Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

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

Weapons discovered in Jubilee Park.

Knives and a hammer were found in an Ipswich park by police officers who are working to tackle drug dealing in one of the town’s most deprived areas.

Watch the new equestrian challenge

There are just days to go until the gates open for the 2016 Suffolk Show, and with an action packed programme set to please visitors, organisers have shared their top 10 new things to enjoy at this year’s show:

A road/rail vehicle used to install new overhead wires at Shenfield in Essex.

If it’s a bank holiday, Network Rail must be closing the main line to London again!

Inspector Julian Ditcham breath testing a motorist.

A drink-driver caught after leaving a Felixstowe pub has been banned from the road.

The A-10 aircraft heads along the A14 from RAF Alconbury to Bentwaters Cold War Museum on the former RAF Bentwaters airfield.

It was once a familiar sight over Suffolk – but the A-10 Thunderbolt II has been seldom seen since the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge closed in 1993.

Photo issued by Essex Police of James Fairweather. Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire

A double murderer who killed two people in less than three months hopes to appeal his jail sentence on the grounds it is “excessive.”

Pupils at Bealings Primary School plant seeds as part of Rocket Science experiment

The impact of microgravity and radiation on the growing of seedlings is being investigated in an experiment which has seen pupils at Bealings Primary School turn to scientists.

Suffolk County Council and Active Norfolk Aviva Women's Tour media ride launched in Southwold on Wednesday 25th May.

Some of the best female cyclists in the world visited Suffolk yesterday as preparations for next month’s Aviva Women’s Tour.

Ipswich Town have signed up for the 'Pigs Gone Wild' event. Lee Hyde (left), Neil Hawes and Rosie Richardson are pictured with the pig.

With a bolt through his neck, a ripped black suit and a green tinge to his skin, Frankenswine looks just like the fictional character that inspired his design.

Chris May's family: Mum Lorraine May and sisters Gemma and Charlene May.

The family of missing Kelvedon man Chris May have asked anyone withholding any information which might help solve his disappearance to call police and help end their “suffering”.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24