Embassy of Poland, London

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Ambasada Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w Londynie

Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London

Coordinates 51°31′15″N 0°08′44″W / 51.5208°N 0.1456°W / 51.5208; -0.1456Coordinates: 51°31′15″N 0°08′44″W / 51.5208°N 0.1456°W / 51.5208; -0.1456
Location Marylebone, London
Address 47 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JH
Ambassador Witold Sobków

The Embassy of Poland in London (Polish: Ambasada Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w Londynie) is the diplomatic mission of Poland in the United Kingdom.[1] It is located on Portland Place next to the High Commission of Kenya.[2]

Main chancery building[edit]

Shortly after the Second Polish Republic gained independence in 1919, there seemed to be a general feeling of ambivalence to Britain demonstrated by most Polish statesmen. Believing that good relations with traditional ally France, and neighbour Germany, were of more importance, the Polish government largely neglected relations with the United Kingdom and it was not until 1929 that the first Polish legation was sent to establish a permanent embassy in London.

Since 1929, the Polish embassy in London has played an important role in Polish history. With the realisation in the late 1930s that war with Germany was inevitable, the Polish government set about requesting military aid from the British government; the government also signed a three-way mutual defence pact with the United Kingdom and France in order to make sure Poland would never have to stand alone against a German invasion. Thus, much of the bureaucracy surrounding these pre-war pacts found itself centred in the halls and corridors of number 47, Portland Place.

As the war progressed and with the transfer of the Polish government-in-exile to London, Portland Place again became not only the nerve centre of Polish relations with the United Kingdom, but of the entire Polish Foreign Office. The embassy soon had to acquire a number of other buildings throughout the city in order to house the large number of diplomats and politicians required to make the government in exile work. For a long time, the building represented a democratic Poland, fighting for its freedom and its territorial integrity. However, in the post-war world (in which the People's Republic of Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union) the British government refused any longer to recognise the government in exile[3] and thus the London Poles (Officials of the Polish government in exile) had to vacate the Polish embassy on Portland Place and were left only with the exile-president's private residence at 43 Eaton Place, whilst in the meantime officials of the new communist regime moved into the Georgian-era embassy building.

Since the fall of the Polish United Workers' Party in 1989 and the re-establishment of democratic rule in 1990 under President Lech Wałęsa, the embassy at 47 Portland Place has again been the seat of the primary diplomatic legation of the Polish Republic to the United Kingdom. It was here that the initial process to repatriate the official presidential seal and symbols of office (they had previously been evacuated to London with the government in exile at the beginning and for the duration of the war) to the Polish people was begun.

Other sections and the Sikorski Institute[edit]

The Sikorski Institute and Museum is a Polish cultural information centre and the embassy's section for the promotion of Polish tourism, culture and history. To this end the institute also includes, at its South Kensington site, a museum of Polish history. The museum is largely dedicated to Polish military history and includes a large number of exhibits relating to the time spent by the Polish authorities as the 'Polish Government in Exile' in London.

Other Polish embassy sections in London include the Consular, Economic & Commercial Sections, all located at 73 New Cavendish Street, Fitzrovia just around the corner from the main embassy building.[4] This section of the embassy deals with all documentation for foreigners requiring a visa or other permission whose intent it is to travel to Poland or the Schengen area. Additionally the consular officers deal with passport applications and confirmations of Polish citizenship made both by foreigners and Polish nationals, they offer birth registration services and can offer information and guidance on many other topics ranging from death of a loved one abroad or transfer of the body to Poland to legal services and recommendations for personal safety.

Poland also maintains a Trade & Investment Promotion Department at 90 Gloucester Place, Marylebone and a Polish Cultural Institute at 52-53 Poland Street, Soho.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The London Diplomatic List". 14 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "The London Diplomatic List". 14 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Editor Peter D. Stachura Chapter 4 by Wojciech Rojek The Poles in Britain 1940-2000 ISBN 0-7146-8444-9 Page 33
  4. ^ "The London Diplomatic List". 14 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "The London Diplomatic List". 14 December 2013. 

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]