BRISTOL IN THE GREAT WAR -1914
'Many of the first arrivals were of the peasant class'
|Belgian refugees arrive in Bristol,|
many looked drained and bewildered
Credit: Bristol Reference Library
Belgian refugees were now seeking refuge in Britain and Bristol would accommodate 2,000. They were found homes and jobs, education was provided for the children, and money was raised to support them. The first Belgians arrived in the city on 22 September and were cheered by waving crowds. But as they paraded through the centre by tram many looked drained and bewildered.
For some like Maude Boucher, a mother of four from Clifton, the culture difference took a bit of getting used to. ‘Many of the first arrivals were of the peasant class and most of the women wore large shawls and no hats, and were generally standing at the gates and doors of their homes,’ she wrote in her journal. ‘The family which came later on to Tyndall’s Park were of the better class but had been obliged to leave their homes and had buried most of their possessions and treasures somewhere in Belgium. (That is as the story goes.) They had been able to bring practically nothing with them and as their family consisted of from ten to fifteen children in number, they were very glad of such a comfortable home as was provided for them.’
(Copyright © 2014 Jacqueline Wadsworth)
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