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Images in new online archive mark 75th anniversary of child refugees coming to UK

Archives of material about child refugees evacuated to the UK to escape the Spanish Civil War 75 years ago have gone online at the University of Warwick, as part of the largest English-language digital collection on the conflict.

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of around 4,000 children from the Basque region of Spain. The youngsters left Bilbao by boat and arrived in Southampton on 23rd May 1937.

Over the past 13 months more than 13,000 pages of documents relating to the Spanish Civil War have been digitised by the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick. The online collection contains letters, reports and publicity material from the Trades Union Congress files and other key archive collections.

Among the documents are reports and photographs of a makeshift refugee camp set up for the Basque children who were evacuated to the UK.

The North Stoneham camp, based near Eastleigh in Hampshire, was established by the Basque Children’s Committee in 1937. Nearly 4,000 children arrived in Britain on the ship ‘Habana’ and were taken to the North Stoneham camp. The camp was intended as a stop-gap measure and was closed down in September in 1937 when the children were sent to other centres across the UK.

Assistant Archivist at the Modern Records Centre, Liz Wood, said:

“These documents give us a real front-seat view into the conflict in Spain and the British aid effort. The first-hand reports and photos of the camp in North Stoneham vividly show us the initial chaos of almost 4,000 refugees (nearly twice the planned number) arriving in Southampton, and the sheer scale of the voluntary operation to care for them during the civil war.”

The online archive, Trabajadores: The Spanish Civil War through the eyes of organised labour, can be viewed online here.


Notes to editors

Images from the archive are available to download (click for full size):

basque_children_image_7.jpg basque_children_image_1.jpg


For information, please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Press and Communications Manager, University of Warwick,, 02476 150868, 07824 540863