This film is part of Free

Basque Refugees at Stoneham and a Holiday to Lands End

There's something reminiscent in this home movie from the 1930s – with refugees escaping from a distant civil war to find safety in England

Amateur film 1937 13 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


Reverend Henry Horton’s gem of a home-movie features Basque refugee children, from the Spanish Civil War, living in a camp at Stoneham, Hampshire. We then accompany the Reverend on holiday to Cornwall where we see Land's End, the tiny port of Mousehole and Lanyon Quoit, one of many Neolithic structures in the region. Back in Hampshire we see a man starting his motorbike and an outdoor children's tea party before ending with views of Remembrance Sunday at Minstead.

In May 1937 just over 3,800 children from Northern Spain arrived in Southampton, in what was at that time the largest single influx of refugees into the UK. They were housed at Stoneham camp before being dispersed to host families around the country. Volunteers set up the camp and fed and looked after the welfare of the children during their stay at Stoneham, since, apart from issuing the young refugees with three-month visas, largely in response to the public outcry over the bombing of Guernica the month before, there was little official help from the UK government. Reverend Harry Horton, who made several films featuring village life in and around Minstead, was presumably part of that volunteer effort.