Talbot House (Toc H) – where Tommy found peace behind the lines
Tour Dates TBA
A one day tour based around a visit to Talbot House, a truly unique location in the bustling town of Poperinge, less than 10 miles from Ypres, where British troops were offered brief respite from the turmoil and brutality of the Great War.
Safe from most German shelling, Poperinge became the nerve centre of the British sector and was where Army chaplains Neville Talbot and Philip “Tubby” Clayton opened a club which, for more than three years from December 1915 onwards, provided rest and recreation to all soldiers, genuinely regardless of their rank. The club was named after Neville’s brother Gilbert, killed nearby in 1915, and today, as real as then, it offers a welcoming and fascinating stop in Flanders fields.
A visit to Talbot House usually starts at the old hop store adjacent to the house, which was converted into a concert hall during the War. A permanent exhibition immerses you in the history of the club over the last century. The main house is still very much lived in and used till this day: the relaxing club atmosphere pervades the ground floor where you may play the piano, have a chat with the (British) wardens, get some refreshments and then amble outside to enjoy the garden. Up the stairs past the popular guest rooms to the Upper Room, you will reach the heart of the club, its beautiful chapel. Talbot House hasn’t changed from the Every Man’s Club it was a century ago, while its legacy of social work in the community as Toc H endures.
While in Poperinge we will also visit:
The Execution Post and Death Row
Poperinge New Military Cemetery – graves of men shot at dawn
and beyond the town:
Sanctuary Wood Cemetery – last resting-place of Neville Talbot’s brother
The Pool of Peace – massive crater, now a memorial in the care of Talbot House