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


Belgian Refugees


In October 1914 some 54 Belgian wounded soldiers arrived in Blackpool and were treated at Victoria Hospital, which was then on Whitegate Drive. 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Whitegate Drive. 

Further information:

 Blackpool's Belgian Colony

 Heritage Blackpool website, Blackpool Council (external link)

 Fleetwood Express - Saturday 24 October 1914


Twenty more Belgian refugees arrived in St. Annes on Thursday evening by the 6-20 train. They were taken charge of by the Rev. C. H. Ellison, at the Refugee House in Orchard Road.

At the Children's Camp on North Drive, St. Annes, accommodation has been found for 85 Belgian refugees; the Catholic Church have undertaken to provide for twenty at "Holly Nook", Queen's Road; St. Thomas' Church are maintaining a similar number in Orchard Road; the Parish Church are arranging for two families; the Drive Wesleyan Church propose to adopt ten or twelve; and several private residents have undertaken to keep refugees.

A number of Belgian refugees are accommodated in two houses on East Beach, Lytham, the cost being borne by subscriptions. Dean O'Reilly, working in conjunction with the Manchester Refugees' Committee, and Mr. and Mrs. Price of Mythop Road are taking the initiative. A general committee has been elected.


St Annes on Sea

Retrospect of 1914

St. Annes Express, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31st, 1914.


Immediately war was declared with Germany meetings were convened by the Chairman of the Council for the purpose of organising relief. The Relief Committee, representative of all classes and creeds, is doing its work silently but thoroughly, and altogether a sum of £2,500 was raised in five months for the various funds.

Belgian refugees, to the number of 140 were housed at the North Drive Camp, and by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Thomas' Church, and the Drive Wesleyan Church. Seventeen wounded Belgian soldiers were entertained by the Parish Church and the Catholic Church. Funds and sewing parties were organized at all the churches, by the Primrose League and the Ladies' Guild, and some thousands of garments have been forwarded to the Red Cross and other organisations, besides useful gifts by schemes carried out by individuals.

Christmas parcels were sent to all local men serving the colours on land and sea. A force of 140 special constables was formed under the command of Coun. J.W. Hallam and a Training Corps, 170 strong, was formed under the command of Mr. James R. Gibbs, which has since been affiliated with the central association. A branch of the Blackpool Volunteer League was also established (60 strong) through the efforts of Mr. George Bentley.