Search

Obituary: Barbara Foster, Polish emigre, mother and dressmaker to Margaret Thatcher, dies aged 87

09:00 01 August 2014

Barbara Foster, dress maker to Margaret Thatcher, has died aged 87

Barbara Foster, dress maker to Margaret Thatcher, has died aged 87

Archant

Barbara Foster, who was born Barbara Pszczolkowska on March 27, 1927 in Warsaw in Poland, the middle child of a family of four siblings.

Her earliest life was spent in Paprotnia, in a house, she told us, where Napoleon stayed on his way to Russia. Later the family moved to Blonie, near Warsaw, where her father worked for the railways.

Her early life was marked by the Second World War and the Nazi occupation of Poland - her father died from tuberculosis, her brother Jerzy worked for the underground, the ‘Armii Krajowa’ (Home Army), and was jailed for his undercover activities.

She herself was captured at 16 years of age, with her younger sister, part of German reprisals in response to the doomed 1944 Warsaw uprising.

Young people were active in the resistance, and thus, fell under suspicion. She recalled being taken in a goods train to a camp, surrounded by barbed wire.

While in transit to another camp, she managed to escape, in part due to the help of a ‘volksdeutsch’ (half German, half Polish) woman, hiding in the countryside in the harsh winter conditions to reach home before Christmas.

She survived the war, finished her interrupted education, with her sister as the only girls at a Franciscan school, and toured Poland as the leading light of a youth theatre group.

In the post-war years of communism, she worked in Warsaw in a government department. Tired of the privations of life in Stalinist Poland, she took a chance to leave for England in the 1960s to meet Michael Krawczyk.

A Polish émigré and widower, he’d also escaped a Nazi camp, and arrived in England earlier, with the Home Army forces at the end of the war.

They married and brought up two children in Doncaster.

Her later years were spent in London, which she dearly loved.

After retraining as a dressmaker, she worked in Hampstead, set up her own business in Covent Garden, and after her husband’s death, at Aquascutum.

She was proudest of working for Peggy Ashcraft and going to Number 10 to fit Margaret Thatcher.

With her typical energy and enthusiasm, she made the most of her retirement to do things she had not had time for - learning to swim at 70, taking classes to improve her English, and writing her memoirs, from which this information is taken.

She is remembered for her warmth, spirit, and ability to find joy in life.

She died peacefully on July 18.

She will be much missed by her much-beloved family.

The funeral will be held today at Golders Green Crematorium at 10am.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

11:45
The Winchester in Archway Road, Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Hundreds have joined the fight to save a Victorian pub from being carved up into flats – as it was revealed that those behind the bid are the same as those involved in the Carlton Tavern demolition scandal.

Crouch End Hill Food & Wine following stabbing

Police were called after a man was stabbed in an attempted shop robbery in Crouch Hill yesterday.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
The Mayor of Haringey Cllr Jennifer Mann, signs Hornsey Pensioners Action group's Dignity Action Day petition  calling for Better Care Now! Photo: Nigel Sutton

Intrepid members of Hornsey Pensioners’ Action Group braved Storm Henry to call for the rights of elderly people as part of Dignity Action Day on February 1.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Economists Vicky Pryce and Ewen Stewart with La Sainte Union pupil, Zelda Feldman, and Benedict Milner from Highgate School

Vicky Pryce, the Greek-born economist who was jailed for perverting the course of justice, told an audience in Highgate that austerity is not the answer to the UK’s economic problems.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Lynne Featherstone celebrates the release of her book Equal Ever After outside the House of Lords. Photo: Polly Hancock

Lynne Featherstone, former MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, didn’t waste much time after losing her seat in the Lib Dem cull of last year’s general election.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
The Queen Mother opening the hospice

It is a national charity which traces its roots to Hampstead – and now it is appealing for new recruits in its hospice.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Headteacher John Dowd spoke at the tribunal. Picture: Nigel Sutton

An employment tribunal has today rejected a former teaching assistant’s claims that she was discriminated against because of her disability.

Friday, February 5, 2016
James Flanagan was jailed for the assault

A Kentish Town man has been jailed for a “sustained, cowardly and vicious” attack which left a top sports journalist in a coma.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe