Havens East

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Havens East uncovers the forgotten stories of Basque child refugees who sought sanctuary in Cambridge and Norfolk during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Using rarely seen film footage and original photographs along with the voices of rescuers and refugees, Havens East helps us to better understand how and why East Anglia was a safe haven for many Basque children during the Spanish conflict.

Welcome to Havens East

These six-sided shapes, representing the hexagonal labels worn by the Basque refugee children, tell the story of how the East of England became a haven from war.

Here you can find out more about the Spanish Civil War which overturned the children’s lives, their journey to England on a single rescue ship, their stay in Cambridge and Norfolk, and the story of one individual, a boy given the number 162. Who was he?

The Crisis

War – leaving families behind

The Journey

Narrow escape on the SS Habana


Adventures in two Cambridge hostels


The so-called refugee ‘bad boys’ and the amazing Poppy Vulliamy

Who is Number 162?

Revealed – the boy behind the number

Havens East

What can we learn from these stories?