Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum
The General Sikorski Historical Institute was called into being on 2nd May 1945 when an agreement between Helena Sikorska and members of the organising committee was signed.
By this agreement Gen. Sikorski’s widow donated her husband’s papers and memorabilia to the new Institute. The committee’s task was to take care of them and organise an institution bearing her husband’s name.
Its task was to facilitate research into Gen. Sikorski’s career and his times. The Organising Committee formed the Institute’s first Council. At its head stood the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Chairman of the Polish-Scottish Society.
The main initiative to set up such an institution came from Gen. Sikorski’s Chef de Cabinet Lt. Col. Zygmunt Borkowski, who was also Head of the Military Archive and Museum Service between 1944 and 1948. He became the Institute’s first director, a post he held until 1956. From a legal point of view the Institute was organised as a Trust and later received charity status. To avoid any pressure from either the British Government or the communist regime in Warsaw it was decided not to establish the Institute by a decision of either the legal President of Poland or the Polish Goverment then residing in London.
During the first meeting of the Institute’s Council on 13th December 1945 at the Dorchester Hotel, Colonel Stanisław Szurlej reminded his listeners of “similar Polish institutions such as the Polish Library in Paris and the Polish Museum in Rapperswil and that their common aim in the collecting of historical documents witnessing Poland’s contribution to worldwide culture in general, and as far as this Institute is concerned specially to the period of the Second World War.
The Institute has been named after General Sikorski, as the basis of its collections are the General’s memorabilia donated by Helena Sikorska the Generals’s widow as well as the fact that the General’s name is inextricably entwined with Poland’s role in the war, side by side with the British and American allies.
These same reasons are the cause of Madame Sikorska’s special privileges in the Institute”.
- Address: 20 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PT
- Phone: 020 7589 9249
- Website: http://www.pism.co.uk
- Email: email@example.com
- Get there by bus: 9, 10, 52, 452
- Get there by tube/train: Piccadilly Line, Circle Line, District Line
- Wheelchair access: No
- Additional information: No wheelchair access. No lift
- Monday Closed
- Tuesday 14.00 - 16.00
- Wednesday 14.00 - 16.00
- Thursday 14.00 - 16.00
- Friday 14.00 - 16.00
- Saturday First Saturday of the month - 10.30 - 16.00
- Sunday Closed