During the Great War, Poperinge was part of ‘unoccupied’ Belgium. Away from the turmoil of battle in the Ypres Salient, the town developed into the nerve centre of the British sector. In the heart of this bustling town, Army chaplains Neville Talbot and Philip ‘Tubby’ Clayton opened a club and named it Talbot House after Gilbert Talbot, Neville’s brother who died on 30th July 1915. Gilbert Talbot became the symbol of a “Golden Generation” of young men who sacrificed their lives in the war.
From December 1915 onwards, and for more than three years, the House provided rest and recreation to all soldiers coming in, regardless of their rank.
Talbot House is currently hosting a temporary exhibition, until 11 December 2022, called Cheerio Darling | An Affair of Letters. Visitors can discover the powerful story of Lt. Geoffrey Boothby and the love of his life Edith through the filming of their love letters. The Brainy One and I were very moved by what we saw and heard, and we had both felt from the very beginning that their love story would not have a happy ending. See more about their love story here.
The garden behind the house is magnificent and visitors are encouraged to linger over a complimentary cuppa and a chat with the duty hosts (who are volunteers and come to look after the museum for two weeks at a time – we were looked after by a retired British couple who were absolutely charming).