Talbot House, Poperinge - A view from our expert author
This very special living museum still remains a hugely important place of remembrance for World War I veterans, with poignant artefacts found throughout the house.
Talbot House offers the rare opportunity to spend the night in an authentic World War I bed and breakfast. It was established at the start of the war by the jovial Reverend Philip Clayton – aka ‘Tubby’ – and chaplain Neville Talbot to provide a place of ‘light, warmth and laughter’ for soldiers to escape the unthinkable violence of war that raged just 12 miles to the east.
The house has been renovated, but many of the fixtures and fittings are untouched – indeed, it’s as if the soldiers just stepped out for the day. In the Chaplain’s Room, a gramophone needle sits poised over a record; black-and-white memento photographs are haphazardly pinned to the pink floral wallpaper; and a coffee mug stands beside a newspaper, ready to be sipped from. Hanging by the entrance is a map of western Flanders. Poperinge, Ypres and the Western Front line are covered in brown smudges – the result of thousands of soldiers’ muddy fingerprints pointing to where they were stationed. Talbot House is a unique living museum that ensures we ‘never forget’.
(Photo: © Emma Thomson)