The East Twickenham Belgian Refugee Project researches the history of the Twickenham-Richmond 1WW Belgian Refugee Community, and works to make this known in publications and by public commemoration. It acts for the East Twickenham Centennial Group in partnership with the Friends of Cambridge & Warren Gardens.
Richmond-upon-Thames 1WW Belgian Refugee Memorial
Are you proud of Richmond-upon-Thames and its history ?
Do you have a Belgian refugee relative you want to remember ?
Would you like to honour the courage and enterprise of 1WW Belgian refugees
who lived in Richmond and across London ?
Our Objective .....
To build a riverside memorial to the 6000 Belgian refugees who made our towns
"The Belgian Village on the Thames"
Click on "The Memorial" to see what the memorial will look like.
About the project
Help us remember our long-lost Belgian friends! and Anglo-Belgian friendship! 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.
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.)
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.
Two ways you can help
* Make a contribution to the Memorial Fund today.
Rewards apply at various levels but all pledges small and larger are welcomed with our thanks.
* Spread this message around your friends and neighbours
Click on "The Belgian Story" to learn more about The Belgian Village on the Thames
How To Donate
By cheque to: East Twickenham Centennial Group c/o SWLEN (Room 16), East Twickenham Neighbourhood Association, 13 Rosslyn Road, East Twickenham, TW1 2A
Bank Transfer to: East Twickenham Centennial Group Sort Code 20-72-17 Account Number 40876054 Give your name as reference Add your tel. no. for acknowledgement and thanks, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your donation.
c/o SWLEN (Room 16)
13 Rosslyn Road