In the past many weeks and months, we’ve had literally dozens of requests for information, more often than not for family history reasons. However, given the sheer numbers of Belgian refugees, that is simply not feasible. Below you can find a reply to someone from Rutland asking about general information on Belgian refugees in the area. The reply is very representative of what has been sent to other people. And if you hadn't had a reply yet, please reiterate your request.
“I'll try and reply to your request to the best of our abilities. The main problem in looking into the Belgians in Britain during WWI is the fact that much of the archive material
- has been destroyed after the war
- is scattered across various institutions in Britain and Belgium (some of it even ended up in the US)
- is not properly archived yet (such as a vast set of registration cards at the Royal Archives in Brussels, only discovered little over a year ago)
As such there is no amalgamated catalogue of what is stored where and contains which kind of information. To that end I'm afraid that for now, what is described below is what I can offer you.
The first way of looking into this is the local newspapers at your local library or local archives (http://www.leics.gov.uk/record_office.htm) . These often have the most complete information on who was sitting on which committee where and not unusually include the names of people too. Visiting the Mercury archives (http://www.stamfordmercury.co.uk/community/the-mercury/mercury-archives) will already answer many queries.
Another way of accessing newspaper archives can be done online, via the British Library Newspaper archive online, http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/. Slightly less local are the national dailies, most archives can be accessed through your local libary. Especially The Times is very useful in this respect.
The Imperial WarMuseum holds many archive material on Belgian refugees through the Women's Work Collection, some of which is uncovered through www.1914.org. They do hold a few things on Ketton and Stamford.
The Ketton plaque refers to the names of Kieckens and Verbeeck and their family (from Aalst / Alost), is it not? Through the National Archives in Kew, it might be possible to retrieve registration cards for those people, provide they are included: about 165,000 people are recorded in the MH8 series, whereas about another 100,000 came to Britain. The plaque also mentions the honorary secretary of the Belgian refugees committee at Ketton, Miss M.E. Molesworth.
The Albertina library in Brussels allows you to run a keyword search on digitized newspapers from the time, most importantly L'Indépendance Belge, a newspaper published in exile.
As you probably know, there has been reference to the Royal carriages in the Rutland Record issue nr. 15, http://www.rutlandhistory.org/rutlandrecord/rrindex11-20.pdf. I'm also certain that Katherine Storr's book 'Belgian Refugees in Lincolnshire and Hull, 1914-1919' includes many relevant references to the Rutland area.