Belgian refugee toymakers

Image ID: 00817

Belgian refugee toymakers

Date: c1915

In 1914, following an article in the Ripon Gazette drawing attention to the plight of Belgian refugees, a committee was set up to organise accomodation in Ripon, alongside a series of fund-raising events as part of the Mayor's Relief Fund. An appeal was made for housing, with families generously opening their homes to accommodate refugees in Stonebridgegate, Skellgate, St Wilfrid's Terrace, Coltsgate Hill and a home in Park Street for wounded Belgian soldiers. Others found homes in surrounding villages, and by November 1914 Ripon had welcomed 21 refugees consisting of four married couples, ten children and three single men. A second appplication saw a further twenty eight refuguees offered accomodation. One succesful story is that of the Belgian craftsmen who set up a wooden toy industry from the Park Street premises. A shop was opened on the Market Square to sell the various toys, and by far the most succesful was the carved Noah's Ark and animals, which sold for a giunea. Most of the material had been donated - wood, paint, polish and cigar boxes - all turned into toys. The speciality Noah's Ark in this image was presented as a gift to Queen Mary in 1915.

Courtesy of Unknown

Category: Culture and Leisure, Emergency Services, Military, Recently Added, Added October 2018, Arts and Crafts, First World War, Health and Welfare

Organisation Reference: E7608

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