Talbot House , Poperinge
Poperinge was one of the few towns in Flanders unoccupied by the Germans during The Great War. It was about 15 km directly behind the turmoil of the Ypres salient and was the focus of supplies and men going to the front and a haven where leave could be taken and some mental and physical recouperation achieved. Soldiers could shop, go to a film or show, enjoy restaurants, bars and coffee houses.
On December 11th 1915 two enterprising Army chaplains, Philip Clayton and Neville Talbot opened an “Everyman’s Club” where all soldiers, regardless of rank were welcome. The house and associated buildings were rented at 150 francs a month.
The House was named after Lt. GilbertTTalbot , Neville’s younger brother, who was killed some months previously. More than half a million visitors entered these doors in fewer than 3 years…a home away from home that catered for a man’s bodily, mental and spiritual needs.
The House, believed to have been built in 1728, was purchased in 1929 by Lord Wakefield of Hythe and was donated to The Talbot House Association in 1930.
The House is today almost the same as it was during the War and it is a hostel where up to 21 people may stay. I stayed in the room of Philip Clayton’s batman for three weeks.