Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Belgian Refugee Camp, St Annes, 1914

The Manchester Wood Street Mission's Holiday Camp for Poor Children was in the sand dunes between the railway and Clifton Drive North, St Annes-on-Sea.

In October 1914 it was converted into a temporary refugee camp for Belgians. Whilst living there they made a number of improvements to the site. Over the following months all the Belgians were either rehoused or entered active service. The camp reopened for Manchester children in June 1915.

 Fleetwood Chronicle - Tuesday 20 October 1914


About twenty more Belgian refugees arrived at St Annes on Friday afternoon. A large crowd of people assembled in the vicinity of the station early in the afternoon, but towards five o'clock it was reported that the refugees would not arrive until the following day. Some time later, however, a number did arrive and were driven in cabs to houses placed at their disposal.

Eighty more refugees arrived at St. Annes on Saturday, and in the presence of large crowds were conveyed to the buildings which for many years have been used by the Manchester Wood Street Mission. They were poor, weary folk, and they bore evidence of having suffered considerable hardships.

The Mission has been made very comfortable. Extra furniture has been installed and the place bears a cosy appearance. There are 130 beds in two large rooms which are to serve as men's and women's quarters respectively. The meals will be taken in a smaller room.

The Manchester Wood Street Mission Holiday Camp looking towards the sea.
The Ormerod Convalescent Home and the Manchester Children's Hospital Holiday Home seen in the distance.

The building will be heated and electric light is to be installed. The St Annes Council have undertaken to supply the current free.

Miss Alice Macara, daughter of Sir Charles Macara is acting as hon. secretary. The refugees were given a splendid reception, and the St Annes residents are doing all in their power to make the people of the little nation welcome.