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A Haven in Hell: Talbot House, Poperinghe (Cameos of the Western Front) [Paperback]

Paul Chapman , Ted Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.95
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Book Description

12 Sep 2000 Cameos of the Western Front
Talbot House Poperinghe was opened in November 1915 as a 'Soldiers Club' - a haven from hell - by two Chaplains of the 6th Division, Philip 'Tubby' Clayton and Neville Talbot. The house was dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Talbot, Neville's brother, who had been killed in in the afternoon counter-attack (set up to re-take the positions lost in the early morning Liquid Fire attack of the same day) at Hooge on 30 July 1915. For the following three years, except for a short period in 1918, the doors of Talbot House never closed and it became a 'home-from-home' for the officers and men of the British and Imperial armies of the time. Today Talbot House is a living museum offering a friendly greeting and a cup of tea to visitors on their arrival - a house rule established by 'Tubby' Clayton in 1915. Bringing to the reader the history of the house and its contents, the book brings to life the multitude of events that took place in and around it as well as telling the little-known stories of Clayton's frequent trips to the front line to minister to the men in the trenches around Ypres

Frequently Bought Together

A Haven in Hell: Talbot House, Poperinghe (Cameos of the Western Front) + In the Shadow of Hell: Ypres Sector 1914-1918 (Cameos of the Western Front) + A Walk Round Plugstreet: South Ypres Sector 1914-1918 (Cameos of the Western Front S.)
Price For All Three: 26.12

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (12 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850527732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850527735
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book about a wonderful house 2 July 2013
Format:Paperback
A Haven in Hell (not "from" Hell, as Amazon seem to think) by Paul Chapman is a history of a rather remarkable house in the Belgian city of Poperinghe. From 1915 until the end of the First World War Talbot House, or "Toc H" as it became known, was set up by an army chaplain of the 6th Division, and provided cups of tea and an opportunity to relax to British and Empire soldiers and officers in a town just a few miles behind the front line. The chapel on the top floor saw over 25,000 men taking Holy Communion during the course of the war, their names all carefully recorded. The remarkable Reverend Philip "Tubby" Clayton insisted that military rank should be abandoned by all entering the house, and privates and colonels could be found conversing on equal terms, corporals and Brigadiers performing together at musical evenings.

Paul Chapman describes the setting up of this remarkable establishment, and tells of the men who passed through on their way to the front lines beyond Ypres, many never to return. After the war the "Toc H" movement was started, and in the late 1920s the house bought for the movement and re-opened. More recently it has been opened as a museum (although bed and breakfast is still available there to visitors), and increasing numbers of battlefield tourists and school parties visit to learn about this "haven in hell".

Chapman has a deep empathy with the house and what Tubby Clayton achieved, and Tubby's unique personality, humility and humour shine through his writing. His careful research makes this account of the house definitive, and highly recommended to anyone planning a visit to Talbot House; ideally one should read this book both before and after a visit to the house. I bought my copy in Talbot House itself for 14.5 Euros, which is fine because it still smells of the house, but copies are rather cheaper on Amazon!
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5.0 out of 5 stars TOCH 1 Dec 2013
By Horsley
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my youth I was, one of many, volunteer Project Leaders for TOCH. I made life long friends. 100 years ago, when opening its doors it provided friendship and a safe haven for servicemen, some of them were my relatives.
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