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Title: Guests of the Nation: The Reception and Relief of Belgian Refugees in Scotland by Glasgow Corporation during the First World War
Author(s): Taylor, Kieran D
Supervisor(s): Jenkinson, Jacqueline
Keywords: Refugees
Civic History
Issue Date: 27-Sep-2021
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Around 20,000 Belgian refugees came to Scotland as part of the wider exodus of 250,000 Belgians to Britain during the First World War. Glasgow Corporation, the city’s municipal government, played a fundamental role in the administration of relief to these refugees. This thesis explores the operation of the refugee regime in Scotland by Glasgow Corporation and its implications for Belgian refugees. The study begins with an introduction which outlines the main themes addressed in the thesis, its method and its structure. A comprehensive literature review of published work relating to Belgian refugees and the field of migrant history is also included. The principal arguments are conveyed through four chapters, a conclusion and an epilogue. The first chapter provides a history of Glasgow’s civic development to contextualise how assistance was delivered in the city through municipal services. Chapter two provides an overview of the organisation of relief by Glasgow Corporation. In particular, it looks at how the municipal government acted on behalf of the state as well as the process of raising and spending funds. The contentious subject of the employment of refugees is also addressed. Chapter three considers how refugees were housed in shared, private and self-supported accommodation. The contribution of Scottish institutions in supporting the work of Glasgow Corporation is discussed in chapter four. The participation of Scottish Universities, the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) and the Catholic Church in refugee relief is also explored in this chapter. This thesis therefore examines the role of Glasgow Corporation as an administrator of aid to Belgian refugees. It is argued that Glasgow Corporation’s mission to assist refugees compelled an enthusiastic Scottish public to engage in a new form of collective action during the First World War. The refugee regime operated by Glasgow Corporation resembled contemporary welfare protocols and assistance for refugees was institutionalised. In assuming authority for a large foreign population, Glasgow Corporation acted on behalf of central government during a period of emergency.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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