Our Activities

News & Events 2018

29 November BOLTON

Friends Meeting House, 50 Silverwell Street, Bolton BL1 1PP, 19:00- 21:00

Basque Children of Watermillock

You are invited to come along to hear about the Basque children who stayed in Bolton to avoid Franco's devastating bombing.

Planning is underway to add a plaque to the outside of the Watermillock, which is a pub/restaurant, with information inside.

For more information contact Lisa Croft on Facebook.

A Life for Education — A Celebration of Leah Manning

Leah Manning

Tuesday 20th November, CAMBRIDGE
Homerton College 5.30 - 7.00 pm

Screening of a new documentary, short talks and unveiling of a permanent memorial to this extraordinary woman.

The event is free, but book your place now.

More details …

The Basque Children. The English Exile

Leah Manning

Instituto Cervantes, Manchester have produced a short video about their recent exhibition held and organised in collaboration with Simon Martinez of BCA'37 UK.


See also report by Barbara Coombs, here.

The kindness of Strangers

Maite Pinto figures

Maite Pinto, who has been studying for Master's degree in Fine Art, was recently awarded the prize of "Young Contemporary Creation" at Saint Jean Pied de Port (France) for her project "The kindness of Strangers" which was exhibited earlier in the year at Castlefield Gallery (more details here)

We have received a delightful letter from Maite that can be read here.

We send her our warmest congratulations.

Gernikako Lobak

Gernikako Lobak

1 November, MANCHESTER
Instituto Cervantes — Salón de Actos,
326-330 Deansgate, Campfield Avenue Arcade, Manchester M3 4FN, 18.30 - 20.00 pm

A cultural initiative by the grandchildren of the survivors of the bombing of Guernica.

Talk in English.

More details …

The 4,000 Basque refugee children evacuated to Britain in May 1937

Some of the Children

Refugee History is an important initiative by the University of East Anglia providing a platform ranging from academic research to personal experience relating to refugees of the past and of the present.*

We were invited to contribute an article which they have published on their blog.
More details here …

* Refugee History is an initiative of the University of East Anglia.

It provides a platform for academic research, evidence from the field, professional expertise and personal experience relating to the broad issues of refugees and refugeedom. Refugee History also operates as an online network through which members are able to share their perspectives, highlight new research, promote best practice, and develop new and collaborative research methods aimed at making an impact on current debates. Our aim is to bring evidence, expertise and experience to current conversations around refugee and migration issues.

For more information, please contact info@refugeehistory.org or tweet us @RefugeeHistory.

Exhibition of BCA'37 UK posters

15 - 29 October, EDINBURGH

Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Ave, Edinburgh EH15 1AU

Newspaper article about Na-Mara and Basque children

In Bradford Argus here …

The Silence of the Others

Sunday 16th September at Edinburgh Filmhouse
Monday 17th of September at Glasgow Film Theatre.

The Silence of the Others

Two more screenings of this film, which was recently given a detailed and enthusiastic review by Simon Martinez here.

"The director Almudena Carracedo will be present and will explain the process of making the film and the long journey with the victims to bring a bit of light to this story.

It is strongly suggested to book tickets well in advance, as we anticipate a lot of interest on the film."

CINEMAATTIC, Alberto M. Valverde, Programme Coordinator
+44 (0) 7905 302 122, www.cinemaattic.com/event

A new book — "The Moon is Red"

The Moon is Red

By Myrddin ap Dafydd (translated from the Welsh).

Continuing our Welsh theme, here is information about a new historic novel for young adults which includes the history of the Bilbao blockade and the Basque children refugees in North Wales. We hope it will be of interest to you.

Myrddin ap Dafydd was the first Children's Poet Laureate in Wales (2000-2001). More details here …

Plaque unveiling in Caerleon

A plaque remembering Basque children who sought refuge in Newport from the Spanish Civil War was unveiled in Caerleon …

Report from South Wales Argus …

Homerton College, Cambridge

Art work by José María Martínez-Coqué

This year marks the 250th anniversary (1768-2018) of the founding of Homerton College, Cambridge.

This is of particular interest to those interested in the evacuation of the Basque children from Bilbao for two reasons.

Read more here …

That Was Then, But This is Now - Travels in Spain.

That Was Then, But This is Now

Advanced notice of a new book by Andy Grigg, which contains a chapter on niños de la guerra.

This book compares and contrasts the experience of travelling in Spain as a young twenty something man with the experience of travelling as a married, family man.

It is part memoir and part travel guide, looking at the experience of travel through the eyes of the same person, visiting many of the same places, but in two different time periods - 1984 and 2016/17.

More details …

The Basque Children. The English Exile

The Habana

Instituto Cervantes - Salón de Actos, 326-330 Deansgate, Campfield Avenue Arcade M3 4FN Manchester

Instituto Cervantes Manchester in collaboration with BCA'37 UK — the Association for the UK Basque Children, presents this monographic exhibition - a project which explores the history of the 4,000 children who were evacuated from Bilbao to the United Kingdom in 1937 onboard the SS Habana.

The exhibition runs from 27 Sep 2018 to 12 Nov 2018,
Mon - Fri, 10.00 am - 8.00 pm.
The opening event is on 27 September at 18:30 - free entry, but booking recommended.

More details here …

Photo Article: "Basque Children of '37"

Agati photo

By Gianluca Urdiroz Agati.

During the Spanish Civil War many parents sent their children away from the country to save them from war … This series of photographs focuses on those who decided to stay in England for the rest of their lives.

More details here …


For many years now the niños de la guerra have gathered together for a "family" meal … I would like to trace the reunions back to their earliest days when Helvecia first started organising the comida, up to the present day when second generation niños - Luis and Amaya have taken over the organisation … If there is a good response then I would like to seek funding and produce an illustrated book/booklet …

Click to read the full project proposal.

If you would like to contribute any memories, photos (I will copy, then return them by post if you wish) or if you would like to help in any way, please contact me at: carmen@basquechildren.org or call on 07801 067161.


Outside Pendragon House, Cross Street, NP18 1AF at 12.00 midday

Unveiling of the Plaque to Commemorate the Basque Child Refugees who fled to Caerleon in 1937.

The event will be opened by Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council and will include the unveiling by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Phil Hourahine. Representatives will include Newport City Council, which has provided the plaque, the BCA'37 UK Basque Children of '37 and Caerleon Civic Society who have both also contributed, relatives and local organisations. Songs will be performed by Caerleon Schools.

As space is limited, attendance is by invitation only — please contact carmen@basquechildren.org or call on 07801 067161 for your invitation.

25 June - 1 July SOUTHAMPTON

Floor 4 Gallery, University Library, University of Southampton, Highfields, Southampton SO17 1BJ

From Bilbao to Southampton to Salford

Another opportunity to view this exhibition of conceptual art by Claire Hignett, which was previously exhibited at Salford.


University of Southampton, Highfields, Southampton SP17 1BJ
13.30pm - 16.30pm

The Basque Child Refugees and the Spanish Civil War -
History and Memory

An afternoon of talks to explore the impact of Total War on Children, The struggle for the souls of the children, two Local Studies of the Child Refugees and adults in refugee camps in France, and a personal account of one family.

Speakers: Dr Peter Anderson (Leeds University), Dr Ed Packard (University of Suffolk), Dr Graham Soo (University of Southampton) and Carmen Kilner (BCA’37UK). Further details here …

Tickets can now be booked at Eventbrite.

Times Literary Supplement, 22 June edition.

We have a letter in this edition of the TLS about our Association, its aims and about the 4000 Basque child refugees to Britain in 1937. This is in response to a book review (May 18th) where the comment is made that there is little common knowledge about the Basque (and Belgian and Serbian) refugees compared to the Kindertransport.

The original review can be read at www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/fugitive-memory/.

Our letter can be read here.


Thornton Antiquarian Society, Thornton Community Centre,
Market Street, Thornton, Bradford BD13 3HW, at 2pm

Thornton Antiquarian Society Society presents:
The Reverend John Balmer and the Basque Child Refugees
in Bradford and Keighley

A talk by John Birkbeck (grandson of the Revd Balmer) and
Simon Martinez (BCA'37UK)

The Reverend Balmer was the Chair of the Yorkshire Committee for Spanish Relief and Secretary of the Keighley Basque Children Committee. He was the minister at The Devonshire Street Congregational Church in Keighley. During the Spanish Civil War 24 children came to Bradford and 120 to Keighley.

Exhibition of works by Maite Pinto: "Kindness of Strangers"

Maite Pinto Base Camp
Castlefield Gallery & Manchester School of Art, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, M15 4GB
From 6 July 2018 to 12 August 2018

A new collaboration is launched this summer:
a biennial to showcase some of the most promising work being produced by MA and MFA graduates from Manchester School of Art.

From the three students selected, Maite Pinto has worked with archive material relating to the Spanish Civil War and in particular from the Basque Children Association of '37 to produce art works for the exhibition.

For further details see: the gallery web site.

New items available:
from the BCA'37 UK online shop

Flags for sale

The flags of the Segunda Republica and Euskadi were important symbols for the children when they came to England in 1937.

We now have for sale these two flags. Details:

La tricolor - flag of the Second Republic - 14"x10" (36x25cm) made in cotton - a replica of the flag brought to Britain by one of the Niños. Price £10.00.

La Ikuriña - flag of the Basque Country -
18" x 11" (45x28cm) - printed on high quality polyester. Price £5.00.

The price for each flag includes postage for all U.K. orders.

Visit our shop here.

Folk Duo Na-Mara

Don't forget to check out their forthcoming gigs ….
More information …


Weston Park Museum, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP 13.30pm - 16.30

The Basque Children in Sheffield and the Spanish Civil War

An afternoon of talks and the opportunity to view the exhibition 'Sheffield City of Protest'

Speakers: Dr James Yeoman, Prof Mary Vincent, Stephanie Wright
(all University of Sheffield) and Simon Martinez (BCA'37UK)

More information at The Museum web site;

and this article on The Star web site.

27 April - 29 April TOTNES

The Dartington Hall Trust, Totnes TQ9 6EL

Carito y Marina: From Bilbao to Dartington

A weekend of events, public discussions and exhibitions on the Dartington Hall estate celebrating the lives and legacy of the Rodríguez sisters, Carito and Marina.

Further details and booking information on the Dartington website www.dartington.org/whats-on/event/?id=303398 and by contacting totnesgrove@yahoo.com

Further details here …

21 April NORWICH

Norwich Millennium Library, first Floor, from 2-3pm

'The Forgotten Kindertransport – Basque Refugees in East Anglia'
Talk by Mike Levy. Flyer for the event here …

Request for information

We have received a request for information from a Ph.D student at the University of Granada and hope that some of you might be able to help him: "… the issue of the return of the republican exile, whether they are relatives or not of exiles, and want to share their stories."

There is a questionnaire. Read the full request here …

Spanish Crossings author John Simmons on BBC Radio 4

John Simmons,the author of the novel Spanish Crossings, was interviewed by Richard Coles on BBC Radio 4, "Saturday Live" (go to 41.17 minutes into the interview).

A very nice interview with kind acknowledgement of our association and help given to John. It is available to listen on: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09y6zmr#play

BBC Radio 4 - Minority Rights and
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon Drama,
The Ferryhill Philosophers

This 45 minute play is about refugees and immigration - the problems, the facts and some history. There is a surprising little twist where the evacuation of the Basque children is mentioned.

It is available to listen on: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09w0g06

Caireles Martínez Tobalina

Caireles Martínez Tobalina

We have received the sad news of the death of Caireles (Cai). He leaves his wife Feliciana, his son Eloy and grandchildren.

Our condolences to all the family.

More details here …

Agustín Luís Eskubi Urtiaga

Agustín Luís Eskubi Urtiaga

Agustín's daughter, Juanita, has informed us of the death of her father.

Born on 28 August 1922 in Durango and died on 12 March 2018 in Farnborough

Our condolences to all the family.

More details and * funeral arrangements * here …

Folk Duo Na-Mara


We often report on events where the folk duo Na-Mara have performed. The duo - Roberto García (son of a niño) and Paul McNamara have a wide and varied repertoire, but always include songs written by them about the history of the niños.

They act as ambassadors for our association wherever they perform.

These are all good reasons for us to support them and attend their gigs: but the most powerful reason is that they are fantastic musicians and will have you completely spellbound throughout any performance that you may attend!

Here is a link to their programme of gigs for this year and their web site is at www.na-mara.com.

Spanish Crossings

Spanish Crossings

Following on from the success of the hard back edition, John Simmons' book Spanish Crossings is now out in paperback.

If you didn't read it first time round then we can thoroughly recommend that you buy a copy now.

There is a review on our website by Ed Packard here.

Here is a more recent review by another historian, Richard Baxell:

"Based on the true story of the arrival of 3000 Spanish Refugees in 1937, Spanish Crossings convincingly recreates a picture of England, France and Spain during the turbulent and war-torn 1930s and '40s. Elegantly written and well-paced, John Simmons' story of love and optimism is an exciting and rewarding read."

Read this press release here …

The book is available from BooksEtc for £5.39 p& included.

Changing Lives: 200 years of changing lives and protest

Basque Children in Yorkshire Exhibition
Weston Park Museum, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP
From 6 February to 1 July 2018

"As part of the theme of unity with national and international causes the time spent in Sheffield by 25 Niños Vascos is explored through a poster, press cuttings, books …"

More on the Museum web site and in this report by Barbara Coombs.

The Gernika Peace Museum

The Gernika Peace Museum Foundation has a long and outstanding history of using the archives of war and atrocities, not only those of Guernica, as a vehicle for understanding conflict and finding a way forward towards peace.

The museum is well worth visiting if you have not yet done so. They produce exhibitions, talks and events throughout the year and although not all will have a direct reference to the niños de la guerra, they will all have that relevant background context.

Two items of current interest are the following:

An exhibition in Gernika at Museum running from 15 December 2017 until 16 September 2018 entitled Memories of Stone and Steel — monuments to victims of the Spanish Civil War and Francoism in the Basque Country (1936 - 2017). Details here …
and an invitation to the opening on 15 December 2017

A brochure by the Education Department of the Gernika Peace Museum Foundation containing much of interest to schools and others. Details here …

Manuel Rodriguez Urbano

Manuel Rodriguez Urbano

Manuel Rodríguez has given us the sad news of the death of his father, Manuel Rodriguez Urbano.

Born in Bilbao on 16th November 1923, died in the UK on 23rd February 2018, aged 94.

Our condolences to all the family.

More details will be published here when known …

24 March WICKHAM MARKET, Suffolk

Wickham Market Village Hall, 11.00am to 5.00pm

Remembering the Basque refugee children in Wickham Market,

A collaborative event between Wickham Market Area Archive Centre and BCA'37 UK commemorating the arrival of nearly 100 Basque child refugees to a colony at Wickham Market.

Featuring the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, BCA’37 UK exhibition and talks by DrAdrian Bell and Dr Ed Packard (University of Suffolk). Further details here …

See also this article in the East Anglian Daily Times …

18 March SHOTLEY GATE, Suffolk

The Shotley Peninsular Local History Group, Shotley Sailing Club, Queen Victoria Drive, Shotley Gate. 7pm for 7.30pm

Looking after the Basque Refugee Children in Suffolk 1937-39

A talk by Ed Packard: non-members £5; contact Jenny Elsey at: jenny@elseyadcock.co.uk and more details here …

Visit to Parliament

Jeremy Corbyn, Paco Robles, Carmen Kilner

On February 21st Paco Robles and Carmen Kilner were invited to attend Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons as guests of the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

Read our report here …

The Gernika children who took refuge in Britain
(From 2012)

"Herminio Martinez was one week from his eighth birthday when he hitched a lift in the local fishmonger's van to the docks at Bilbao. There he and his brother would board a ship to England …"

Published in El País — Read it here.

Review of 2017

This 80th anniversary year was one of our busiest and most eventful years.

We have prepared our "Annual review 2017": a summary of the Association's activities and actions, together with a brief financial report, and a pictorial overview of the year's events month by month.

Summary of Activities

Financial Report

Events Overview