UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Bednarczyk's Press & Feliks Topolski- Guided Tour

12 May 2024, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm

bednarczyk and Topolski tour

This bilingual event will be a tour and talks (including augmented reality AR technology) exploring the history of Polish art and emigration and its contribution to London's cultural landscape.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Katarzyan Zechenter


146 Bridge Arch
Sutton Walk

To register for the tour, please contact Elżbieta Smoleńska at zppno1946@gmail.com

Tour Programme:

Sites of Memory – by Dr Justyna Gorzkowicz

The opening remarks will introduce the concept of 'lieu de mémoire', exploring how physical locations hold historical and emotional significance, weaving a narrative that links the past with the present. It will focus on specific sites that have played a pivotal role in cultural or historical events, in the context of the project 'Unveiling the Heritage': Krystyna Bednarczyk (1923–2011) – Polish poet and co-founder of the Poets’ and Painters' Press in London'. This project is carried out mainly by the Research Centre on the Legacy of Polish Migration (ReCeLPM of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad in London).

London in the footsteps of Krystyna – guided by Regina Wasiak-Taylor
This guided exploration takes participants through London, retracing Krystyna Bednarczyk's steps. It highlights key places that shaped her life and work, while aiming to deepen understanding of her legacy and role in the London-based Press. Additionally, the talk promotes intergenerational and intercultural dialogue between Poles living abroad and the local community. A crucial goal is to enhance awareness of ethnic minority identities and women's roles in culture and society.

ARHeritageTour – demo of an augmented reality (AR) application to visualise memories in urban space – by Jarosław Solecki
This part of the tour demonstrates how Augmented Reality (AR) technology can bring historical and personal memories, heritage, and art to life. It highlights the integration of these elements into the palimpsest fabric of the city, thereby enhancing our understanding of and engagement with urban environments. To use the ARHeritageTour app, you will need a fully charged mobile phone with internet access and a browser installed. After scanning the QR code, the app works on most ANDROID devices (smartphones such as Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Pixel). Preferred web browsers: Chrome, Opera, Samsung Internet Ver. 11.2+.

Bednarczyk’s Publishing House and Polish Emigré Press – Prof. Katarzyna Zechenter
“Poets’ and Painters’ Press” published around 800 volumes during its 55-year existence (1950–2005). In this short talk, we will look at the place occupied by “Poets’ and Painters’s Press” in the printing landscape of non-English printing houses in the UK, and their contribution to multiculturalism of today’s UK. "Polski ToPolski” Polish threads in biography of Feliks Topolski.

Visit of Topolski Studio with – Elżbieta Smoleńska
In this short talk we will explore some of the highlights of the amazing biography of a prolific artist, war correspondent and a chronicler of the XX century. We will touch upon Feliks Topolski’s Polish heritage and connections including long lasting friendship and cooperation with Krystyna and Czesław Bednarczyk. Famous „Chronicles” of the XX century were published in a nearby Bednarczyk’s Press.

Visit to the studio thanks to the courtesy of the Topolski Foundation

Krystyna Bednarczyk, née Brzozowska (b. 1923 in Warsaw, d. 2011 in London), was a Home Army soldier during WWII, a poet, publisher, typographer and a co-founder with her husband (Czesław) of the London-based Poets and Painters' Press. She made her debut in 1951 in “Culture” [“Kultura”] in the Polish émigré journal published in Paris. She is also the author of the poetry collections "Obmowy świtów" (1978) and "Happiness Not Kissed Enough" (2000), "Wiersze wybrane" (2005). After the death of her husband, she continued to publish and manage “Oficyna”. In 2005-2010, she became chair of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad and editor of the London-based émigré journal “Pamiętnik Literacki” / “Literary Diary”. In recognition of her services to Poland, she was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland.

Feliks Topolski was a Polish artist. He studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and was an active member of Warsaw's bohemian society. In 1935, Topolski went to Great Britain as a correspondent for "Wiadomości Literackie" to cover the Silver Jubilee of King George V, and stayed in London ever since. He became friends with, among others, George Bernard Shaw and Prince Philip, thanks to whom he soon became part of the British establishment. He was a war correspondent, covering the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and the Nuremberg Trials. The most important historical events of the XX century, which he witnessed, became part of his famous "Chronicles". Panoramic murals by Topolski are among others in Buckingham Palace.

This event is organised by the Research Centre on the Legacy of Polish Migration of which Dr Katarzyan Zechenter (SSEES) us Vice-Director.The event is a part of the wider project 'Unveiling the Heritage: Krystyna Bednarczyk,' funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NS-23-00154).