East  Twickenham  Centenial Group

Richmond & Twickenham First World War Belgian Refugee Project

 

East Twickenham Belgian Refugee Project researches the history of the Twickenham-Richmond 1WW Belgian Refugee Community,  working to make this known through publications and public commemorations                                                                                               It acts for the East Twickenham Centennial Group in partnership with the Friends of Cambridge & Warren Gardens

 

 

 

 

The Belgian Refugee Community of Twickenham-Richmond in the First World War

              1914 - 1919

 

  Belgian Shops.Richmond Bridge Parade

 

                                                                     This website is currently being updated

 

  Are you proud of Richmond-upon-Thames and its history ?

  Do you have a Belgian refugee relative you want to remember ?

  Are you researching the subject ? Are you seeking information or would you like to compare notes ?

 

  Would you like to honour the courage and enterprise of 1WW Belgian refugees who lived in Richmond and across London ? 

   

  Find information and further contacts on this website

  Support our Belgian Project by joining the East Twickenham Centennial Group  FREE

 

 

 

 

                                            Richmond upon Thames' forgotten story from the First World War.

Richmond upon Thames has a unique history.  Our area gave a home to 6000 1WW Belgian Refugees:                       so many that they changed the face of our town and made parts of them entirely Belgian.

 Belgian Workers.Pelabon Factory

 

 The Belgians came here to work in a vast munitions factory  beside the river near Richmond Bridge, built by dynamic engineer Charles Pelabon. Monsieur Pelabon escaped from Antwerp on the very day it fell to the invading German army, and dedicated himself to the war effort. Within only three weeks he was producing shells for the Belgian and Allied armies.

The Pelabon Works started in TEDDINGTON, then three months laster moved to a huge site beside the river in EAST TWICKENHAM. (The very large amd modern Richmond Bridge Estate development now takes up the whole of Pelabon's factory site.)

  Pelabon Works.RMA.Front Exterior

            

 Richmond-Twickenham's Belgian history is unique, even though refugees went everywhere in the country. But only Richmond-Twickenham developed a community so large, so compact and so vibrant.

When the war ended, the Belgians "melted like snow, leaving so little trace", and by 1945 they were completely forgotten. Their story has come to light by sheer chance.

 

                  The  Belgian  achievement and the distinctiveness of Richmond upon Thames 

                                                                   need  to  be  remembered  for  ever                                                               

 

 

 

 Our Objectives .....

 To tell everyone about  "The Belgian Village on the Thames"

 To dig out more of the forgotten stories of Belgians in Twickenham-Richmond

 To find out about Belgian refugees in other parts of Richmond Borough

 To seek out descendants and connect them together

 To connect all interested people across the world

 To connect researchers from other parts of the UK, Belgium and beyond 

 To commemorate the Belgian community within Richmond upon Thames

 To ensure that "The Belgian Village on the Thames" is never forgotten agai

   

 

Click on The Belgian Story tab for more about The Belgian Village on the Thames

Contact Information

Small Map

c/o SWLEN (Room 16)
ETNA
13 Rosslyn Road
East Twickenham
Middlesex
TW1 2AR

etwickvill@hotmail.com