Film & Sound Archive

Over 1,300 reels of film

The Film Archive is run by the Audio-Visual Manager, who also looks after the Institute’s computers and is assisted by volunteers. It comprises a rich collection of over 1,300 reels of film that document military, political and civilian events in pre-war Poland and during the Second World War and also portray life in Exile. The Archive is divided into 4 main sections:

35 mm films (known as the Sikorski Collection)

Films that deal mainly with the Second World War and the pre-war period.

Films donated by individuals

Predominantly 16mm and 8mm formats, although there is some 9.5mm material, which has been donated by veterans and their families.  Some of this illustrates wartime activities, but is predominantly a documentation of post-war life in exile.

Films made by the Institute itself

Films that document visits by dignitaries, schools and private individuals, exhibitions etc.

Films produced by professional film makers and TV companies

Films, not only those which incorporate the Institute’s own material, but also those that deal with the Institute’s field of interest.

How to use any film or sound material?

A program of conservation is in place, with thousands of feet of material already converted to digital formats.

See partial film catalogue

Please see the partial catalogue for an idea of the type of material available.

Available sound recordings

There are well over a thousand sound recordings, that are mainly of Polish Radio broadcasts that were made from the United Kingdom during World War 2 and also the Polish Section of Radio Free Europe.  They cover a wide spectrum of themes: speeches, various reports, as well as military, classical, traditional and light music etc.

Contact us

If you wish to use any film or sound material, please follow the link and then phone to make an appointment:

Tel: +44 (0)207 589 9249 – ask for the Film Department,


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Book an appointment

To use any content you will have to make an appointment at the Institute. To do this, you should complete, print and sign a copy of both the ‘Application for Persons Wishing to Use the Archives’, and of the ‘Rules and Regulations’ form. You will have to bring them with you when attending.

The full appointment booking process is available via the link below.