The Western Front Today - Ypres Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall formed the heart of Ypres during the war, and remains so today.  Begun around 1200 and extended through the following centuries, the Cloth Hall was designed the town's Corporation of Drapers to signify the success of their trade.

By 1914 the population of Ypres stood at 17,500. However both Ypres and its Cloth Hall were razed to the ground as a result of German shelling throughout the extent of the war.

Aside from a brief period in October 1914 Ypres never fell into German hands but suffered a heavy toll during its defence, some 250,000 allied soldiers dying from 1914-18.

At the close of the war Winston Churchill recommended that Ypres remain unreconstructed as an enduring monument to the sacrifice of the British forces.

However the local townspeople were determined to rebuild and resume their lives in their former homes, and work began soon after the end of the war.

Originally the destroyed Cloth Hall was not going to be rebuilt but after a change of heart was meticulously reconstructed to the original medieval designs, although the building was not completed until 1962.

Today the Cloth Hall houses the impressive museum 'In Flanders Fields', and is also a tourist office.

Film Footage of Ypres Cloth Hall

Before Endeavours Fade, Rose E.B. Coombs, After the Battle 1994
Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide - Somme, Leo Cooper 2000

A "Bangalore Torpedo" was an explosive tube used to clear a path through a wire entanglement.

- Did you know?