Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 15°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.

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.

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

A couple have taken some unusual selfies with the Pigs Gone Wild, posing up snaps with Lego figures

Newlyweds Sarah and Mike Richards have taken some unusual selfies with the Pigs Gone Wild – using a pair of Lego minifigures that topped their wedding cake.

David Cocks, executive chairman of Anglian Radio.

Suffolk local radio pioneer David Cocks has died suddenly.

67-year-old Danny Drive will be taking part in Suffolk Historic Church Bike Ride on his 1949 Raleigh cycle.

When he takes to the roads in a charity bike ride next month, cyclist Danny Driver is expecting to stand out amongst the sea of high tech bicycles and Lycra.

Police at the scene near the River Stour in Sudbury.

The body of an older man has been recovered from the River Stour in Sudbury.

Tom Lawrence

With the end of the emergency loan windows it looks as though football clubs up and down Britain will be in for a busier-than-usual transfer deadline day.

Jaki Vallance is recovering at home after being knocked off her bike in Ipswich.

An Ipswich cyclist who was left with a broken back after being involved in an accident with a car is calling for improvements to be made to the town’s cycling network after the incident left her with a ‘lack of confidence in cycling again’.

New National Heritage Centre in Newmarket

To mark 350 years since the historic return of King Charles II to Newmarket, the town will open its new National Heritage Centre for Horeseracing and Sporting Art on September 19.

Ed Sheeran during a previous visit to Camp Bastion

Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran surprised guests at wedding when he took to the stage to perform a 30-minute set.

The Claydon High School class of 1982 reunion, with former headteacher Geoffrey Chapman in the middle.

A reunion for former pupils of Claydon High School has been deemed a “resounding success”.

Bumper summer for Suffolk businesses feature. Bury St Edmunds.

Long hot days and a lack of rain has led to some of the region’s businesses experiencing some of their best summers on record.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24