St Briavels Polish Scout House – Documentary photography by Czesław Siegieda


Documentary photographer Czesław Siegieda recorded life in a Polish community in England from 1970 to the 1980s. In 1952, Polish scouts from the ‘Szczecin’ region (a scout group based in south west England) first camped in the fields of the Wye Valley. Just 3 years later, a camp for 11 cubs and brownies took place at Prospect Cottage, near St Briavels.

The following year, a larger building was needed to accommodate the cubs and brownies and a local farmer let them use a building called Woodside House – now the Polish Scout House. American forces who were in the process of dismantling their facilities in Wye valley and returning home, kindly offered to transport camping equipment, beds and other materials to the new site to enable it to be used.

In 1961 the site and buildings were put up for sale by the owner. The UK Polish Scouting Association did not have the necessary funds to buy the facility. Fortunately, a number of people who recognised the huge potential this site offered
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