First World War soldiers’ ‘haven from Hell’ celebrated at Guildhall Library
The house in Poperinge, just a few miles from the front line at Ypres, was regarded by soldiers as a haven from the horrors of the trenches where their comrades were killed in their tens of thousands.
Rank was irrelevant, orders were prohibited, and soldiers were encouraged to forget about the war as they relaxed in the Everyman’s Club and the gardens at Talbot House, which was established in 1915 in the Belgian town by army chaplains, Philip ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Neville Talbot.
The extraordinary legacy of Talbot House will be celebrated in a centenary exhibition, Talbot House: An Oasis in a World Gone Crazy, at Guildhall Library from 12 October to 8 January 2016. The show, which recounts the story of ‘Tubby’ and this ‘oasis’ for soldiers during the First World War, will include items from Talbot House, the memoirs of ‘Tubby’, and part of the hut where he wrote them after fleeing from the Germans.
Raf Craenhals, Manager at The Talbot House Museum, said:
“We are delighted that the story of Talbot House during the First World War will be told in this exhibition at Guildhall Library. Talbot House was a home from home for countless soldiers during the First World War and we believe that some of that homely atmosphere will be recreated in this show. The centrepiece, a 100-year old British army cabin used by the founder of the House, will definitely leave an impression on those who see it.”
Sara Pink, Head of Guildhall Library, said:
“It will be our privilege to host ‘An Oasis in a World Gone Crazy’ to pay tribute to ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Neville Talbot’s efforts to provide a sanctuary for soldiers during the unimaginable horrors of the battlefields of the Great War. This major exhibition at Guildhall Library will tell their accounts - in their own words and using material drawn from the City’s London Metropolitan Archives – and will certainly engage and move visitors.”
Two ticketed events will be held during the exhibition:
Talbot House – A Haven from the Hell of the Trenches: Late View and Launch
Thursday 22 October, 6 - 8pm at Guildhall Library
£5 plus booking fee; booking essential from talbothouselateviewevent.eventbrite.co.uk (includes a wine and canapé reception)
Ken Prideaux-Brune, President of the Friends of Talbot House, will tell the story of Talbot House, which has been preserved as it was during the Great War and celebrates its centenary in December.
The Happy Hoppers Show
Thursday 26 November, 6 - 8pm at Guildhall Library
£10 plus booking fee; booking essential from happyhoppersshow.eventbrite.co.uk (includes a wine reception) – free gift for anyone in authentic First World War attire
The hop barn in Talbot House was converted into a theatre during the Great War. Performances were put on to provide some light relief to those who were about to travel to, or had just returned from, the front line. This will be a one-off performance, created by the Happy Hoppers, to reflect what was performed for the troops.
After the war, Philip Clayton set up the international Christian charity Toc. H, became Reverend of All Hallows by the Tower, and established strong links with the City. Talbot House, Poperinge. Everyman’s Sanctuary from the Tranches by Jan Louagie, Talbot House’s archivist, will be published in mid-October to coincide with the exhibition at Guildhall Library.
Notes for Editors:
Sara Pink, Head of Guildhall Library, and Raf Craenhals, Manager of The Talbot House Museum, are available for media interviews. Previews of the exhibition may be arranged for photographers and journalists. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for more details.
Talbot House: An Oasis in a World Gone Crazy runs from 12 October to 8 January 2016 at Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH. Telephone 020 7332 1868 or 1870 / email email@example.com
Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Features), City of London Corporation
Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333 060
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