Polish immigration changes Britain, and the Beatles tour!


Britain is debating the benefits of immigration again after Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the country has been "deeply unsettled" by more than half a million east and Central Europeans, mainly from Poland, who have arrived over there over the past three years. Economists say the immigrants have boosted the economy and kept inflation down. The influx is changing Britain in other ways. In Liverpool the exhibition, The Beatle's Story, has just launched a Polish-language version of its audio tours.

The Beatles Story - created in Liverpool in 1991 - is the world's only Beatles-themed attraction. It is visited by some 200,000 people annually. According to its organizers, the foreign-language versions of audio tours, which include French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese, have been a massive hit with guests, doubling the length of the average visit. In view of a fast-growing number of visitors from Poland, the choice of Polish seems to be natural. The Beatles Museum wants to capitalize on the fact that the new routes from Liverpool's John Lennon Airport to the Polish cities of Gdansk, Katowice and Warsaw have made it easier for Poles to travel to the birthplace of the Beatles. Thus the idea to introduce the Polish-language version of its audio tours. Jerry Goldman, the director of the Beatles Story explains.

"We know that in Poland, and of course around the world, the Polish people were massive fans of the Beatles and we want to encourage them to come here and visit not just the Beatles Story but see all the Beatles sites in Liverpool and enjoy the rest of Liverpool. We find that the best way of saying "you're welcome" is to say - come and listen to the audio tour, the Living History, in your own language. Be comfortable and be happy with us. I believe we are the only visitor attraction in the whole of the UK maybe in most of western Europe where we bothered to translate everything into Polish to say "you're welcome"!

Before the Polish version was born, the English-language version of the "Living History" had to be prepared including all sorts of people involved in the story of the Beatles, like Sir Paul McCartney and the Fab Four manager Brian Epstein. It took three months to produce the Polish-language version. Colin Hanton, the drummer of the Quarrymen - the forerunner of the Beatles, welcomed the decision to introduce more foreign language guides.

"Oh yes, I mean the bigger this Beatles story gets the better. I am quite happy for them, I think they've worked hard and I think it's nice for the people from around the world to come to Liverpool and find something that's worth seeing. So yes for Polish!"

The birthplace of the Beatles has already welcomed many Poles. One of them was able to get a job in the Beatles Story Museum. 23-year-old Ola Berder came here from the western city of Wroclaw. Asked whether the Polish audio tour is likely to change the somewhat one-sided perception of Polish workers in the U.K.she had this to say.

"I hope so because we have to change the stereotype, there are many, many amazing Polish people here in Liverpool. I met so many students and so many interesting people and I would like them to feel at home here in a way. So, all are invited!"

More information on the foreign-language versions of the Living History tour guides can be found at www.beatlesstory.com.