Sunday, 3 July 2016

Polish Ealing

Polish Ealing

Polish Ealing: A Brief History, 1945-2015 (Tignarius Publications, 2016), 409pp.

From the back cover:

The London Borough of Ealing is home to the largest Polish
community in Europe outside Poland. In this, the first detailed
account of the Poles in Ealing in English, historian Piotr Stolarski
sheds light on the origins of the community, its development and
subsequent history after World War Two, including the impact of
migration to Ealing after Poland's E.U. accession in 2004. The
book delves into questions of Polish culture, memory, identity,
and generational change; including the local significance of
Polish Pope John Paul II, and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. The
role of Ealing's Poles in the fight for freedom under Communism,
and the ways in which Poles have integrated yet remained a
distinctive ethnic community in Ealing, are among many other
topics of discussion. With 93 illustrations.

Dr. Piotr Stolarski was born in Gdansk, Poland, in 1980, and has
lived in Acton since 1983. A Polish and British citizen, he
currently works at the Ealing Local History Centre, London.

I work at the Ealing Local History Centre; the archive of the London Borough of Ealing.

Ealing has the largest Polish community in Europe outside Poland, with about 30,000 Poles out of a total population of 350,000.

My latest book is a history of Ealing's Polish community, from World War Two to 2015. This is the first book in English to cover the community in any depth or detail. I will give a talk on the subject in 2017 at Ealing Central Library.

The book is self-published by my Tignarius Publications outfit. Priced £10. Available at:, or from Ealing Local History Centre.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Christian Ealing: An Ecumenical History

My latest project is a church history of the Ealing area. Ealing is a London Borough (today containing about 350,000 people), comprising various localities such as Ealing proper, Acton, Southall, Northolt, Greenford, Perivale, Hanwell, etc. The area's church history stretches back over 1,000 years.

I've spent several months examining parish histories, parish magazines, and photographs in the Ealing Local History Centre collection. The groundwork was laid last year with my previous book: Ealing Church History Notes (the result of a year of database work, concerning sources for over 400 churches from over 30 denominations).

I'm currently writing the book, which will be the basis for a talk on the subject: Churches through Time: Ealing's Christian History, 1114-2014 AD.

Here's the draft contents pages:


1. The Roots of Parish Life: The Medieval Period

2. The Confessional Age: Reformation to Catholic Emancipation, 1534-1829

3. Church Building in an Age of Christian Pluralism: The Victorian Era, 1837-1901

4. Growing, Irrelevant? Christians, Secularisation and Social Change, 1901-1965

5. Beyond Secularisation: Ecumenism and Multiculturalism, 1965-2014






Thursday, 11 December 2014

What I Am Now Doing

1). Compiling and editing the book for Verbum Dei community (my Christmas project)

2). Researching book and talk: "Churches through Time: Ealing's Christian History, 1114-2014 AD" (for December 2015)

3). I've resurrected my Christian Existentialist Medley blog - still posting away.

4). Growing an American Civil War Presbyterian Confederate General's beard. Hey, it's something to try before you die. Cutting the beard is sinful, says the Bible (if you're Presbyterian). I'm Catholic, but I like the concept.

Beyond that, it's painting up more 6mm Napoleonic miniatures, plus some 2mm German and Russian World War Two armies.

Also, I am currently smoking 0-2 cigarettes a day.

Plans for 2015? Just trust God more, I guess.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Latest Projects Update

I have recently finished my Christian Existentialist Medley project. While I got a lot out of it, it was becoming a monster and taking over my life. It remains 400 posts + extras of Christian Existentialism for those interested...

Also complete is my Broken Roots poetry collection: a medley of poems from the first half of 2014. The poems mainly deal with faith, madness, Islam, current events...

I am continuing with maxims and aphorisms this year... always a good way to exercise the mind, and bear the soul. This continues on from my two books, 'Rogue Elements' and 'Ground of Being'.

With the Verbum Dei Community (UK), I am doing a small book introducing the community, charism, history, founder (Fr. Jaime Bonet) etc. and also including testimonies from people who have been involved with Verbum Dei (including yours truly). I may work on this book during the Verbum Dei August silent retreat on the Isle of Wight...

At work, I proposed a Muslim community oral history project - so far no sign that this will be implemented. The idea is to document the insufficiently well known and understood diverse Muslim community in the London Borough of Ealing - through interviews, a book, talk, display, and website. Heritage Lottery Funding is possible, and I have some contacts in the Muslim community, it's just a case of time and commitment from the upper echelons of the Ealing library service...

Also at work, I will be indexing and researching race relations in 1970s Ealing (the late 70s was a time of race riots and Skinheads in the Queen of the Suburbs, with the deaths of Blair Peach and Gurdip Singh Chaggar). This builds on the 'Immigration and Race' chapter of my Ealing in the 1960s book, and will mainly be based on local newspapers on microfilm. I get the impression that the 1970s saw the rise of a self-conscious immigrant/Asian community in a time of ideological conflict and resurgent Marxism. All very interesting. We don't really understand the 1970s in Ealing, which paved the way for "political correctness" in the 1980s...

Meantime, I have regressed into a teenager and started building up Napoleonic 6mm armies again (French and British) for a wargame at some point in the future in my newly constructed 2-room attic abode. The rediscovery of this hobby has been a fruitful means of relaxation - a good counterpoint to writing etc. Vive L'Empereur!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Signs of the Times: Paradigm Shift 2013

2013 has been a good year for the Christian Existentialist Medley.

Each year I collate the posts, before making them available for purchase in book form - or free by email. 

2011: Christian Existentialist Fragments

2012: Substance of Accidents

2013: "2013: Paradigm Shift"

Have you also sensed a shift in the air this year? What our Jedi-faith brethren would call a disturbance in the force? I certainly have, lately. And maybe it's just my own psychology trying to tell me something? But maybe it signals a shift in "Zeitgeist"?

What does it mean? How do you feel about it? Has anything happened in your life that you can't understand or explain but which is definitely real, strange, peculiar, or unexpected? Have we somehow entered a new era of history? (Because the world has not ended, has it?)

Somehow, God has come closer to me (maybe to all of us). There is a sea-change afoot, and right now I can't put my finger on it. 

Only with hindsight can we hope to discover the glowing embers of this paradigm shift. 

Thus the third book in the Christian Existentialist Medley project will be called "2013: Paradigm Shift"

I hope to have a prototype ready by early January (I still need to include posts from November and December which are yet to be written). 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Three Colours: Faith - Three Recent Publications


The first of my A6 pocket book publications was this Christian existentialist manual, consisting of three parts: Doubt, Faith, and God. It was largely culled from my Christian Existentialist Medley blog. I have distributed some to friends and colleagues. This was received by some as meaty and heavy-going, despite being designed to be readable and pithy from my perspective, so I decided to produce more basic and user-friendly works in future in this format. I am still very pleased with this book, however.


This was my attempt to condense the 4 Gospels into a short book, which I use to introduce people to the Christian faith. It is based on a popular bible translation, and I make no money out of it, yet it is not an official Tignarius Publication, for copyright reasons. "Taste the Word loving" was my supplementary catchphrase. I have handed it out in the street, and to work colleagues, among others.


Having watched "The Baader Meinhof Complex", dabbled in socialist literature, and pondered the perverse persuasiveness of Marxism, I wanted an answer from the Christian side. This short pamphlet is a recent publication of mine, under the nom-de-guerre Juan Servus (sounds more comradely). This is also available on my Christian Existentialist Medley blog. 

All three books available for free by email only. If interested, contact me under the Tignarius Publications address: Physical copies not available (I hand them out ad hoc). 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Current Projects 3

On the Margins? Reflections on Minorities and Multiculturalism in Ealing, c. 1965-2000

History and Social/Cultural Analysis

Possible content:

Introduction: ‘Marginal’ discourse – origins and influences: Christianity and Marxism? Liberalism? 60s Counter-Culture? Anti-Racialism? Democracy? Postmodernism? Globalisation? End of Cold War? Internationalism? Business pragmatism? ‘Tolerance’ as concept and practise

Chapter 1: Minorities, Immigration and Identity

1.1  Asians
1.2  Blacks
1.3  Poles
Questions: history, community organisation, perceptions, self-identity, impact

Chapter 2: Minorities, Religions and Values

2.1  Christians – minority or mainstream? Marginalized or marginalizers?
2.2  Muslims (e.g. burial and mosques controversies), 9/11 context
2.3  Secularism, and the ‘neutral public sphere’; ‘public’ and ‘private’ life. Other examples…
Questions: secularization and its limits; community-role of religion(s); believers as minorities in a ‘multicultural’ paradigm?

Chapter 3: Minorities, Politics and Language

3.1  Political ideology and change: government, legislation, parties, including ones such as BNP, NF; European Union as the new ‘minority’ or ‘Other’?
3.2  Political policies/agendas and ‘minorities’; Police approaches over time
3.3  Language and approaches changing over time in ‘public life’
Questions: have minorities become a mainstream preoccupation, if so, how and why? Political correctness and fear; are minorities integrated, do they persist, or are new ones created?

Chapter 4: Minorities, Care and Society

4.1 Disabled; abortion
4.2 Mentally Ill and Drug Addicts; hospitals, incl. St. Bernards
4.3 Elderly; euthanasia
Questions: language and care between ‘charity’ and ‘empowerment’; values and perceptions/treatment of ‘minorities’

Chapter 5: Minorities, Controversy and Attitudes

5.1 Gipsies
5.2 Homeless, unemployed
5.3 Homosexuality and Feminism
Questions: conflict between certain minorities and society; changing attitudes and how they change (if they do); ‘minority’ as ‘difference’; accommodation and debate

Chapter 6: Minorities, Council and Local Democracy

6.1 Council policy to minorities – multiculturalism? Influences? How was change/diversity managed?
6.2 Participation in local politics; democracy or apathy?
6.3 Is democracy a cause of integration or disintegration?
Questions: power and minorities at local level; uses of minorities in power politics

Chapter 7: Minorities and the Mainstream

7.1 Effects of change on ‘non-minorities’? Intolerance of tolerance? Fear of censure?
7.2 Erosion of local and national identity? Fragmentation, technology, globalisation?
7.3 Cohesion, community, values, cynicism. Skepticism about the ‘multi-cult’; and political correctness? Transcending multiculturalism?
Questions: minorities and society in general; impact of multiculturalist ideology; what comes after ‘minorities and multiculturalism’?

Conclusion: The Centrality and Persistence of ‘Minorities’? Fragmentation or different modes of community? Continuity and change

Questions and Problems:

1). Values, opinions, policy, agendas
2). Who was the ‘mainstream’? or was it a society entirely made up of ‘different groups’/communities? Defining the ‘non-Other’? Has the ‘mainstream’ lost a voice?
3). Transition from modern to postmodern world
4). Cultural change/continuity
5). Provision
6). Attitudes towards
7). Language and terminology
8). Identity
9). Inclusion/exclusion
10). Community/communities
11). Multiple identities
12). Conflict/accommodation
13). Help/assistance
14). Independence
15). Minority/majority – also when one becomes the other, vice-versa
16). Mainstream/marginal
17). Multiculturalism
18). Political correctness
19). Racism/prejudice
21). 1970s
22). Assimilation/integration
23). Social interaction
24). ‘Tolerance’/toleration
25). Council policy
26). Cultural diversity
27). Inclusion/exclusion
28). Ideologies giving rise to multiculturalism, discourse, agendas, etc.
29). Press
30). Public opinion
31). Politics of ‘difference’
32). Discrimination and local politics
33). Equal opportunities
34). How do ‘minorities’ achieve respectability, if they do? Process?
35). Social questions: housing, poverty, unemployment
36). Economic dimension: unemployment; recessions and impact on minorities
37). Positive discrimination
38). 'Relativism' and culture change 


  • Newspapers
  • Council material – stats, policy, etc.
  • Parish magazines
  • Interviews
  • Secondary sources

Possible Minorities:

  • ‘Asians’ [+ religions]
  • ‘Black people’: ‘West Indians’ and Africans
  • Gipsies
  • Gays (1980s on?)
  • Poles
  • Irish (evidence?)
  • Disabled, mentally ill, elderly
  • ‘Muslims’/overlaps with ethnicity (i.e. largely Asian or African)
  • Refugees
  • Homeless, unemployed

Ethnic minorities
Racial minorities
Religious/belief minorities
Other: sexuality, disability and health

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