Blackburn during the First World War Belgian Refugee Crisis

Published August 8, 2014 at 15:12

At the beginning of the First World War, there was a large influx of refugees leaving the fighting in Belgium, and the borough played a large role, taking in many refugees fleeing the battlefields in Belgium.

The areas Belgian refugees subcommittee was based on Richmond Terrace in Blackburn Town centre, where volunteers organised to look after those who arrived to escape the conflict.

A real crisis that at one point saw 11,000 refugees come into the country on one day, Blackburn’s were housed across the area, including West Park Road, and also St Silas Church.

The situation remained until the end of the war, when upon the armistice the refugees were able to return home to Belgium.

Steve Irwin, from Blackburn Museum, talks about the crisis, its impact on Blackburn and how residents coped at a time of war:

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