Memorial to the Basque Children

Memorial to the Basque Children

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Town Quay Park

French Street


SO14 2AR

United Kingdom

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On Monday 19 September 2022 the new memorial will be unveiled in the wonderful setting of Town Quay Park closest to where the Habana berthed

About this event

11.00 welcome and introductions at the Dancing Man - coffee will be served from 11.00

12.00 move across French Street to Town Quay Park for unveiling ceremony

13.00 reception at La Regatta restaurant with light refreshments SOLD OUT

On the 21 May 1937 a ship called the SS Habana set sail from the northern Spanish port of Bilbao. On board were 3862 children, and teachers, helpers and priests. These children were evacuated from Spain to protect them from the bombing and the blockade of Bilbao. They experienced air raids and hunger because of the blockade. This humanitarian evacuation happened during the Spanish Civil War.

On 23 May 1937 the SS Habana arrived at Southampton and the children and adults accompanying them were taken to a camp at North Stoneham. This camp had been erected by volunteers, amongst them Leah Manning, who together formed the Basque Children Committee. The committee was solely responsible for the children and worked bravely and indefatably on their behalf. Over the summer months the chiLoren enjoyed their first experience of camping but North Stoneham was never going to be a permanent home for them. Groups of children were chosen to move to colonies, and to existing Roman Catholic homes and Salvation Army orphanages.

As the Spanish Civil War moved slowly to its bloody conclusion most of the children had returned to their families in Spain but those who had been made orphans by the war, those whose parents were in Franco’s jails, those whose parents had themselves gone into exile all remained the responsibility of the Basque Children Committee.

The memorial consists of a polished marble tablet with two engravings created by Maite Pinto - ‘Habana’ and ‘Together’. Next to the tablet is a sculpture by Anthony D Padgett called ‘Picasso’s Guernica Dove’. Picasso loved painting animals and birds in his pictures and central to his greatest picture ‘Guernica’ is a dove crying out in anger and anguish. crying just one tear, The Association for the Basque ChiLoren of the UK is most grateful to the two artists who have contributed their work to this memorial.

Our special guests who will unveil the tablet and the sculpture or lay flowers in memory of the children and their supporters will be: His Excellency Mr José Pascual Marco Martínez the Spanish Ambassador to the UK; a representative of the Basque Government; the Mayors of Southampton and Eastleigh; Alan Lloyd of the IBMT; Mark Courtice SWVG.

The Association for the Basque Children of the UK thanks the following for their kind and generous help in the creation of this memorial: the Basque Government; The Friends of Town Quay Park; the Councilors and staff of Southampton City Council.

This is a public and free event generously supported by the Association for the Basque Chikdren of the UK. I need to know numbers to order refreshments. Please register for this event by ordering your tickets for all members of your party.

La Regatta for a light lunch has sold out. Please book tickets for the coffee reception and unveiling to help me make arrangements so that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable event.

Memorial to the Basque Children image
Memorial to the Basque Children image

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