Bookshop building opposite the Polish Centre, for conversion to residential units. Lack of interest meant that this project was abandoned.

Given the importance of funerals in Polish culture, on 9th January 1965 the "Zarzad" authorized spending of up to ?1, to purchase a wreath, each time a Polish person died in Leamington Spa. This was first done at the funeral of Urbanowicz. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, there were even cases of the "Kolo" paying the whole cost of a funeral.

In the 1990s the "Zarzad" tried to provide advice to the elderly and those living alone. In 1992 Mieczyslaw Franciszek Lepkowski, a member of Social Care, attended a course run by Social Services in Derby, which was organized by the Federation. Social Care was chaired by Aldona Zakrzewska (1964-73), Boleslaw Rutkowski (1975-87) and Jan Kwasnik (1987-94).


Since its' opening in 1969, profits from the Club, transferred to the "Kolo" under the agreement of 29th August 1971, enabled the Polish Centre to function. For the wider British community, the Polish Club was also the most visible Polish presence in Leamington Spa. Although the Club was always legally separate from the "Kolo", and initially held its' own committee meetings, important issues affecting the Polish Centre as a whole, were always discussed at joint committee meetings. Eventually it became obvious that proper co-operation could only be achieved if everyone affected, took part in every debate. When Stanislaw Czarzasty resigned as chair on 16th May 1971, he appealed for the 3 existing "Zarzady" of the "Kolo", Club and Parents' Committee to merge. From 26th August 1972, meetings of a single combined "Zarzad" became the norm. Changes were only made in the 1980s, when membership of this combined "Zarzad" was greatly increased, to enable it to become more inclusive and representative. The concept of a combined "Zarzad", known as "centralnosc", had its' opponents. Nevertheless, its' main attributes: complete freedom of expression, openness, transparency and joint responsibility for decisions jointly made, have been very helpful in maintaining order and unity. In 1978, when local Italians opened their own club, they used the constitution and management practices of the Polish Centre as a model.

As the presidency and the chair of the Club were always held by the parish priest and the chair of the Polish Centre, respectively, actual responsibility for the Club lay with the Club Secretary, a post held over the years by Stefan Wincenty Librowski, Sylwester Zakrzewski, Wladyslaw Reszka, Mieczyslaw Franciszek Lepkowski, Robert Ogorek and Boleslaw Rutkowski. Their work, especially in the early years, was supported by volunteers from the "Zarzad". Later, on 11th October 1971, the first two paid posts were created. The first bar steward was Stefan Kaszczyszyn, assisted by Jan Szydlowski. After Stefan Kaszczyszyn retired in 1981, his post was taken by Henryk Trybulec, who remained until retirement in 1987. At that time the post of assistant steward was abolished, and Jan Szydlowski was promoted to steward. He too stayed until retirement in 1993, when a special party was held to mark the occasion. Jan Szydlowski was succeeded by Tadeusz Kaczmarczyk, who did not stay long. Alan Casson therefore became bar steward, and remained in post until the Club closed in September 1998. It should be remembered, however, that throughout the first 25 years of the Club's existence, much work was done by volunteers. Without them, the Club would not have been so profitable.

The Club was an immediate financial success, and its; popularity meant that enlargement soon proved necessary. In 1970 the clubroom was extended into the "stage" area, and in 1978 it was redecorated in a rather opulent style, with expensive wallpapers and chandeliers. A year later the gaming machine room was built, and in 1982 a snooker room was created in the basement, in premises formerly occupied by the Polish Language School. In 1992, snooker was transferred to the "Kolo's" former member's lounge, on the ground floor, and the Club's team began playing in the local league. Earlier, in 1987, the bar was rebuilt, using a loan from the brewery, which was repaid by discounts given on beer sales. 1994 proved to be a year of major investment. Fire and burglar alarms were fitted, fans were installed in the clubroom to aid ventilation, and the office and former bedsits were converted into a self-contained flat for the bar steward.

From the very beginning the Club depended on non-Polish members. English, Irish, Italian and Lithuanian members outnumbered the Polish membership. They were attracted by low subscriptions, low bar prices and nominal ticket prices to dances where live bands performed. There were also free annual trips to Blackpool, and free Christmas parties for the members and their children. Although the Club's success was based on price competition, the "Zarzad" was also interested in attracting a respectable clientele, and was therefore concerned with safety and security. There was also a stringent dress code at the dances, for both men and women.

The Club supported many, mainly non-Polish charities over the years. Those who benefited included The Mayor's Fund, Castel Froma, Sue Ryder, Custodian Association, Race Relations Council, Central Council for the Disabled, Catholic Handicapped Children's Fund, and the Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka hospital in Warsaw.


The Library opened on 12th May 1965, when the "Kolo" received permission from the SPK Polish Ex-Combatants Association in London to administer such an establishment, and to take over the private collections of Zarzycki and Kaminski. In August 1965 the Rules were adopted, and the Library opened each Sunday after mass. The collection was expanded in 1968, thanks to a gift of books from a nearby hostel, scheduled for closure. There were several later bequests, including a particularly valuable one from Monsignor Jozef Golab.

An immediate problem was the lack of space. Initially the cupboard under the altar was used for storage. After the move to the Polish Centre in 1968, the books were kept in the lounge, in cupboards originally purchased for the Syrena club. During the major refurbishment of the lounge and basement in 1972, purpose-built bookcases were installed. Unfortunately the modernist look of the lounge, as refurbished by architect Monika Lewandowska, proved highly controversial. When the next refurbishment took place in 1981, a traditional regency style was adopted, complemented by pictures by Leon Wyczolkowski, donated by the chair, Prof Zbigniew Antoni Scholtz. The Library collection eventually reached 1,000 books, and was worthy of registration by the Polish Library in the POSK Centre, in London.

Although never a major institution, the opening of a Polish Library in Leamington Spa, persuaded the local authority to open a Polish Section in Leamington Library, which still exists today.


For purely demographic reasons, there have been only two occasions, in the mid 1960s, and again in the mid 1970s, when there were larger groups of Polish children in Leamington Spa. The older group is best remembered as the folk dance ensemble and orchestra, which performed at the Millenium concert, and also at the International Festival in the Pump Room Gardens, in June 1966. In Millenium year dances were held for young people in the Parish Centre by St Peter's Church, and there was even a Youth Group, which organized the children's Christmas party that year. However, within a couple of years most of its members had left Leamington Spa for good.

The Polish Centre concentrated on the younger group of children. Soon after the Club opened, it started organizing discos for them, but these were soon abandoned, due to various difficulties. They were replaced by Scouting activities, run by Urszula Lopuszanska. On 10th January 1971 a group of girls became affiliated to the 21st Troupe "Wolne Maki". They included Urszula Lopuszanska (leader), Zofia Lopuszanska, Maria Sawczyc, Barbara Przeniczka and Hanka Iwanikiw. The first organized event was the "Oplatek" Christmas party, held on 10th January 1971, at which Prof Zbigniew Antoni Scholtz was speaker. In their first year, the girls went skating, played sports on Welches Meadow, attended a camp in Gresham, and went on a canal trip. At their meetings, they learnt about the part played by Polish scouts and guides in the struggle against the Nazi occupation, but also learnt practical skills, such as putting up tents.

The following year it was decided that single-sex scouting was alien to the inclusive values of Polish culture generally, and the Polish Centre in particular, and a group of boys was invited to join. They were Marek S. Lepkowski, Stanislaw Jan Librowski, and Konrad Lopuszanski. Meetings were held in the Polish Centre lounge, and at the home of Urszula Lopuszanska. Activities included the scouts' "Oplatek" Christmas party, which was attended by guest scouts from Coventry, a camp in Evesham, a post-camp party, and a trip to the Roman Lunt fort in Baginton. In 1973 a scrapbook was assembled to celebrate Polish astronomer Copernicus' 500th anniversary, and there were trips to the cinema, to Crackley Woods and to the "Mazowsze" troupe's camp. A year later Maria Lopuszanska and Anna Dulko joined the scouting organization. A major problem for the scouting group was the lack of their own premises. The first meetings in the lounge were opposed by the darts' team, who regarded the lounge as their own. In the circumstances, in November 1972 the "Zarzad" decided to build a scout hut in Railway Arch 3, at the back of the Polish Centre. This was completed in November 1973, and all scouting activities subsequently took place there.

Scouting ended in 1974. In November children's discos were revived for an initial trial period of 2 months. The real problem was the desire that young people should be part of an organization. After the discos were stopped, a parents' meeting was called on 16th February 1975, and it was decided to include the local children in youth activities run by the larger Polish Centre in Coventry. The issue of young people was raised again at a meeting of the "Zarzad" on 13th January 1991. A solution proved elusive, given the lack of shared interests among the local youth. Beginning on 25th July 1993, the chair, Jan Mokrzycki, began occasional meetings for younger members, combined with a bridge class.


The Polish community in Leamington Spa wanted its children to share their ethos, and for that reason regarded it as their duty to teach them the language, history, culture and traditions.

After a gap of several years, on 16th September 1962, a parents' meeting was called to re-establish a Polish Language School. This was a response to an appeal sent out by the "Zarzad". A "Kolo Rodzicielskie" (Parents' Committee) was formed, including: Aniela Lepkowska (chair), Haszko (secretary), and A. Bukowski (treasurer). The cost of maintaining the school was to be met out of fees, and profits from dances and other fundraising activities. The "Polskie Kolo Katolickie" offered financial assistance. St Peter's School provided the venue free of charge. A teacher from Birmingham, Mielnik, agreed to come to Leamington Spa each Saturday to deliver the lessons, and they began on 22nd September 1962, with 24 pupils attending. The following year lessons were taught by Stanislaw Pierozynski, Alojzy Bukowski and their partners.

The AGM of the Parents' Committee, held on 5th September 1965, decided to keep the school going, although some parents were now sending their children to the much larger school in Coventry. Prof Zbigniew Antoni Scholtz became headteacher, and lessons continued, this time in the main hall of the Parish Centre by St Peter's Church. There were 3 classes: One for children who didn't speak Polish, one for beginners, and one for the more advanced. In 1968 the school moved to the Polish Centre. Zofia Scholtz became headteacher, and there were initially 14 pupils. Numbers fell gradually, and the school closed in June 1985, due to a lack of pupils.

Those who taught in the school over the years included its' headteachers, Mielnik, Stanislaw Pierozynski, Prof Zbigniew Antoni Scholtz and Zofia Scholtz, as well as Maria Jankowicz, Zofia Sawczyc, Ewa Scholtz, M. Batt, M. Pierozynska, Bukowska and Alojzy Bukowski. Zofia Scholtz started a school library with 70 books, donated by a well-wisher. In 1972 the school organized a reading competition open to all Polish children in Leamington Spa. There were 2 age groups, and the judges, who included Monsignor Jozef Golab, prof Zbigniew Antoni Scholtz and Krystyna Czarzasta-Waglowska, awarded prizes to the following participants: In Group A these were Stanislaw Jan Librowski, Marek S. Lepkowski, Barbara Przeniczka, Hanka Iwanikiw, Zofia Lopuszanska. In Group B these were Anna Dulko, Izabella Topolinska, Tadeusz Daszkiewicz, Kazimierz Librowski, Anna Daszkiewicz and Antoni Iwanikiw.

6 pupils passed GCE "O" Levels in Polish Language: Antoni Batt, Anna Dulko, Antoni Iwanikiw, Hanka Iwanikiw, Elzbieta Iwanikiw and J. Frankiewicz. The pupils also played a very important role in the various national celebrations, such as the Millenium concert, the "Akademie" and the Monsignor's "Imieniny". They were taken on trips to Woburn Abbey Safari Park and to the Polish institutions in London.

The Parents' Committee formed on 16th September 1962, took responsibility for the school, the dance lessons, the cubs and the scouting organization. It also gave financial help to the cubs' camp in Laxton Hall and in Belgium. Since 1963, with the help of the "Kolo", it covered the costs of the children's Christmas party, and the occasional outings, such as the one to London in 1972. It also organized dances and discos for children. Earlier, together with the "Kolo", the Parents' Committee arranged viewings of Polish children's films.

The funds, which enabled the Parents' Committee to function, came mainly from subscriptions and dances. This was possible because as early as 1962 the "Kolo" allowed the profits from one of its dances to be used for the school.

The Parents' Committee and therefore the school, were separate organizations, and this was emphasized at the AGM of the "Kolo" on 12th April 1964. As of 13th October 1965 however, its finances were scrutinized by a common Auditors' Committee, which supervised all the Polish organizations in Leamington Spa. The minutes show that from 1967 there was very close co-operation between the "Kolo" and the Parents' Committee, with the result that dances and "Akademie" were organized jointly. As more and more children left school, the Parents' Committee became less active. It ceased to exist in 1976, by which time most of its duties had already been taken over by the "Kolo".

After a 9 year break, the "Zarzad" decided to re-establish the school, but in a different format. The chair managed to find a teacher from Coventry, E. Jacobs, willing to take charge. Lessons began on 15th January 1994, with 3 classes catering for the following groups: children of mixed parentage, who didn't speak Polish, Polish speaking children, and a separate class for adults. E. Jacobs was helped by 2 teaching assistants, Magdalena Mokrzycka and Krystyna Mrozicka.