More about the Belgian story
Two thousand Belgians worked in the Pelabon Muntions Factory, both men and (famously) women. Some of the women turned yellow from working with explosives and were called "canary girls".
The Belgians lived all over the Borough: many in East Twickenham; lots in St Margarets, where whole streets were often Belgian; also in Central Twickenham, Richmond, Kew, Hampton, Teddington .......... You name it, they were there.
Not all our Belgians worked in the factory though. Desirable Richmond also attracted the well-off, who supported themselves and socialised with their fellows across London.
Belgians had their own local shops of all kinds, and their own cafes and restaurants.
They mostly lived their lives around the Pelabon Works: sports clubs, drama groups, orchestra and choir, and many more.
One of Pelabon's buildings later became world-famous as Richmond Ice Rink, which many of us still remember. Sadly the Ice Rink was demolished in 1992,
but the pretty little riverside part outside it (Warren Gardens) which M. Pelabon left for public benefit remains still.
We think this marvellous story deserves a public memorial, and a memorial which our community can be proud of. The story should never be fortgotten again.