Remembering Harry Podlewski

Henryk, Henry, Harry, Dad, Grandad Henry, even on occasion, Mr. P.

Harry was known to many people in many ways over his life, and North Kensington Law Centre are glad and proud to have counted him as a friend of North Ken.

Harry was born on 10th October 1947, in Meppen, Germany.

His  early years in the United Kingdom were spent in refugee camps, first in Wiltshire and then in Lulsgate, North Somerset. These were tough years for everyone there, but Harry had fond memories of his early years being surrounded by the (largely) Polish refugee community.

Being a refugee in a 1950s English school wasn’t easy, and Harry was fond of telling a story where he was told to ‘pull his socks up’ by a teacher, which he duly did, only to be punished for being cheeky. In fact the problem was just a young Polish boy not yet understanding English wit. It felt like his early years stayed with him as he sought a vocation that would help people.

Harry then went to Liverpool to train to be a teacher, but this did not seem to be his calling..

Harry moved to London in the 1970s and started working for social justice causes close to his heart. This led him to meet and work with Peter Kandler who had started North Kensington Law Centre, to assist local residents to access the justice system.

Harry’ s immense work in criminal law and legal aid defined him –  his work was a huge part of his identity. He tried and failed to retire at 60, and worked part time after that for about another 10 years.

His stellar contribution to the work and cause espoused by North Kensington Law Centre is greatly appreciated and we join Harry’s family in sharing their sadness but also fond memories of Harry after his passing.