Monday, 16 June 2014

Antwerp city walk, WW1-related

In the history of Belgian refugees, Antwerp plays a particular role. Deemed a safe haven, the port city accommodated 100,000s of Belgians on the run for the advancing German troops and the ensuing (stories of) atrocity.

However, the city did not hold out against the power of the German army and capitulated on 9 October, 10 weeks after the invasion.

The population of Antwerp at the time, little over 300,000 was decimated: virtually everybody was on the run. When the Germans entered the city in the morning of 10 October, most inhabitants had fled, mainly to the Netherlands, but also to France and the United Kingdom.

With the conference on Languages and the First World War taking place on Wednesday 18 June 2014 at the University of Antwerp (a second day is held at the British Library on 20 June) a morning walk is scheduled across the old city centre of Antwerp.

Most sites along the walk are World War 1-related: locations of Zeppelin attacks, addresses of casualties of those attacks, addresses from people who became refugees and ended up in places such as Ilford (data based on Pat Heron's work) and Glasgow. Some cultural references, to both British and Belgian artists are included too.

And of course the location of the temporary pontoon bridge.

The Google Map aims to be a work in progress, plenty of archive material and addresses to add still. You can find it here.

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