A Belgian, long-term resident of Twickenham has launched a new beer to commemorate the Belgian refugees who lived and worked in East Twickenham during the First World War.
“I have been living in Twickenham for quite some time and it was only last year around October as part of the centenary of WW1 that I read in a local paper that so many Belgian refugees, or ‘Bloody Belgians’ as they were called, had lived and worked in this country. I was absolutely astonished that today you can hardly find any traces of their presence” says Tom De Nert, who came up with the idea for the beer. “I started reading up more on the Belgian refugees and how it was one of the biggest migrations of citizens of a European nation in Britain. The sheer amount of them must have been quite challenging at times for communities up and down the country. For that reason, I though it would be good to give something back while creating a lasting memory.”
De Nert then went to a Belgian brewery to have a beer created. Each of four different beer bottles has a different story of a “Bloody Belgian” on the back label. All of them lived and worked in East Twickenham. Part of the sale of the Bloody Belgian beer will go to the erection of a memorial plaque in East Twickenham, at Cambridge Gardens, near the old site of the Pelabon Ammunition Factory (or the later Richmond Ice Rink) where mainly refugees and wounded soldiers were making ammunition shells.
The beer will be for sale at various beer shops, pubs and restaurants and will be available at various events in the SW London borough this coming summer.