Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Sudbury: Belle Vue House history revealed through wartime autograph book

14:48 29 April 2014

The visitors book from the former Belle Vue Hospital which forms part of the Sudbury Ephemera Archive. Penny Power (left) and Sue Tibbetts with the book outside Belle Vue House.

The visitors book from the former Belle Vue Hospital which forms part of the Sudbury Ephemera Archive. Penny Power (left) and Sue Tibbetts with the book outside Belle Vue House.

Archant

Since a group of keen amateur historians in Sudbury put out a plea for ‘ephemera’ to create an archive for the town a year ago, they have had some interesting finds.

shares

These range from old posters, postcards and cinema tickets to menus and paper bags, which all tell a story about Sudbury’s social history and what life in the town was like for previous generations.

But now the members of the Sudbury Ephemera Archive (SEA) have just stumbled upon their most fascinating piece to date, which has also shed light on the former use of one of the town’s most prominent buildings.

They have been given an ‘autograph’ book signed by First World War veterans who were convalescing in Belle Vue House when it was a Red Cross hospital between 1914 and 1918.

SEA chaiman Sue Tibbetts said: “This book is by far the most precious item we have been handed, both because of its age, what it contains and what it tells us about the history of Belle Vue. The hospital archive in Bury didn’t even realise there was a Red Cross hospital in Sudbury.”

Local historian Valerie Herbert secured the book for the group, which had been kept by the family of Sudbury woman Janet Smith, who was a member of the Red Cross and a nurse at the Belle Vue hospital.

The group’s secretary Penny Powers has gone through the book and listed all of the names she can decipher along with their regiments.

She said: “It gives us an insight into the conditions patients were recovering from when they returned from the war, such as frostbite, gunshot wounds and shellshock.

“There is an interesting entry from an ‘H Whiting’ who was in the army cycling corps as part of the Gas Pipe Cavalry – he was invalided home. The most stunning feature is the beautiful artwork and poetry.”

The book will be part of a First World War display in the town later this year.

Mrs Tibbetts added: “Most of what is written in the book is dedicated to a nurse Madge Sewell – we don’t know anything about her and would be fascinated to find out more. We would love to hear from anyone who has heard about this hospital or has stories about it.”

Call Sue on 07846 885909.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The female driver of the car was not injured but shaken.

A lorry reportedly failed to stop after colliding with a car on the A14 near the Wherstead turnoff.

From left to right: Moira Ely, Leah Fuller and Colin Ely presenting the cheque for £2,000 to St Elizabeth Hospice after Colin's bungee jump in July

An Ipswich landlady has vowed to follow in the footsteps of her extraordinary dad – and tackle a charity bungee jump for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Spooky costumes on the beach at Felixstowe to launch the Halloween walk for EACH

A charity walk will light up Felixstowe’s promenade with its Halloween theme when it takes place next month.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the burglary of the social club of a business premises in Ipswich.

Allison Heathcote and son James Heathcote at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where she was treated after being shot five times in the Tunisia terror attacks.

A Felixstowe woman who was fighting for her life after the Tunisia beach attack in which her husband was killed has said she can only “vaguely recall” the massacre.

Cars for sale at the roadside

Trading Standards experts have revealed the top 10 most frequent consumer complaints.

Mars

A physicist who worked on a high-resolution camera that sent images back from Mars has turned his hand to writing.

Fire crews were called to Fraser House in Museum Street, Ipswich after a suspected gas leak was reported

A road in Ipswich has been reopened after a suspected gas leak forced the evacuation of a three storey building this morning.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the burglary of a disused business premises in Ipswich.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages