Did you know that one of the designers working on Hampton Court was a Huguenot refugee? … We hope to share the interesting, often surprising facts about how refugees have contributed to the UK.

Refugee Week aims to encourage a better understanding of Britain’s proud history of giving sanctuary to people escaping persecution, and to highlight the many ways in which refugees have contributed to, and become part of, our rich history and heritage.

There is a useful resource in our info centre which tells you more about the heritage and contributions of refugees to the UK. You can access and download “A Credit to the Nation” here.

And in the run up to Refugee Week, hear more about our rich history and heritage through a number of related projects which have taken place across the UK. We will be highlighting a selection on our website for you.

Our first four selections are below…

Norwich HEART ‘Strangers walking tour’ and publication:

Norwich has always been a city that has welcomed incomers. This project looked at the contributions they have made to the city over many centuries and the role incomers have played in creating today’s vibrant city.
Read more here

Southampton ‘Los Ninos’ oral history project:

A collaborative project between the University of Southampton and Hampshire Archives and Local Studies to record and disseminate the life histories of 30 former refugees that arrived in Southampton in May 1937. These refugees were part of a contingent of nearly 4,000 children who were fleeing the bombings of Guernica and other Basque towns during the Spanish Civil War.
Read more here

Huguenots of Spitalfields:

From 8th to 21st April 2013 there will be a festival celebrating the contribution of the Huguenot community within the UK! 2013 is the year of two significant anniversaries in the intertwined history of the Spitalfields district in London and the silk weaving industry created by Huguenots (French Protestant refugees who fled Catholic France from the 16th century).
Read more on the Huguenots of Spitalfields website here

Refugee Week Refugee Archive and History Group:

Refugee Week has established this refugee archive and history group with our partners University of East London (UEL) and London Metropolitan Archives, following on from our annual conference in February. We invite you to join to share interesting insights and personal experiences within our rich history and heritage, as well as use the discussion forum to consider the process of identifying, recording and archiving refugee contributions to our history and heritage. Join us here.

And we want to hear from you! If you have something that you would like to share with us, whether a personal memory or some local history please contact us! You can write to:emily@counterpointsarts.org.uk