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Saturday 11 July 2015

Lowick and District’s Response to the Belgian Refugees 1914 – 1915 - part 8

This is a continuation of the Lowick and District’s Response to the Belgian Refugees 1914 – 1915 - part 7.
Alternatively, see all the previous parts of the Lowick and District’s Response to the Belgian Refugees 1914 – 1915, together.

Meanwhile more families arrived as reported by the Lowick Correspondent for the Advertiser, 30th October.
Lowick Correspondent     
Two more families have arrived. One is in the village and the other at Barmoor East Cottage, about half a mile from Lowick. Although the population in the district is not very large, it is gratifying to see how the people are rallying round and helping these unfortunate people in their adversity.

The new arrivals, like the first, are wholly dependent on our help, because they also came to Lowick with just what they were wearing, so it is to be sincerely hoped our duty toward them will not be forgotten. Bit by bit we are learning from them the terrible sufferings they have endured, before they eventually escaped from the “Berlin butchers”, as the Germans are rightly named. Their plight may have been ours but for the gallant stand they made between us and safety. The Lowick people, as a rule are very kind-hearted and it can be said with confidence they will never shirk the duty they have been asked to perform, and from those who live in districts where no refugees are and who would like to share the burden along with the Lowick people, gifts of clothing, furniture, food and money will be gratefully received. It is not a case of philanthropy but of justice. We are asked to thank the Wooler friends through the press, for the parcel of clothing sent.
If everyone gives a little there is no fear of failure.

Newcastle Daily Journal 22 October 1914

One thing that has been evident, which will no doubt be remedied shortly, is that some of the families have had large quantities of perishable goods given to them – more than is really necessary – consequently some of these things may have been wasted and others may not have had sufficient. It was therefore decided to call a public meeting to see if a systematic distribution could be arranged. The meeting was held in the Public Subscription School on Wednesday evening, October 21st, and was one of the largest public meetings ever held in Lowick. As a rule when public meetings are held in Lowick they are very poorly attended, but on Wednesday it was certainly the exception, as every available seat was occupied and the enthusiasm throughout the meeting must have given those who were elected, confidence to carry out their work.

Dr Elliott, who is a keen worker for the welfare of the Belgians, took the chair. He said it was their bounden duty to see that the refugees did not want for anything, and as their stay would not only be weeks or months, but probably over a year, he hoped the public who had attended the meeting would give the matter their careful consideration before coming to any decision. The question was “How are we going to maintain them?” If a house to house collection was decided upon he hoped the people would arrange to give at the beginning what they would be able to keep up to the end, so that they would know what to expect from the collection each week. He read a letter from Mr Ronald Barber, Lowick Hall, saying he was sorry he could not be present at the meeting, but he would undertake to look after the family now living in his cottage. He intended giving the husband work during their stay in Lowick and he would also give work to the man who was living in Renwick’s cottage. This kind offer was heartily applauded by the audience. The meeting was afterwards open for discussion. It was decided to appoint nine ladies to carry out the work to see that each family obtained an equal supply of food, and to investigate into all matters. The nine ladies were unanimously chosen! A central fund has been opened in Newcastle and Mr Riddle, of Berrington, as a member of the Committee, and also representative for the Lowick district advised joining it. This was agreed to, but it was decided that no money was to be sent until a full report came from the committee. Another public meeting was arranged for Monday evening, October 26. Two adults were elected to visit each house to ascertain how much every house-hold would be prepared to give each week or month.

A letter was  read from Mr E W Stiles, of Berwick, stating that if houses could be provided in Lowick, the Berwick people would undertake to furnish them.

At the second public meeting, the arrangements were completed for the house to house collection. Mr Riddell explained that he had seen Mrs Pattinson of Lowlynn, and that she was telling the householders in Bowsden, from whom she had already collected, that in future their contributions had better go to the Lowick Committee. Mr Riddell explained the position of the Northumberland, Newcastle and Tyneside Belgian Refugee Committee and proposed that all money raised by means of the house to house collection should be kept in the district for local purposes and that any outside subscriptions that might come in or any church collections should be forwarded to the Central Committee. It was decided to do this.  Father Corcoran, who was unable to be present, sent a letter stating that 18s 1d (£0.90) had been raised by the Lowick Leek Club for the refugee fund. It was suggested that if it was possible to provide work, such as the making of toys, to the cabinet makers among the refugees, orders should be given through Rev D R Wishart, secretary of the Committee.

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