Ways in which the residents were able to relax

 

The Hostel Hall / theatre

Performances of all kinds, children’s parties, Christmas celebrations, films and school pantomimes, etc. were also held here - this was the largest venue in Marsworth. There was also an excellent stage, as can be seen from many photographs. Some of these events were attended by local people.

 

Dances were held here, and many young Poles met their future partners at these events. People were bussed in from as far away as Bedford to attend.

 

We had an entertainment hall with a stage and it was used for showing films, stage productions, dances, meetings and national celebrations. Jan Baliszewski

 

He Edward Buczak) used to talk about the dances that took place, and he went to the cinema in Tring too. He learnt to play the piano accordion and with his teacher played in a band for New Year's Eve and other occasions. Lilian Buczak

 

This is our only illustration of the outside of the Hostel Hall – we have no photos.
Drawing by Stanislaw Jakubas in 2019 from memory.

 

 

 

 

Here the Marsworth School headteacher Mrs Pennicott is dancing with some of the girls on the stage of the Hostel theatre.

 

 

A Christmas production in the Hostel Hall

 

 

A Christmas production in the Hall

 

 

 

A splendid Christmas tree is set up in the Hostel Hall

 

We had an entertainment hall with a stage and it was used for showing films, stage productions, dances, meetings and national celebrations. Jan Baliszewski

 

He (Edward Buczak) used to talk about the dances that took place, and he went to the cinema in Tring too. He learnt to play the piano accordion and with his teacher played in a band for New Year's Eve and other occasions. Lilian Buczak

 

New Year's Eve Dance 1954/5 in the Marsworth Hall

Marsworth Camp used to hold regular Saturday night dances to which Poles from other areas were invited and bussed in. And that is how my father met my mother after being bussed in from Bedford. Ted Lyjak

 

Irena Sokolowska met her husband Marian at one of the many dances organised at Marsworth. The dances would regularly take place at the Hostel Hall. These dances and social events were opportunities for the many young single men and women to meet and form long lasting friendships and marriages - some reaching 50 years together. Barbara Fryc

 

Bronia Siebert met her husband Kiements while selling tickets at a dance at Marsworth. They were married in 1954 in Aylesbury Church and the reception was held in their barracks at the hostel. She remembers they had sardine sandwiches for the meal. Barbara Fryc

The Marsworth Polish Hostel football team - Gwiazda Gdyni

 

Football

 

With many young and fit young men at the Hostel, a physical outlet was important, and with a convenient playing field available between Sites 7 and 8, this provided an obvious opportunity. There were many young boys and men at the hostels in Marsworth and Wing, many of whom had no family; it was important to give them role models and a purpose in life.

 

Stanisláw Czaczka, an ex-soldier, set up and trained the football team 'Gwazda Gdynia' which won many trophies and was a highly successful team - senior and junior. Winning the General Anders Trophy twice was a tremendous achievement.

 

 

 

Gwiazda Gdyni 1951-52

 

Music

 

Many talented musicians taught gifted children and young adults on piano, violin and accordion. Mr Jerzy Jeron was one such ex-soldier/musician. The SPK gave him money to buy an accordion, which enabled him to earn extra money playing at dances. He established a band that played at the dances at Marsworth and other hostels and Polish communities that had started up in the area. He taught Edward Buczak and Piotr Miecznik to play the accordion.

 

He ran the choir at Marsworth and was parish organist and choir master for over 50 years in the Polish community in Dunstable when the hostel closed.

Jerzy Jeron conducting the choir and playing the piano at Marsworth Hostel

 

Jerzy Jeron's band was popular at dances, both in Marsworth and at halls some distance away.

 

Edward Buczak playing the accordion in his hut.

 

 

Other entertainments

 

There were Saturday cinema visits to Aylesbury, returning by bus to Tring then on foot to Marsworth using the canal towpath. There were shopping trips by train to Watford or even Oxford Street, as well as organised theatre outings, but not very often. Mainly our entertainment was more informal.

 

We socialised within the camp, and there were football matches as well as Saturday dances which drew people from neighbouring camps such as Leighton Buzzard and surrounding areas – there were many attractive young ladies in the camps. Also there was the
ever-popular walk in the local countryside or by the canal, wondering at the fishermen sitting patiently on the banks with their lines.
Bronislawa Glinska

 

Edward Buczak beside the Aylesbury Arm canal

Zofia Buczak beside one of the reservoirs

 

A group of friends and relatives sitting possibly on an air raid shelter

 

A sack race on the playing field between Sites 8 and 7

 

Edward Buczak and friend riding their bikes

 

Fishing

This was a popular pastime for adults and children that cost very little. There was plenty of choice with the proximity of the canals and reservoirs.

Dad (Edward Buczak) would go fishing by the reservoir. Lilian Buczak

 

I liked fishing in the canal and locks. Zig Latysonek

 

I liked to watch the working barges passing through the locks with their cargo of concrete lintels [piles] for reinforcing the banks of the canal, which were made at Marsworth Wharf by British Waterways, while my dad sat fishing. Jan Baliszewski

 

A group on the playing field between Sites 8 and 7 - event unknown

 

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