From Poland to Waltham Forest - Catherine Osborn

Dec 18, 2014, 08:11 PM

On a spring evening in 1949 employees of the Lebus furniture factory in Waltham Forest gathered in the elegant surroundings of the Café Royal on Regent Street to celebrate 50 years of production. Among them was Henry Buritsky, a Polish man who lived in Waltham Forest and had been working at the factory for 25 years. From Poland to Waltham Forest, a new project from local community organisation Share UK, will explore the lives of Polish migrants like Henry Buritsky from the 1800s to the present day and celebrate their contribution to the local community. Esther Freeman, Chair of Share UK says: ‘This is a project about communities: how they've come together; and what they've contributed to the Waltham Forest we see today.’ The Lebus factory on the Waltham Forest borders, which employed many Polish migrants, provided homes with furniture closely linked to the William Morris arts and crafts movement. During the Second World War the factory’s production lines were turned over to making the all-wood Mosquito bomber planes, nicknamed the Wooden Wonder, as part of the war effort. The project team uncovered information about the Lebus Factory and Henry Buritsky as part of a year’s archive research. They learned that Buritsky married a woman named Rose Eastman in 1925. The couple settled in Highams Park and had three daughters: Pauline, who died aged one, Brenda and June. The team would love to hear from living relatives of the Buritsky family or anyone who might know more about them. Project volunteers have now completed training in oral history interviewing techniques and will begin recording the stories of people with Polish connections living in Waltham Forest. Audio clips from these interviews will be shared in an exhibition as part of next year’s E17 Art Trail and a website from Spring 2015. If you have a story to share or would like to get involved with the project contact the team by emailing or visit

For more information about Share UK go to: Catherine Osborn