University of Reading researcher Robyn Woronka spoke with Marcin in January 2021. They discussed Marcin's first experiences of England when he moved to the Oxford Road from Poland.

Below, discover highlights from their conversation!


Marcin lived on 468 Oxford Road when he arrived in England from Poland, April 2017 to work at the Tesco Distribution Centre. He remembers stepping off the bus after traveling for 15 hours, onto Oxford Road, his first experience of England. He lived in a shared house opposite a Polish shop Reading Zabka, in a Polish community.

"My first step in the city was a long walk down Oxford Road, I feel it was a special experience because it was a multicultural place. People were not only from Eastern Europe, but from Africa, from Asia, a lot of different shops on the street."

Marcin used to work on the nightshift and would often walk to the center of town to take the bus to Tesco. He tells us how he always liked to walk to the bus stop in town, so he could walk all the way down the Oxford Road and look around at all of the people from the many different countries, and see all the different shops and meet their owners too. He says that this was a great pleasure to him before he started work in the evenings.

Reading Zabka Sklep, Oxford Road, Reading (c) Reading Zabka Sklep

Magpie from Oxford Road

“Every evening when I went to the bus, close to Red Carpet Salon of Beauty, more close to the town, near Russell Street. One girl always stay on this point. This girl say to me "I love your hair, you looking like David Ginola". I know David Ginola because I am interested in football. David Ginola was a football player in the Newcastle United in nineties. Special Ginola because of long hair, like I.  This girl, you know you look like David Ginola, I talk to her, I know whose Ginola is because I and the girl is the same age, the girl also move to Reading from Newcastle, she say to me. This is for her a popular name. She says Newcastle United, where played David Ginola, is called  Magpies.  After this time, I also met this girl again, and after this girl, she call me David Ginola, I call this girl "Magpie from Oxford Road". This was a special situation for me."

'Magpie's Square' by Marcin, Oxford Road Reading, 2021

Having graduated University in Poland, with a degree in Philosophy, Marcin explains that he has a very open mind and feels a special connection with different people from many different backgrounds and countries. He says that he has a special relationship with the Ukraine too as he studied on the border between Poland and Ukraine. When he moved into his first house share on the Oxford Road, he explains that it was like living in a Polish community as everyone in his shared house was from Poland and also worked at Tesco with him. He said that it was his first experience of living in a small community like this. He was very interested to learn about the other communities in the Oxford Road area, like the African and Afro-Caribbean communities and the Asians communities, it was very different to his home in Poland where communities were mostly Polish, Slovakian or Lithuanian. He explains how it was very interesting for him to engage in different Cultures, and Oxford Road allowed him to do this, he tells us about one of his favourite places to eat;  "I have my favourite place when I eat lunch, it was Betty’s Bistro, Ghanaian based food, Betty’s Bistro. For me it was very very different, next level international, multicultural experience.”

Bettys Bistro, Oxford Road, Reading (image from

Marcin tells us about the neighbourhood where his first house was on Oxford Road. There was a hairdressers called Makafui, which was owned by someone from Nigeria, he explains how the hair dressers felt like a community center, because women and girls would meet up with one another there, and then the men would wait outside and they would read newspapers and chat to one another. Marcin tells us how many places along the Oxford Road have this community feeling too, like the smaller shops, he enjoys seeing these community meet ups as he walks along the Oxford Road. 

“Here on the Oxford Road, people live more outside of their flats, the street is like a big house for all people, because of economic situation, shared housing, lots of people, Eastern European population generally younger, Asia/Africa different generations, young and old, raised families on Oxford Road."

Marcin shops at his favourite food shop on the Oxford Road, which is a Turkish food shop called Istanbul Food Centre Gazi, he really enjoys the food in this shop, especially the special products and fruit from Turkey.  He explains that he likes to walk to the shop, when he has the time, rather than take the bus. 

'Oxford Road at twilight' by Marcin, Oxford Road, Reading, 2020

Marcin explains his journeys along Oxford Road;  "Special situation in the afternoon, when you walk from the town in the evening, the same time, the sundown, twilight, beautiful view, when I move from this time of day, I am walking to the twilight.  This my first month in Reading, many times I walk this way, this is my experience with Oxford Road, in the summertime, June July, when I back from town 8/9pm, walk to the twilight, this view will stay in my head forever. This is a beautiful view.  And the same when I back from the town by bus, I sit on top, the special place on the front, up top, this is the best view.”

"Bus passenger is like a poor lonesome cowboy long long way from home" by Marcin, Oxford Road Reading, 2021