A home for ‘better class’ Belgians in Theale

On 26 October a public meeting was held in Theale to discuss the problem of the Belgian refugees in the area:

Belgian Refugees
A Public Meeting Of Parishioners & Neighbours of Theale, will be held in the Parish Room, On Monday, October 26th, 1914 At 7 p.m.

I. To discuss the suggestion of providing a Home in Theale for a Belgian family.
II. If adopted, to appoint Committees to raise a fund, and make the necessary arrangements.

Signed –
Stuart C. F. Angel-Smith, Rector.
F. G. Steel, Congregational Minister.
D. H. Davies, Chairman of Theale Parish Council.

The parish magazine subsequently reported on the decision made to provide free housing for a family of Belgians (of the better class only).

BELGIAN REFUGEES.
A well-attended and business-like meeting was held in the Parish Room on Monday, October 26th. The Rector presided and opened the Meeting with Prayer. In his introductory remarks the Chairman said that we in Theale wanted to take a part, however small, in discharging the debt that England and France especially owed to Belgium and her heroic Army. We wished to provide a Home for a party of Belgian Refugees. A house must be provided, rent free, and furnished. Much of the furniture would be lent. We must raise a fund for preliminary expenses, and another fund of weekly contributions for maintenance of the guests. Mr. Herbert Blatch, in an interesting and informing speech, thought we should do well to choose a party of better-class Belgians. Te Rev. F. G. Steel proposed a resolution pledging the meeting to support the scheme. This was carried unanimously. Mr. D. M. Davies then proposed the names of several ladies and men to form a Committee, with power to add to their number, meanwhile papers were handed to the audience, on which to put down their contributions to the Starting Fund, and weekly maintenance fund. Promises to the first came to £14 3s. 6d., to the second to £1 18s. 0d. The Rector then announced that he had received, through Miss Blatch, the promise of a donation of £5 from her eldest sister, Mrs. Parlett. This generous gift was much appreciated.

The Committee then met for a short time, and the Rector was elected Chairman, the Rev. F. G. Steel, Vice-Chairman, Mr. D. M. Davies, Hon Secretary, and Mr A. C. Phillips, Hon. Treasurer. The question of choosing a house arising, the Chairman proposed that Mr. Herbert Blatch, Mr. Davies and Mr. Cumber for a Sub-Committee to negotiate for an appropriate house. This was passed.

The parish is to be heartily congratulated on the unanimity with which this good work has been inaugurated, and on the generous support given to the first appeal for subscriptions. Many more offers will doubtless come from those not present at the Meeting.

Theale parish magazine, November 1914, and flier (D/P132B/28A/4)

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