Belgian refugee child adopted
The First World War caused an unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe, as people sought safety from the battles and from associated hunger and disease.
St Mary Magdalene, the Anglican parish church in Richmond provided a focal point for activities related to supporting parishioners and others during the war years. The monthly Richmond Parish Magazine (price 2d) carried regular newsletters from the then vicar, Reverend Max Binney, and B.E. Chapman who wrote on behalf of the very active Mothers’ Union. In the 26 October 1915 issue of the magazine B.E. Chapman noted that a member of the Mothers Union had adopted a Belgian refugee child and asks if any other members could also adopt a child.
In the course of the war, around 250,000 Belgian refugees came to England to escape the war and there was a sizeable community in and around Richmond. Many worked in the Pelabon factory and returned to their homes in Belgium when the war ended.