Basque Children in Salford – update 1

In my post on June 26th I mentioned a project I have started about the Basque children who came to Salford in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Thanks to Caroline Allport, the User Development Worker for Older People at Salford City Council, who put my request for information on The Older People in Salford Facebook page, and the Salford Advertiser who printed a letter requesting information, I now have some interesting threads to follow and thought I would update you on my progress.

First of all Ray contacted me to say he had been in a play about the Spanish Civil War at the Working Class Movement Library and that a Basque Lady, who he thought was one of the original refugees, attended.  He is trying to find out how to contact her through his networks, and has given me lots of contacts of people who have researched the Spanish Civil War.

Vicki supplied me with the photograph above of the Spanish Children, taken in the grounds of Harold’s Orphanage. The photograph came from her mother, who used to play with the children. Another contact, Dorothy, remembers walking past the orphanage with her mother and being told that they were children with no mummies and daddies who had left Spain because of a war there.  When she was later evacuated from Salford during the War she thought of the Spanish children and was terrified she might never see her parents again. Jim can remember playing in the grounds of the orphanage in 1941 when it was empty.  There were two old dilapidated rowing boats in the back! He also told me that a bomb was dropped next door to the orphanage during the War.

In addition I have had lots of offers of help, suggestions of where to find information, including the really helpful comment from Richard on my original post, and an e-mail from a chap called Peter whose family had been involved in supporting refugees during the War. I have had lots of encouragement and am going to talk to a local community forum in August to try to find local groups and community champions who might be able to help me uncover more leads.  I am finding this all very exciting and will keep you posted!

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