Richmond grenade factory features in BBC World War One stories

This Is Local London: War stories: Belgian refugees arriving at Victoria station Credit: Imperial War Museum War stories: Belgian refugees arriving at Victoria station Credit: Imperial War Museum

A World War One hand grenade factory in Richmond features in a series of stories being broadcast this year.

World War One at Home, a UK-wide project, will tell more than 1,000 powerful stories linked to specific places across the country - in a way never told before.

The project will uncover stories about neighbourhoods where wounded were treated, front line supplies were made, scientific developments happened, prisoners of war were held and where heroes are buried.

The wartime accounts will be brought to life by the Imperial War Museum and the BBC in a partnership that will span the World War One centenary.

Audiences will discover stories including what happened to hundreds of thousands of Belgian refugees who fled their homeland in 1914 following Germany’s invasion and escaped to Britain.

As more British men were sent to fight at the front the British Government was keen to allow the Belgian refugees to contribute to the war effort at home by working in the arms factories.

More than 60,000 Belgians answered the call and about 500 Belgian companies were established, the largest of which was the Pelabon Works, a hand grenade factory, in Richmond.

Michael Macfarlane, head of BBC London, said: “In researching World War One on the home front in London, we found the most remarkable stories of endurance and courage - a hundred stories about real Londoners which we bring to life on radio, TV and online."

In the capital, BBC London 94.9 will broadcast a story at 8.15am each weekday morning, and at various times throughout the day from Monday, February 24, to Friday, February 28.

BBC London will also broadcast a World War One at Home story each weekday during the same week at 6.30pm on BBC One.

For more information, visit bbc.co.uk/ww1.

Comments (3)

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12:32pm Tue 18 Feb 14

ChrisSquire says...

The Pelabon works was in Cambridge Road, East Twickenham, Middlesex, then a separate borough from Richmond Surrey. It became the ice rink then the Richmond Bridge development.
The Pelabon works was in Cambridge Road, East Twickenham, Middlesex, then a separate borough from Richmond Surrey. It became the ice rink then the Richmond Bridge development. ChrisSquire

4:57pm Tue 18 Feb 14

illynillyt says...

It is a misconception that the Pelabon Works became Richmond Ice-rink. Inspection of the 1915 and 1935 OS maps shows clearly that the Ice-rink is the other side of Clevedon Rd from the site of the Pelabon Works. After the war, the latter was converted into Metal Name Plate works and Motor Engineering works.
The misconception arises because Monsieur Pelabon converted into his factory the shell of a building originally intended to house a roller skating rink (Richmond & Twickenham Skating Rink Co Ltd - that ran out of cash before the building was finished).
It is a misconception that the Pelabon Works became Richmond Ice-rink. Inspection of the 1915 and 1935 OS maps shows clearly that the Ice-rink is the other side of Clevedon Rd from the site of the Pelabon Works. After the war, the latter was converted into Metal Name Plate works and Motor Engineering works. The misconception arises because Monsieur Pelabon converted into his factory the shell of a building originally intended to house a roller skating rink (Richmond & Twickenham Skating Rink Co Ltd - that ran out of cash before the building was finished). illynillyt

7:29pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Helen D Baker says...

illyprillit is partly right, and Chris Squire is largely right. I welcome illyprillit's point about the 1915 OS map, which indicates that the first Pelabon building was in Cambridge Road, a little way away from the riverside "Ice Rink" site. However this does not disprove Chris's statement. illyprillit has not allowed for the fact that M. Pelabon extended his factory enormously, and that he set up a later building on the riverside site. There are photos dated 1918 which show this to be unmistably the "Ice Rink" building, with M. Pelabon himself standing outside it. I tis therefore still true to say that part of the Pelabon Works became Richmond Ice Rink. Chris is of course quite correct in saying that this was in East Twickenham and not in Richmond.
illyprillit is partly right, and Chris Squire is largely right. I welcome illyprillit's point about the 1915 OS map, which indicates that the first Pelabon building was in Cambridge Road, a little way away from the riverside "Ice Rink" site. However this does not disprove Chris's statement. illyprillit has not allowed for the fact that M. Pelabon extended his factory enormously, and that he set up a later building on the riverside site. There are photos dated 1918 which show this to be unmistably the "Ice Rink" building, with M. Pelabon himself standing outside it. I tis therefore still true to say that part of the Pelabon Works became Richmond Ice Rink. Chris is of course quite correct in saying that this was in East Twickenham and not in Richmond. Helen D Baker

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