ULLSWATER’S WARTIME FRENCH CONNECTION TO BE COMMEMORATED

ULLSWATER’S WARTIME FRENCH CONNECTION TO BE COMMEMORATED

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, is to unveil a plaque commemorating the site of the Lycée Francais, which relocated to Cumbria during the Second World War.

The unveiling will take place at Another Place on Friday 1 March at 16:10pm, with speeches by Mr Stewart, Claudine Ripert, the Director of the French Institute and French Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy, and Professor Gilles Kepel, the distinguished French academic, whose father was evacuated to Ullswater during the war. The decision to commemorate the school’s site was made by both Mr Stewart and Professor Kepel in recognition of the welcome that Ullswater gave to refugee students from war torn Europe.

The Lycée was founded in 1915, in order to provide an education to French-speaking evacuees from Europe. During the Second World War, seeking to protect its students from the horrors of the Blitz, the school relocated, first to Cambridge and then to Cumbria. Students from across Europe, whose families had fled the horrors of the war, lived and studied in four hotels in Ullswater, which are today Another Place, Waterfoot Park and an Outward Bound Centre. After the war, the Lycée returned to London and remains there to this day. Many of those who studied at its Ullswater site went on to become prominent public figures in France, including Claire Tomalin and Pierre Mendès France.

Mr Stewart said: “I am very much looking forward to this unveiling, which will commemorate a powerful example of the strong, historic connection between Britain and France. The story of how the Lycée Francais came to Ullswater, and the sterling work that its staff did to educate a generation of refugees and evacuees, is an inspirational one and it is right that we should mark it in this way. I very much hope that this monument to that work will encourage others to reflect upon our area's deep history and its proud role during the Second World War”.