Liverpool Street square to be renamed after man who helped bring more than 650 children from Czechoslovakia to the UK in the late 1930s

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Liverpool Street Station
Credit LDRS

A square next to Liverpool Street Station may be renamed after a London-based stockbroker who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis. Sir Nicholas Winton, who died in 2015 and was the inspiration for the Anthony Hopkins film One Life, organised the evacuation of more than 650 children from Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s.

He had visited Prague in 1938 to see the camps set up after the area became overwhelmed with refugees fleeing the German invasion. He subsequently asked the British Government to relax immigration laws and allow some Czech children to enter the UK. This was agreed, on the proviso each child was matched to a host family, and had £50.

Sir Nicholas Winton and a group of volunteers, including his mother, arranged for 669 children to relocate to the country over the next few months, finding host families and raising funds to pay for their travel.

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In recognition of these efforts, the City of London Corporation is proposing a section of Liverpool Street, a square next to Liverpool Street Station, which is where the children would have journeyed into, be renamed the Sir Nicholas Winton Square. The Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Trust, established in 2018 to store documents and other memorabilia, has spoken positively about the plans.

Laurence Winton, the grandson of Sir Nicholas Winton and a trustee of the group, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “We are truly grateful for this initiative, which will serve as a lasting tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton’s humanitarian efforts.

“We believe that a permanent renaming will not only honour his legacy but will also serve as an educational landmark. It will remind passers-by of the virtues of compassion and bravery, and the significant impact one individual can make in the lives of many.”

The consultation is currently open, and is due to run until April 25. The film, One Life, was shown in the UK earlier this year. It starred Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sir Nicholas Winton, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sir Jonathan Pryce also among the cast.

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