Centuries ago, a family lived here that made faience for the princes Radziwiłł and whose representatives are the common ancestors of many inhabitants of Biała Podlaska (Lubelskie Voivodeship). Now the house, which could have been erected even in the middle of the 18th century, is being demolished due to its poor technical condition. A descendant of the former owners would like the city authorities to rebuild the facility and create a faience museum in it. The conservator of monuments also made a suggestion to use the building for social purposes.
– This house is of great importance for the history of Biała Podlaska. It was inhabited by the Serafinowicz family, who came here from Samogitia in the 18th century. It was in Biała Podlaska in 1749 that Tomasz Serafinowicz was born, who is the common ancestor of many contemporary inhabitants. For example, my great-great-great-grandfather, Michał Serafinowicz, born in 1816, was the father of several children, most of whom successfully started their own families,” says Michał Serafinowicz.
The house he mentions is located in Biała Podlaska at the corner of Piłsudskiego and Garncarska Streets. He’s undressed right now. The decision was issued by the construction supervision, which stated that due to its poor technical condition, it poses a threat to the life and health of people staying in its immediate vicinity.
Conservator: the house can be put on a new foundation
Conservation services decided to exclude the object from the register of monuments.
– We have inspected and confirmed that the technical condition of the facility is bad. Part of the roof from the courtyard side collapsed, and some rooms are inaccessible due to the threat to life and health. Nevertheless, the framework of the object, perhaps in a small percentage, is suitable for reuse. So it would be possible to dismantle the building and put it on a new foundation, completely rebuilding the roof truss – says Dariusz Kopciowski, the Lublin Voivodship Conservator of Monuments.
Petition and open letter
On the web, you can find a petition signed by over 660 people to save the house. Michał Serafinowicz, quoted earlier, published an open letter on his Facebook profile.
– With all this in mind, I sent a letter to the city authorities asking the mayor if he would see the possibility of using the logs that will remain after the demolition and rebuilding this facility in another place for social purposes – notes the conservator.
For example, a faience museum could be created
Michał Serafinowicz likes the idea.
“If that happened, it would be great news. The local government should take care of the historical heritage. The most natural purpose of the facility could be a museum of faience (a type of ceramics – editor’s note). The Serafinowiczs dabbled in farfur, making faience for the princes Radziwiłł, and for the local population – pots and other clay vessels – he says.
Jan Serafinowicz, the January insurgent, also lived here
He adds that the house is marked on the city map from 1777.
– The rectangular shape suggests that the part facing today’s Piłsudskiego Street was erected in the 18th century. The second part, thanks to which the building gained the shape of the letter “L”, was probably built in the 19th century. I think that the building already had such a shape when Jan Serafinowicz was born in 1842, who was remembered by the inhabitants as an organist in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a January Uprising insurgent. He died in 1934. He is buried in the – now Orthodox, then Uniate – cemetery at Terebelska Street – emphasizes Michał Serafinowicz.
The logs went to a company that deals with the dismantling of monuments
As Arkadiusz Bojczuk, head of the Biała Regional Office of the Provincial Monument Protection Office in Lublin, says, the building (or at least part of it) could actually have been erected even in the middle of the 18th century, and at the latest in the middle of the 19th century.
– This is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is important that the logs that were left after demolition will not be used for firewood. The private owner of the plot is not interested in rebuilding the building, but he sold the materials to a company that dismantles and reconstructs wooden and historic buildings. Everything indicates that it will be rebuilt in another place, and if the city authorities are interested in buying the materials, perhaps an open-air museum exhibition would be created there – he points out.
City officials are looking for solutions
The mayor has not yet replied to the Conservator of Monuments in Lublin when asked what he thinks about his proposal, however, as the mayor’s spokeswoman, Gabriela Kuc-Stefaniuk, points out, the city office is in constant contact with the conservation services.
– We will look for possible, good solutions – he says.
Main photo source: Mark Zubik