Fascination continues with the Birtley Belgians after 100 years

A fascination with the story of Belgian refugees working in a North East munitions factory and setting up their own town, named after their queen, continues 100 years after they fled from German troops.

A Belgian writer is researching the story of his countrymen and women’s life in Birtley and the contribution they made to the war effort and eventual defeat of Germany.

Newsmaker PR and Video Production Ltd made a film about munitions manufacture at Birtley to mark the closure of the factory in 2012 after 96 years.

“Birtley – People, Factories and Wars” was narrated by the actor Tim Healy who briefly worked there. The Healy family had strong connections with munitions production in the North East, starting with Tim’s grandfather who moved to Birtley in the 1930s to help prepare the factory for war.