Upon the people of Belgium the opening of the World War fell like a sudden and devastating storm. Swept by the gray-clad hosts of the German invaders, scores of their beautiful cities and busy manufacturing towns, hundreds of their thrifty farms were shattered by shell fire and gutted by flames. At the same time tens and thousands of people, women, children and old men, terrified by the horrible atrocities committed against many of them, abandoned everything and fled, helpless and hopeless fugitives, into France or to the seaports where they might get ships for England. 
  In England great numbers of them found refuge, and it is to the credit of the large hearted humanity of the English people that, in spite of the burdens and anxieties bearing upon them in those early months of the war, they so generously threw open their homes and public places to these forlorn refugees and made such self-sacrificing efforts to care for them. In palaces and cottages of the poor, in city halls and hospitals and the mansions of country estates they were taken in, and many orphaned children were adopted by English families. 
  The Alexandra Palace, in which we are standing and where these Belgian women and children are housed in some degree of comfort, lies in a beautiful park 300 acres in extent on the norther outskirts of London. The building, which is of brick, was erected in 1875, and it is and enormous music hall covering, with its courts, and area 7 1/2 acres, the central hall being 386 feet by 184 feet in size.