The history of the Polish Club in Bury goes far back to the post-war times. In 2022, the Club celebrated its unique 60th anniversary. The Club has gathered Poles and friends from other nationalities for six decades, nurturing Polishness and strengthening social ties. These sixty years are a series of significant achievements, moments spent together and inspiring intergenerational cooperation. May the further history of the Club be equally fruitful, and the next generations will proudly continue the traditions of the founders of this unique place.
The beginning of the establishment of the Polish Center in Bury under the name of the Polish House "Orzeł Biały" is similar to other clusters of Poles after World War II, scattered throughout England, Wales and Scotland. The statute of the Polish Club in Bury says that "the goal is to nurture Polishness, create cultural, social, charitable, scientific and entertainment conditions for members, and help for social and youth organizations." After the war and nowadays, it is still important and needed for all Poles in England for young and older adults and families to have their environment.
Dom Polski is well known by the local population, enjoying a good reputation, recognition and respect. Poles and other nationalities use it for various purposes. It has a large dance hall, the largest after Bury Town Hall, a kitchen, a cosy and comfortable bar room for members and service with a well-stocked bar and all amenities.
Various events or parties are regularly organized with a buffet or lunches prepared by professional Polish chefs, who are available for private small and more significant functions. In addition, national celebrations, academies and artistic performances are organized.
The first Poles arrived in Bury in September 1946 as a guard unit of the 2nd Corps, assigned to guard the "Lowercroft Barracks". After demobilization, several dozen of them settled in Bury. However, the main influx of Poles to Bury began only in 1948 due to a two-year contract with the P.K.P.R., which was aimed at preparing former military personnel for civilian life.
In 1950, military families from Africa, India and Europe began to arrive. There was a large group of young people between the ages of 10 and 18 among them. A senior-scouting circle was organized, which ran the library at the Catholic church of St. Mary. A folk dance group, known then in the north of England, was founded, and a volleyball sports team was established. In 1958, after the loosening of the communist system in Poland, families separated during the war, mainly wives with minor and adolescent children, began to arrive in England. Given the growing number of Poles in Bury, the lack of a centre of their own where the life of the Polish community could be freely organized was acutely felt. Moreover, it was not financially possible for individual institutions and organizations to purchase land or a building. Therefore, in 1959 SPK, the People's Party and the Church Committee decided to convene a joint meeting to discuss the purchase of the building and establish the Polish House.
At the meeting, it was decided that Poles in Bury would jointly purchase the Polish House and serve their purposes.
The Polish House began to enjoy great success, gathering Poles from Bury and visitors from Bolton, Manchester and other nearby towns.
After a few years, despite the extension, the Club turned out to be too small for the needs of Poles and members consisting of English, Italians and other nationalities. So it was decided to build a new building. This happened in 1969. The Club enjoys strong support from the Polish community in Bury and the surrounding area and is also used by the English and other nationalities for various purposes.
The current Polish House still today concentrates on dynamic socio-cultural and religious activities. The parish in Bury is an inseparable part of the Polish Home. These enormous achievements are only thanks to the dedicated and selfless work of the founding members for many years. Unfortunately, most founders are no longer alive, leaving behind a well-functioning Polish community centre for new generations.
The Club's current president is Teresa Hassan, who perfectly remembers the beginnings of creating this excellent centre.