Havens East

The project

‘Havens East’: Uncovering Lost Histories of 1930s Basque Child Refugees in East Anglia

‘Havens East’ is a heritage project directed by Dr. Jeannette Baxter of Anglia Ruskin University and generously funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Taking place across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, the project engaged specialist teams of researchers, teachers and heritage practitioners to work with citizen researchers, local schools, refugee groups and partner organisations, including BCA’37 UK – The Association for the UK Basque Children, Cambridge Schools of Sanctuary, and Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary.

Image: Project management team meeting

Images: Citizen researchers at work

Based on the stories uncovered by the research, we planned to work closely with two schools – Avenue Junior School in Norwich and Arbury Primary School in Cambridge  – to share the stories with children and support them in their work to respond creatively and work towards a showcase event at The Norwich Playhouse.

As part of Football Welcomes Refugees 2020, we also planned to recreate the historic football match that took place between the Basque Boys and Great Yarmouth Boys at the Wellesley Ground, Great Yarmouth, on Boxing Day 1937. Our recreation would have bought together young refugees and asylum seekers from New Routes Integration in Norwich and the current-day Great Yarmouth Boys team.

Additionally, we planned a research exhibition to be hosted in various venues across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to support Refugee Week 2020, along with a heritage publication, and school resources.

And then everything changed…

Fortunately, the research phase of the project was complete when the Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, transformed everyone’s lives. For Havens East, it meant that we had to swiftly re-imagine what we had planned: no football or school workshops (for now); no showcase event; no physical exhibitions.

But that did not stop us. With a great deal of new and fascinating research material to share, we first discussed just developing an exhibition as a digital resource, but that quickly grew into this website, a stand-alone and all-encompassing website, which includes the heritage publication material, educational activities and resources, and the exhibition as it had been planned.

Image: Teachers planning meeting

We have also been able to work more closely with Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary, who have drawn on the project research to develop a digital Day of Welcome so that many more school children than were originally planned will be able to engage with the story of Havens East. You can take part in the Day of Welcome here: https://www.norfolksos.co.uk/dow-2020.

We are very grateful to all project participants who have helped us to share this incredible piece of heritage in the best way we could under the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in.

In the future, we plan to deliver our creative workshops IN schools, and of course we will not forget that football match!

Havens East

Thank you!

Our Researchers:

Sayeedeh Aryan, Jeannette Baxter, Burak Budak, Laurie Coppersmith, Lisa Crossman, Andrew Eeles, Paul Gallego, Paul Harley, Duncan Joseph, Mike Levy, Tony Mason, Xavier Mathey, Stuart McLaren, Carol Miller, Patrick Morgan, Eileen Mulvaney, Edward Packard, Inaki Sagarna, Eva Simmons, Liz Stevens, Margaret Todd, Ana Toole.

Our Project Team:

Jeannette Baxter, Lesley Ford, Bobby Ford, Mike Levy, Kate Molloy, Edward Packard, Jake Rose-Brown and Donna Thompson.

Thanks, and acknowledgements:

Huge thanks to our wonderful researchers for your unfailing support, energy, brilliance and enthusiasm. It would not have happened without you!

Special thanks also to: 

BCA’37 UK – The Association for the UK Basque Children for their generous support and permission to use images from their research archive.
Adrian Bell for generously allowing us special access to his personal research materials on Poppy Vulliamy and the Basque children.

Daniel Vulliamy for kindly permitting use of personal photographs.

Karen Robson and the University of Southampton Special Collections for kindly permitting use of archive images.

Norfolk Record Office and Norfolk Heritage Centre for generously granting permissions to use archive materials and for responding to our specialist research questions.

We are enormously grateful to our funders and supporters. Thank you all!


Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders of material in this exhibition and associated heritage publication. Please contact us at info@havenseast.org if you believe you are the owner of the copyright or any other related rights in material found on this website. We will withdraw the material from our website immediately and follow-up with you directly.