WW1 Photos Centenary Website: 2014-2018 By Paul Reed

A Century Of Talbot House, Poperinghe


Talbot House is a Belgian town house located in the town of Poperinghe in rural Flanders. Here in December 1915 two army chaplains, Rev. P.S.B. ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Rev. Neville Talbot, opened the house in memory of Neville’s brother, Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot, who had been killed at Hooge in July 1915. The idea was to create a place soldiers could come to, to escape the war. There was a quiet room, a library, a theatre, a place to get tea and in the loft a chapel where men could attend religious services. During the war thousands of British troops knew Talbot House, but in 1919 its former owner claimed it back until the house was acquired for the Talbot House Association in the 1920s. Talbot House was where the Toc H movement was started: Toc H is army signalling phonetic for the initials T.H. = Talbot House.

This image comes from a postcard soldiers could buy at the house during the war to help raise money for the house so that everything could be free for ordinary soldiers. It shows the ‘upper room’ where the services took place. A century after Talbot House first opened this view, and this chapel, is almost unchanged. It is one of the places on the Western Front where you can reach out and almost touch the Great War.


3 responses

  1. Thanks for remembering Talbot House. Tubby Clayton was my great uncle’s godfather – a tenuous connection but we have a lovely photo of the two of them together somewhere!

    17/12/2015 at 18:54

    • sommecourt

      How wonderful! Thanks for sharing that.

      17/12/2015 at 23:58

  2. Anthony Farrar

    I finally managed to visit Talbot House last year or the year before. It was closed but I knocked on the door and a young man let me in and let us wander around. He checked the visitors book to see if my grandfather had signed it. he hadn’t but when over tens of thousands of soldiers visited and only a few signed the book signed the book, it is hardly surprising. As my grandfather was in the Ypres Salient in 1916, he may have visited.

    08/11/2017 at 19:04

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