The ‘Scott’ Album: by Alison MacKenzie

 

Invitation to the Misses SCOTT for the event on 22 July 1916

(Photograph ©Alison MacKenzie 2013)

On 22nd July 1916, the Belgian Colony of Tunbridge Wells celebrated their National Day (21st July) by honouring the ladies of the Mayor’s Refugee Committee  – Mrs BURTON, Mrs GUTHRIE, Miss POWER, Mrs Le LACHEUR, Mme Le JEUNE, Miss McCLEAN, Mrs WILSON and the Misses SCOTT – and the local Doctors – WILSON, C. SMITH and GUTHRIE – who had ministered to the refugees free of charge.

A ceremony and celebration was held in the Town Hall on Calverley Road to which townspeople and Belgian refugees were invited. On the evening in question the hall was packed.

At 7.30pm precisely the Mayor, Councillor Charles Whitbourn EMSON with his wife, Margaret, and Miss EMSON arrived in the hall and were welcomed by Monsieur Florent COOSEMANS, Mrs EMSON then being presented with a floral arrangement of orchids and roses by one of the Belgian children.  Monsieur Albert LE JEUNE, Honorary President of the ‘Club Albert’ spoke patriotically of his country’s history and its links with Britain, and Monsieur COOSEMANS then spoke of the two years they had spent in exile and of the kindness afforded to them by the people of Tunbridge Wells, and by the ladies and doctors of the Committee in particular:

The reception received in this lovely county, rightly named the Garden of England, was above what the Belgian people could have expected… It took all the dexterity and amiability of the British, whose noble and chivalrous character was proverbial, to sweeten their troubles and suffering. (Kent & Sussex Courier, 28 July 1916)

Mayor EMSON and Doctor WILSON thanked the gathering on behalf of the Committee and the doctors, and the evening concluded with a concert and the National Anthems of Belgium and Britain.

While the Kent and Sussex Courier reported that a commemorative album to which all the Belgians in the area had contributed, was then presented to Mrs EMSON as the representative of the ladies of the Committee, the Belgian press-in-exile reported that albums were given to each of the ladies of the Committee – including Belgian refugee Mme LE JEUNE – , along with bouquets of flowers.

Extract from La Metropole newspaper (27th July 1916)

What we know for certain is that an album was presented to the Misses SCOTT -Amelia and Louisa.  And that is because it still exists – in the Papers of Amelia Scott which are held in the Women’s Library @ LSE .

It is an amazing resource, providing as it does a list of names of possibly all, maybe most, certainly some, of those in the area at the time.  Some entries take up a whole page.  Other pages are covered with the signatures of several families.  There are patriotic poems, poems of gratitude, drawings and paintings.

The Misses Scotts’ Album (Photo ©Alison MacKenzie 2013)

This album is the starting point for this community research Project.  A database of all the names has been created by one of our volunteers, Jan Wright, and analysis of the 170 names inscribed therein will provide a snapshot of the Belgian Community in Tunbridge Wells in July 1916.

‘Club Albert’ Committee 1916 (Photo © Alison MacKenzie 2013)

And some fascinating discoveries are being made as we research the names.

Albert LE JEUNE, Hon. President of the Club Albert of Tunbridge Wells, went on to be a Belgian Senator for the Antwerp region.  At the end of the war, he sent £50 back to Tunbridge Wells to be used for “educational purposes” It funded historical essay prizes – known as the Le Jeune History Prize – at Skinners School and the County School for Girls (now TWGGS) for many years.  Albert Le Jeune’s wife Gabrielle was a member of the Mayor’s Belgian Refugee Committee.

Josef DENYN was the famous ‘carilloneur’ of Malines, who was a close friend of local musician, composer and campanologist, William Wooding STARMER, and spent the whole period of the war in Tunbridge Wells with his family.

Carillon Music by ‘Mechlin Bellmaster’ Josef DENYN

(Photograph © Alison MacKenzie 2013)

Members of the family of painter James ENSOR of Ostend were here – his divorced sister Mariette (known as Mietje or Mitche), her daughter Alex and son-in-law, and their son; and also the artist’s companion and muse, Augusta BOOGAERTS, with her nephew, Pierre GOVAERTS.

Augusta BOOGAERTS and Madame ENSOR

(Photograph ©Alison MacKenzie 2013)

Committee member Georges CANTILLON was a medically-discharged Belgian soldier who had been awarded the Order of Leopold II for bravery on two occasions, in August and October 1914.  He was an artist, employed as a painter on glass in civilian life, and while in Tunbridge Wells he was employed as an artist by W.T. Waters, wood letter manufacturer, of 39 Culverden Avenue and Tunnel Road.  I wonder whether any of his work still exists?  His contribution to the album was a beautifully-illustrated message of gratitude on behalf of all the Belgian soldiers convalescing in the town.

(Photograph ©Alison MacKenzie 2013)

 

Adapted from an article by Alison MacKenzie on her blog www.belgiansrtw.wordpress.com

Sources :

  • Papers of Amelia Scott held at The Women’s Library @ LSE
  • Kent and Sussex Courier (British Newspaper Archive)
  • be (digital collection of Belgian newspapers)

 

 

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The villages of West Kent’s response to the Belgian Refugee Crisis: by Anne Logan

As refugees from Belgium poured into England in the autumn of 1914 – many of whom arrived at the Kentish ports of Dover and Folkestone – the towns and villages of West Kent swung into action, offering shelter, raising money, collecting household items, and providing medical care to the wounded. The local press reported a range of initiatives by local authorities and voluntary groups alike.

In Maidstone – as in Tunbridge Wells – the council announced that unoccupied properties which were used to house refugees would be exempt from rates. The local teachers’ association raised money to provide a house and concerts were held to raise money, for example at the Wesleyan church. In late September a party of refugees from Louvain arrived (via Antwerp and Alexandra Palace) and were housed at the Kent Adult School Union Guesthouse in Barming, a village just outside the county town.

Village dwellers were every bit as involved as townsfolk. In Marden the parish council organized a house-to-house collection which raised over £100 for the Belgian Relief Fund. Similarly in East Peckham the whole village was asked to contribute (though in this village there seems to have been two committees: a general one and another run by the Salvation Army). In Pembury a whist drive was organized in aid of the Relief Fund. As refugees arrived in the villages they were often greeted by enthusiastic crowds, as in the case of Lamberhurst.

Source: South East Gazette, 3 November 1914

Some of the Belgian arrivals into the county were wounded soldiers in need of medical treatment. It was reported that there were 2500 wounded men at Folkestone who had to be found places to recover in. Among the venues West Kent venues where they quickly received help were Hayle Place, a mansion near Maidstone, and the Tonbridge School sanatorium. In addition, twenty of the injured were sent to Hawkhurst.

Source: Private Collection

The Kent and Sussex Courier carried a vivid account of the arrival of a group of wounded Belgian soldiers at Paddock Wood in October 1914. The Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment commandant, Dr Crawford of Pembury, was asked to make provision for some of the wounded men so he took over the parochial hall at Paddock Wood. Aided by the local builder and undertaker, Mr Penn, and four of his men to act as stretcher-bearers, and some ‘working women’ who scrubbed the hall floor, Dr Crawford had the hall ready by 8am the next morning when the soldiers were due to arrive at the station. Crowds of people turned out to greet the men. The Courier reported that:

The scene of the arrival of the wounded soldiers was one that will not soon be forgotten in Paddock Wood… It was not long before every one of the heroes was snugly ensconced in his little camp bed.

Gradually, most of the wounded recovered and the nature of the help that refugees required changed. On 21st May 1915 the Courier reported that the last of the wounded Belgians had left the VAD hospital which had been set up in Pembury. Some soldiers returned to the army, while others moved elsewhere to work. An example is Andre Vandeneynde, a Belgian soldier who was registered as residing in Pembury in December 1914. Andre took up munitions work and moved first to Tonbridge (where he married a young woman from Paddock Wood in 1916) and later to Letchworth, where he worked for the Belgian-run firm, Kryn and Lahy.

The rest of the refugees also had to find some form of support. Some, for example, a young lady, also residing in Pembury, advertised for private pupils to teach them French. However, the charitable efforts of the people of West Kent remained important. In December 1915 Tunbridge Wells’ women’s suffrage society claimed that its clothing depot had helped refugees as far afield as Folkestone and even Holland, as well as in nearby villages such as Pembury and Frant.

Locally as well as nationally, the amount of press attention to the refugees decreased as the war went on. However, the evidence from the early months of the war suggests that the towns and villages of West Kent made noticeable efforts to deal with the crisis and that there cannot have been many settlements – however small – that did not do something to help.

 

Sources:

Belgian National Archives, Brussels.

South East Gazette, 3 November 1914, 10 November 1914, 14 November 1914.

Kent Messenger, 26 September 1914, 10 October 1914.

Kent and Sussex Courier, 16 October 1914, 18 December 1914, 21 May 1915, 28 May 1915, 10 December 1915.

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Who lived at Broadwater Court during the First World War? by Jan Wright

While compiling the database from the documents in the Brussels archive, I noticed that violinist Eugene Ysaye and sculptor Paul van den Kerckhove and their families both stayed for a short time at Broadwater Court on Broadwater Down, at the time, the country house of the Van Den Bergh family.

Henry Van Den Bergh was born in 1851 in Maasdonk, The Netherlands, of Jewish origin.  His family were butter wholesalers; in 1870, he moved to London to carry on the business, which by now also sold margarine.    Henry married Henrietta (nee Spanjaard) in 1887, when he was 35 and she was just 19.   Their London home was at 8 Kensington Palace Gardens, in an area once known as ‘Billionaire’s Row’.

Henry Van den Bergh also owned (or leased) a large property in Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells, which had been a portion of the Abergavenny Estate.  Forty-six mansions were built there after 1860, as well as St Mark’s Church.  The area became part of Royal Tunbridge Wells Conservation Area.

 

    (theweald.org)

Henry and Henrietta’s sons were Donald Stanley, born in 1888, Seymour James Henry, born in 1890, who became a Captain in the Middlesex Hussars, and Robert James Henry, born in 1893, who served in the 6th London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.  Dorrit Rosa Henriette was born in 1897, and another daughter Joan, was married in 1931, at the new West London Synagogue.

Henry

    

Robert

       

  Seymour (geni.com)

The family had a presence in Tunbridge Wells.  It is unclear when and for how long Henry’s sons lived at Broadwater Court, but the two younger boys were players with Tonbridge Rugby Club in 1913 and 1914, as reported in the Kent and Sussex Courier.  In 1908, Henry supported a sports day on the Nevill Ground by donating a prize.  In the same year, a cricket match was held between teams of ‘Broadwater Court’ and ‘Van Den Bergh’.

Before the onset of the First World War, the local newspaper reported that Mr and Mrs Van Den Bergh attended the Mayoral Garden Party in July 1912.   Their silver wedding party was held at Broadwater Court in August 1912.  The celebration included a cricket match, and after tea, the guests were driven out to local scenic places, including High Rocks.   Gifts were given to charitable institutions, one of which was the Veterans Association.   In 1913, Henry was one of the subscribers to a local railway company.  During those years, London newspapers recorded Van Den Bergh Ltd as enjoying increased trade expansion and factory production in margarine and butter substitutes, butter, condensed milk, bacon and soup manufacture, and increasing its capital by a share issue in July 1913.  In June 1914, the Van Den Berghs held a Garden Party at the Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells.

During the war years, Henry’s efforts moved away from society gatherings.  He subscribed to the Belgian Refugee Fund and to the War Hospital Supply Depot.  In January 1915 the family provided entertainment for the ‘Barnado’s Home for Incurables’ in Park Road, with a Punch and Judy Show and Miss Dorrit presenting gifts and tea.  In May 1916, Mrs Van Den Bergh, Donald and Dorrit provided refreshments and entertainment for soldiers at the St Mark’s VAD military hospital.

Only a few days later came the sad news that their third son, Robert, had died on 21 May 1916 age 23 at Vimy Ridge in France.  Seymour died on 27 October 1917 age 27 at the Battle of El Buqqar Ridge, and was buried in Israel.  As residents of Broadwater Court, both sons’ deaths were recorded in the Kent and Sussex Courier.  They are commemorated on the First World War plaque in St Marks Church, and on the Tunbridge Wells war memorial.  In their memory, Henry donated various objets d’art to the Ashmolean, Victoria and Albert and British Museums.  In particular, a fine collection of Dutch tiles of 16th/ 17th century can be seen in Room 137 of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

St Marks, Broadwater Down First World War Memorial      (kentfallen.org)

There is no evidence that the Van Den Berghs used Broadwater Court to house Belgian refugees.  However, registration forms refer to the families of Eugene Ysaye, the world famous violinist and conductor, and Paul van den Kerckhove, a sculptor.  Eugene Ysaye, his wife two daughters and a servant were certainly at Broadwater Court in 1914.  They then moved to London. According to newspapers accounts Eugene and his brother Theophile, a noted pianist and composer had appeared in concerts in England since 1896, and they performed around the country between November 1914 and February 1916.  They both performed at the Great Hall in Tunbridge Wells on 26 November 1915. .  However, one member of the Ysaye group was registered to Broadwater Court in 1916, their maid and cook, Zoe Ottart, age 25, probably employed as a servant to the household.  She later returned to France.

The registration forms show that Paul van den Kerckhove, Louise and their two daughters arrived in England around September 2014 seeking temporary accommodation.  They moved from a London Hotel to Broadwater Court in March 1915.  By September 2015, Paul’s sculpture of Mayor Emson had been presented.  By January 2016 the family lived in Garden Road Tunbridge Wells.  However, Louise and the girls then relocated to Blackpool, without Paul, whilst he moved to hotels first in London, then Teddington.

My guess is that given Henry’s interest in arts and music, he opened his Tunbridge Wells doors to these notable artistes and their families, who needed accommodation whilst fulfilling their concert and work engagements

Details of ownership of Broadwater Court can be found at the East Sussex Record Office (in the Archives of the Nevill Family of Eridge Castle in Frant, Marquesses of Abergavenny).

Sources:

Belgian National Archives, Brussels.

British Newspaper Archive:

The Sketch

Kent and Sussex Courier

The Globe

The Graphic

West London Observer

Morning Post

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Making a database from the refugees’ forms: by Jan Wright

The task I had was to compile a database of all those Belgian refugees who signed the Club Albert album presented to the Misses Scott in July 1916.  The aim is to provide a snapshot for statistical purposes of Belgian refugees living in Tunbridge Wells who attended the Club at 32 Calverley Road (where Waterstones and Hotter are now).  They would go there to obtain advice, support, to make contact with their community group, enjoy friendship and gain material help.  The photo below shows the street as it would have looked 100 years ago.

Alison Sandford Mackenzie rigorously transcribed the contents of the album, and that transcription was my starting point. In addition, Alison, Anne Logan, and Kate Bradley had previously travelled to Brussels and managed to photograph some 717 registration forms, letters and scraps of paper, which related to those refugees who spent time in Tunbridge Wells (and some who didn’t).

Refugees were required to register their presence in England from December 1914, and also when they changed address, even for a short period of time.  Some frequently moved around the country, and a form was supposed to be filled out every time.  We were bemused to find a family having to register before going on a two week holiday to Bournemouth.

The registration form system was a chaotic one and by no means comprehensive.  Reasons to relocate were many and various, such as joining relatives, finding work elsewhere, and moving from hostel-type accommodation into a lodging house, or private home.  And of course many returned to Belgium to join the military, or carry out war work.   The vast majority of Belgian refugees had returned home by 1919.

The Club Albert signatories’ documentation did not always include such information as ages and previous occupation, so I had to scour the forms for those missing details.  There were sometimes vague cross references to family members, relationships and connections.

More practical difficulties I encountered with the registration forms were that a great many were undated, the handwriting was very faint, there were lots of crossings out, and refugees spoke no English, only French and/or Flemish, so their answers had to be translated or interpreted by the registrars themselves. The photo below is one of the initial refugee centre registration forms and it illustrated some of the difficulties of working with photos of such old, faint, and fragile documents.

Along the way I found it easier to create a card index of names of all the Club Albert signatories, writing out the information gained alongside numbered references of the registration form photos.  If anyone is researching a particular family staying in Tunbridge Wells or outlying area, they are very welcome to contact me and find out if I have any extra information noted down on my cards.  I can also point them towards the relevant photographed registration forms for a closer look

Comparing the forms and the Club album, I came across all sorts of intriguing information, such as a young woman married at age 15, and references to a young female noted as a ‘companion’ of a male refugee.

The database is now complete as far as it goes, but although all refugees were supposed to be registered, there are around twenty signatories of the Club Albert album, for whom we did not find a registration form, and so information about them is incomplete.  The search continues.

The registration forms are often confusing and muddled.  I suppose that reflects the trauma and awful life changes experienced by those Belgian refugees fleeing to and staying in England during the First World War.  Compiling this information has brought home to me the reality of life as a refugee, having to account for your whereabouts and very existence.  How traumatic it must have been to be separated from your loved ones, lose contact with family, friends and the life you had known, and to make decisions about the future, amidst such an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

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Extracting detail from newspapers on http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk: by Caroline Auckland

 

Following on from the Weekes advertisement for British Toys for British & Belgian Children, I continued to study the rest of the newspaper (Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 27 November 1914) to see what else could be found relating to Tunbridge Wells and its Belgian refugee connection.  Music seemed to play a part in building up a sense of patriotism with general benevolent acts of fundraising toward the war effort in general being evident. The Tunbridge Wells Opera House, built in 1902, was the centre for all things musical.

   

Figure 1, Tunbridge Wells Opera House, Photochrom.Co.,Ltd. London, 1905.

 The concert involving Clara Butt and Kennerley Rumford (her husband, a baritone) was mentioned twice in this edition of the Kent & Sussex Courier.

                                            

     Figure 2, Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 27 November 1914, p.4.

Extracts of interest: ‘The programme includes items which appeal to our pity and to patriotism…’

                                          

        Figure 3, Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 27 November 1914, p.4.

Madame Clara Butt (1872-1936) would later become a Dame. A renowned contralto singer she was involved with many concerts raising money for the Red Cross and other charities.

Here is a You tube link to Madame Clara Butt ‘God shall wipe away all tears.’

                Figure 4, Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 27 November 1914, p.5.

Transcript:

‘COURIER’ TOBACCO FUND

We shall be glad to receive contributions of eighteen-pence for the Special Xmas Boxes to be sent to soldiers at the Front …’

One of the subscribers was the Opera House:

 ‘TWO POUNDS TEN SHILLINGS.

Opera House (per Mr. Harry Ball) Profits on sale of Fred Elton’s song. ‘Bravo, Little Belgium!’

Here is the text of Elton’s song:

Bravo! Little Belgium, it’s proud we are of you

Bravo! Little Belgium, you’d the pluck to see it through

Hats off to Little Belgium,

You’re a fighting race sublime!

Your flag is still unfurled

In front of all the world

And we’re with you all the time.[1]

 John Mullen (2011) suggests music hall songs were for ‘uniting the British [sic] nation and its allies’[2]

 

Figure 5, The Opera House as it appears today without the statue of Mercury upon its dome. 

So these entries can be interpreted as contributing to the town’s general feeling of support and friendship towards all war efforts and refugees by extension of this attitude.

Perhaps this community project could look at reviving performances of these songs?[3]

I like to imagine this cherub-like statue from the roof-line is watching all the 21st Century developments with great interest. I wonder at all the events and people he has observed over one hundred plus years.

                                      

     Figure 6, Dome detail of cherub.

[1] Andre de Vries, Flanders: A Cultural History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 17.

[2] John Mullen, ‘Propaganda and Dissent in British Popular Song during the Great War.’, Discours autoritaires et résistances aux XXe et XXIe siècles, Centre Interlangues, non paginé, (2011), p.6. <https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00682095/document>[accessed 4 March 2017]

[3] This link suggests Fred Elton’s song is out of copyright.

 

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Week One: First thoughts: by Caroline Auckland

The Belgian Refugees in Tunbridge Wells: A Weekly Diary by Caroline Auckland

The very first thing I decided to do after joining this community project was turn to the written past. We had been asked to think about what we might like to work on, research or how we might contribute.

I decided to scan the local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier, of 1914, for references to Belgian refugees in the area. Firstly to see if there were any and secondly to isolate themes. Yes, there were references and now I have a file full of themes with columns of text waiting to be dissected.

But, unexpectedly the major item which jumped out of the editions I scanned digitally on British Newspaper Archives on-line was not an editorial piece, it was an advertisement.

An ephemeral filler, the search function had located the word ‘Belgian’ and provided me with the first challenge to my perception of this project.

 weekes                                      

Figure 1 Kent & Sussex Courier, Advertisement for Weekes Department Store, Friday 27 November 1914, p.4.

 

Full transcript:

Now Open

R.W. Weekes’

Grand Christmas Bazaar.

British Toys for British & Belgian Children.

Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!

British, French, Belgian, Russian and Indian Soldiers.

R.H. Artillery. Boy Scouts and Transport.

Naval Landing Parties. 4.7 Guns.

English Castles as Fort

British Squawk-a-Boo   Fur Animals

All Kinds of Games   Dean’s Books and Rag Toys.

‘Meccano’ for model construction, a splendid pastime for Boys.

Please enquire about the £200 ‘Meccano’ prize Competition.

Christmas cards and Calendars.

Tom Smith’s Crackers Lanterns and decorations.

R.W Weekes

Opposite S.E. & C.R. Station, Tunbridge Wells

 

 

An advertisement for Christmas toys is worded ‘British Toys for British & Belgian Children’.

This posed the following issues:

A respectable shop advertises its wares. Seasonally marketing products to increase its own profits.

By introducing a nationalistic title to ‘children’, defining them as either British or Belgian within the same sentence, both groups them as a collective – ‘children’ and separates them as different from each other within that definition. ‘British Toys for British & Belgian Children’ also promotes home produced items, but by prefixing the child with a country of origin suggests that the child from one country is different to another.

Do they need different toys?

Implicit is gender reference.

The advertisement suggests they need: ‘Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!

‘British, French, Belgian, Russian and Indian Soldiers.’ The miniature toys of war, but even they are defined by race.

Is this to appeal to the Belgian families to come and buy toys for their children?

Or is this an altruistic appeal to the local community to visit the store to buy toys to donate to the refugees who have arrived with very little and are being provided with clothing and homes by local committees, families and the church?

Have their children become objects of social curiosity, almost playthings, a counter celebrity status, and the children of war. They become the ‘other’ the outsiders, their needs defined by their place of birth or departure and slightly exotic in their differences.

Dolls are not listed by type but toy soldiers are- all from the same side of the war but still distinguished by nationality with no opposition mentioned- no Germans, Turks or Austrians?

Here is a postcard of Weekes– with it awnings. Its close proximity to the railway station is also interesting. This station is where many of the refugees arrived in Tunbridge Wells and it is also the main travel artery to London and the coast. Which, significantly, is even mentioned in the advertisement ‘R.W. Weekes Opposite S.E.& C.R. Station, Tunbridge Wells’ therefore it could be suggested positioning itself as a symbol of modernity, movement and connections.

 

mount-pleasant

Figure 2 1911 Postcard, Unknown Publisher. Weekes, Tunbridge Wells

It is also important to consider the rest of the page, what is this advertisement placed next to? What is the editorial content of the rest of the page? What other editorials also appear?

I would love to know if Tunbridge Wells Museums has a selection of dolls and toy soldiers from this period, plus the other toys mentioned. This could make an interesting small exhibition to run in conjunction with this project.

All questions to mull over during the next week.

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Introducing the Project

This project uses a variety of historical sources to reveal the largely forgotten history of the Belgian community in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and surrounding areas during the First World War.  Building on research mainly done by local resident Alison Sandford Mackenzie and working with volunteers from the Camden Road Education, Arts and Theatre Enterprise (CREATE) the project will recover the largely forgotten story of the Belgian refugees who sojourned in the area, the ‘colony’ that they built, and their interactions with the host community.  Volunteers will utilise digital and archival resources to make posts to this blog about the refugees and their hosts and to produce a local Belgian Community Heritage Trail, which will be available to local people, school students and visitors to use free of charge by the end of July 2017.  It is intended that versions of the Heritage Trail will be available not only in English but also (through this blog) in Belgium’s official languages, Dutch, French, and German.

The starting point for the project is the souvenir album which belonged to the Tunbridge Wells resident, feminist and social activist, Amelia Scott and her sister, Louisa, and is held in the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics, together with press reports listing those who – like the  Scotts – formed committees and/or subscribed to the relief of refugees.    Recent research published in a special issue of Immigrants and Minorities (2016), together with earlier publications (e.g. Cahalan, 1982) has identified and analysed substantial Belgian communities during the First World War in industrial areas, centres of munitions manufacture, outer London, Scotland, and rural Wales, but there is a research gap regarding the experiences of refugees in smaller, provincial towns.  Provisional investigation reveals that, as an established spa resort, Tunbridge Wells not only attracted some wealthy, self-supporting Belgian guests, but also played host to refugees from more diverse social backgrounds.

For more information about the project, please contact RTWBelgians1914@kent.ac.uk

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