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Talbot House


equusv
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Hello Everyone,

I am the Warden of Talbot House again as I was last February. In a quiet month, (I'm the first warden of the year) it is even quieter than last year, perhaps due to the economy and other problems ie. the nasty, snowy English weather not being conducive to traveling down the road, let alone to Flanders.

Still it's a treat to be here again from Canada. I was watching Mastermind last night, (we don't get that in Canada) and a question was, 'What is the name of the WWI site in Flanders from which the charitable society, Toc H originated. And here am I sitting in the very lounge of the answer, sadly not known by the contestant, Talbot House. No matter, it is very cool to be here.

I said a prayer in the chapel this morning, a variation on my daily prayer of gratitude. As you ascend the steep, worn wooden steps up to, as Tubby (Chaplain Tubby Clayton) called it; The Upper Room, the rustic chapel in the attic it says:

"Excelsior once again! A companion ladder this time leading to a loft. Perhaps 100,000 have climbed these stairs before you and before going up the line. Here you are on holier ground than any." Last year they had the brilliant idea of posting various paragraphs of text through out the house, funny or insightful words uttered by Tubby at one time or another.

Upon reading that a lot of thoughts flooded my mind; Gratitude for the sacrifice of those soldiers and, as in going through the Grange Tunnel at Vimy Ridge, the knowledge that so many that passed this way did not return. God bless them. It's wonderful to be in this sanctuary again.

For any of you preparing to see the sites of Flanders, please don't forget Talbot House. It's a little off the beaten paths of the Salient, being in Poperinge and behind the lines, but it was a very important place for soldiers on leave to decompress. Holy ground indeed.

Bonfire

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I hope you have nice stay, each time we are in the area we always drop in to Toc H. My kids love the climbed up stairs & looking round the place.

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Hoping to visit with my group in March but waiting for an reply to my e-mail for booking confirmation.

Wonderful evocative place and the chapel always has a special atmosphere.

regards

John

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Agreed. We had a wonderful stay last year and were made very welcome. The garden is a cool haven in the summer.

And the associated museum and exhibition are well worth mentioning and visiting.

Talbot House deserves our support.

David

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On a rather sadder note. Keith Watson (assisted by his wife Winifred) who has generally been the Warden in August over the last years, died in January. RIP

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I shall be taking a tour group to Talbot House on the 20th Feb, it's the anniversary of my Gt Uncles death at the Bluff in 1915, the group consists of my family!

Nigel, what did Keith look like? I'm pretty sure that I was there in August, the chap that I met was Welsh?

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I would highly recommend a visit to Toc H. Took a group over last year and it was great to see the chapel as well as the museum and gardens. Great Museum display, brings it all home.

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I can't wait for my tour of duty starting the 29th June my, wife is also looking forward to it.

John

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I visited Talbot House for the first time last year. How I had never been before I don't know as it is a wonderful place to visit and we were made most welcome with a fresh pot of tea. The upstairs Chapel is very moving and the garden a real delight. It will certainly be on my places to visit for the future.

Patrick

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I shall be taking a tour group to Talbot House on the 20th Feb, it's the anniversary of my Gt Uncles death at the Bluff in 1915, the group consists of my family!

Nigel, what did Keith look like? I'm pretty sure that I was there in August, the chap that I met was Welsh?

Keith was a slim, bespectacled Yorkshireman from up near Huddersfield. Winifred is a master of cooking delicious flap jacks and the like; utterly memorable!

Cheers,

Nigel

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Made my first visit to Talbot house last spring, a wonderful place,Friendly wardens and a very memorable experience,

Photo of the garden taken early april 2008.

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What does being a warden at Talbot House involve, can anyone do it or is it related to Toc H volunteers?

Ken

Ken, anyone can apply. You have to welcome guests that come through, schmooze about the history if they're interested and offer them a cup of tea and check in people that are staying in the house. It's fun and you meet lots of nice people from many places. The full time staff are great too.

Bonfire

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Bonfire - thanks for the reminder. Yes, an historic and a pastoral visit to be had at Talbot House. My father and I popped in some years ago when we were touring around the Ypres Salient battlefields. He had been a Toc H volunteer back home over the years, so it was on our list.

It is a peaceful location, and quite restful in the garden.

Here's hoping for many more visitors to come.

Ian

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Hi Bonfire

What is the status of Toc H vis-a-vis Talbot House these days?

I ask not only as a Talbot House visitor but as a former member of Toc H Manchester 1st XV (now Didsbury RFC) (that's Rugby Football Club, not Royal Flying Corps :rolleyes: )

Is Toc H still extant as an organisation?

Kind regards

David

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Hi Bonfire

What is the status of Toc H vis-a-vis Talbot House these days?

I ask not only as a Talbot House visitor but as a former member of Toc H Manchester 1st XV (now Didsbury RFC) (that's Rugby Football Club, not Royal Flying Corps :rolleyes: )

Is Toc H still extant as an organisation?

Kind regards

David

Hello David,

When I first came to Talbot House I only knew it as Toc H and only the one place in Flanders that was so important to so many in WWI. I was suprised to learn of the international Toc H movement. It was/is quite a broad and diverse group of community-based, autonomous organizations under the Toc H umbrella in many different countries; India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa etc. They historically would take on building projects and other projects that needed assistance in the various communities. Unfortunately I undertstand they are in trouble at this moment like other organizations in this economic climate. They have several properties and there is talk of selling some of them off to cover debts and then restructuring. I have to admit that I don't know that much about the modern Toc H organization but this is what I've been able to glean here in the house.

Are there any Toc H members out there who can enlighten us further about the current state of affairs? We'd appreciate that.

Bonfire/Susan

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Moonbrand

Hi All

Firstly I have attached a photo from a 'family meal' at Talbot House in September 2007. Keith Watson is the nearest to the camera on the left. We were there for the Friends of Talbot House Garden Party and this lovely meal was provided by Marc and Frida Sansen from the bakery/chocolate shop opposite TH. They are the couple nearest the camera on the right.

I saw Keith again last July and had no idea he was ill so was shattered to hear about his death earlier this year. He and Winifred have been wardens many times when I have taken groups out. Unfortunately, I have lost many Toc H friends in recent years and this is the problem with the organisation – it has not managed to attract many younger members in recent years. At 45 I am one of a small handful of members under 60.

Toc H has undergone a dramatic decline and some serious financial problems in the past five years. Last Summer all paid staff were laid off and it is now a purely voluntary organisation again. I am part of a working party meeting in June to look at how Toc H will continue its work in the future. You can help our cause simply by posting a message of support here or by contacting me personally. I am also working on the history of the organisation so if you have any stories to share I would love to hear them.

Talbot House is operated separately from Toc H (By the Talbot House Association) so there is no risk of it being affected by the troubles at Toc H. Nonetheless it needs your support too and you can help by joining the Friends of Talbot House. (£10 per year) Please contact Mrs Jean Whiteman if you are interested in joining.

Mrs Jean Whiteman

16 Heatherways

Tarporley

Cheshire

CW6 0HP

My partner Hazel and I have just got back from a fortnight at the house. I have been going since 1988 and must have made about 25 trips but I never tire of it. If you are in the area I highly recommend a visit (Closed Mondays)

post-46633-1243260093.jpg

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As far as I can tell, Toc H has effectively ceased to exist as a charitable organisation. I have been a member (albeit a passive one) for several years, and recent communications seem to imply that the organisation is moribund. Perhaps another Pal can fill in the details. All very sad. When did Toc H and Talbot House become separate entities?

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Guest Moonbrand

Toc H and Talbot House were always separate organisations in that a British organisation was not allowed to own Belgian property so a separate Anglo/Belgian entity was established to own the house when Lord Wakefield purchased it in 1929. Of course, the ties between the two organisations were always strong and everyone spoke of TH (and the Pool of Peace) as being owned by Toc H although legally there was a distinction.

For many years the wardens of Talbot House were from Toc H but in the past 10 years there have been fewer Toc H members available for the duty so others have taken the role.

However, despite the problems the UK charity is facing, the links remain strong and Poperinge has a large and active Toc H branch. I can assure you that Toc H still exists as a charity in the UK and some of us are working very hard to keep it alive

I hope this clarifies the situation a little bit

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