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Statue of Béla Bartók at South Kensington

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 A message from our President, General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank

'I am delighted to be associated with the work of the Polish Heritage Society and very honoured to serve as its President. The Society's work highlights the enormous contribution which generations of Poles have made to their adopted country. Preserving and celebrating that heritage will only further strengthen the ties between Poland and the United Kingdom.

I worked closely with the Society on the project to build a memorial to the Polish Forces at the National Memorial Arboretum and saw at first hand the energy and dedication of those involved.

I encourage you to explore this website and learn about the many other projects the Society has sponsored. Do please contact us if you would like to be involved in any way'.

General The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE

A Debt of Dishonour is a unique documentary film dedicated Major General Sosabowski and all ranks who served in the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group and to their Comrades-in-Arms of the 1st British Airborne Division that fought in the ill-fated “Operation Market Garden” at Arnhem and Driel during September 1944.

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The Polish Heritage Society

Statue of Béla Bartók at South Kensington


Bela Bartock StatuePoland and Hungary share a close relationship dating back to the Middle Ages; this friendship is eptitomised in a bilingual proverb, in Polish, 'Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki' ('Pole and Hungarian cousins be'), and in Hungarian, 'Lengyel, magyar — két jó barát' (Pole and Hungarian — two good friends) and this spirit of fraternity continues today in contacts between the Polish Heritage Society and the Peter Warlock Society who have successfully campaigned for the restoration of Imre Varga's statue of Béla Bartók to its South Kennsington site. Dr Marek Stella-Sawicki, chairman of the Polish Heritage Society was able to share with Malcolm Rudland, vice-president of the Peter Warlock Society, the experiences of PHS members who had worked on the recent Chopin statue restoration project at Southbank.

The Bartók bronze statue which is approximately two metres high was originaly unveiled in 2004 but has been hidden away in storage after being removed as part of the redesign of the area outside South Kensington Station. After much hard work by the Peter Warlock Society, a rededication and unveiling ceremony is scheduled for September 2011.

The Hungarian Béla Bartók (1881-1945) is among the half-dozen most significant composers of the twentieth century.  The connection he established between the music of rural people and the music of the concert hall is profound and enduring.  He influenced a huge number of the leading composers of the period after the Second World War.  During the 1930s he was a member of the Artistic Committee of the League of Nations, and is seen today as a beacon of artistic freedom and freedom of speech as fascism increasingly took hold across Europe.

Bartók knew South Kensington well, as he frequently stayed there when he visited London.  His hosts were Sir Duncan Wilson and Lady Freda Wilson, who lived at 7 Sydney Place SW7. (Sir Duncan was for many years His Majesty’s Inspector of Factories.)  Today Bartók’s international musical significance is reaffirmed every year in South Kensington by the frequency of his works on the programmes of the Prom Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.

For more information contact:

Malcolm Rudland
Peter Warlock Society
31 Hammerfield House, Cale Street, London SW3 3SG.

Warlock Bartok Society

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