Two East Twickenham residents have just been to Brussels trying to find out more about our Belgian Refugees.

Val Coltman and Helen Baker found a lot of photographs, some showing the old Ice Rink building that many of you will remember and its view of the river. And for those who don't know, that building was, at the time of the First World War, a munitions factory; it then became a roller-skating rink and finally an ice-skating rink where Torville and Dean sometimes trained. It was redeveloped in the 1990s into the Richmond Bridge Estate.

Val and Helen also learned some touching stories about individual refugees. They were able to meet First World War experts from the Army Museum in Brussels and from the Antwerp Museum, who are both interested in co-operating with the borough of Richmond in holding exhibitions in 2014, as part of the programme of commemoration of World War 1.

They say it was an unusual time to be in Brussels,with strange informal ceremonies happening in odd corners; these turned out to be rehearsals for the installation of the new King this week.

Their next step will be to draw up a more definite plan for the project, with the aim of creating a lasting memorial to this unique chapter in the history of East Twickenham and perhaps reviving the links with Belgium once more.

If you have any information that could help, or would like to be involved, please contact Helen via etwickvill@hotmail.co.uk . And look out for future updates.

 

 

 

 

17 July 2013