The children were evacuated to the UK to escape the Spanish Civil War, arriving by boat at Southampton on May 23, 1937.
More than 13,000 pages of documents relating to the Spanish Civil War have been digitized by the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick as part of the largest English-language digital collection on the conflict.
The collection, Trabajadores, 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 centers across the UK.
“These documents give us a real front-seat view into the conflict in Spain and the British aid effort,” says Liz Wood, assistant archivist at the Modern Records Centre.
“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.” (futurity)