Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 16°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Suffolk: First World War hut saved for posterity

06:00 03 May 2014

Taff Gillingham in the WW1 hut at Ipswich Labour Club.

Taff Gillingham in the WW1 hut at Ipswich Labour Club.

Archant

To generations of members of the Ipswich Labour Club it is the club room used for functions and rehearsals.

But when military historian Taff Gillingham visited the wooden extension to the club in Silent Street he knew exactly what it was – a genuine First World War barracks hut.

And it was facing demolition before a new clubroom is built.

Now Mr Gillingham and his band of Khaki Devils are set to dismantle the hut (or more accurately huts) to form the centrepiece of a new First World War experience they are creating at Hawstead near Bury St Edmunds.

His team is creating a series of First World War trenches and will have 11 replica huts at the site to tell the story of the conflict and show visitors what life was like for the soldiers.

However having a genuine building from the era on site will be a major attraction.

Mr Gillingham said: “We’d been looking for a genuine building to recreate there and I heard saw in an Ipswich Society newsletter that the Labour Club was building a new extension and starting by demolishing a wooden building on their site.

“I came here to look at it and couldn’t believe what was here – it was just what we wanted!”

He contacted the club, and officials who were planning to demolish the building were happy to allow the team to dismantle it.

Work is likely to start next month – Mr Gillingham hopes the Hawstead centre will be ready to open by early next summer.

During the First World War huts were built to a standard design, but were often built alongside another to make a building twice the size – that is a feature of the Ipswich building.

It was originally built at a barracks in Colchester somewhere between 1915 and 1918 and used by troops during their basic training before being sent to the front line.

Its exact use at that time is not known – it could have been a dormitory or it could have been used as a hall for other activities.

What is known is that the building was re-erected at the club in 1938 after it was not needed by the army. Over the last 76 years it has been at the heart of social events at the club – from bingo nights to Sunday afternoon performances by variety stars.

Its condition is surprisingly good, said Mr Gillingham: “It has been repaired, but much of the original is still here and actually if you look at it, it’s not too bad at all – there is no sign of damp or rot.

“One of our group knows how to dismantle and re-build things like this. That’s a great benefit for us. We’ll have 11 replica buildings but it’s not the same as having a genuine First World War building.”

Labour Club Secretary Barry Fulcher said, “We are delighted that these huts are going to be saved.

“They have been an important part of Ipswich Labour Club since 1938 and many, many people have enjoyed taking part in meetings, parties and events here.”

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 new-look Cornhill could include a water feature. Will it also include wifi?

A woman used a pair of novelty Christmas slippers to set her ex-boyfriend’s front door alight after he rebuffed her attempt to rekindle their relationship, a court heard.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters have extinguished a car fire on the A14.

The Ipswich Foyer in Star Lane.

Thousands of people have signed a petition in protest against the proposed closure of a supported housing scheme in Ipswich.

The Buttermarket complex is being transformed and will house a gym, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema - Janice Poulson

The Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich is currently being converted to include a 12-screen cinema and chain restaurants including Wagamama, writes David Kindred.

The A12 as it approaches the Copdock roundabout.

Drivers experienced long delays after three cars crashed on the A12 northbound near the Copdock roundabout this evening.

The fire in Landseer Park

Community figures in Ipswich have been left aghast after two fires were started deliberately in just a handful of hours yesterday afternoon.

Ipswich Crown Court

Staff at an Ipswich post office and bookmakers were threatened with a knife and what they feared was a gun during a spate of robberies in the town, it has been alleged.

Bakery seeks baker and confectioner

Looking for a new job? Vacancies for swimming teachers, confectioners and apprentice business administrators are being advertised via Jobs24 - see more here.

The A12 southbound.

Thousands of jumpers – 5,000 in total – were stolen from a lorry parked on the A12 earlier this month, police have said.

Stansted Airport

A drone came within 25 metres of a plane landing at Stansted Airport and posed a “serious risk of collision” while two planes had a near miss, reports have revealed.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24