World War One Photo: Cloth Hall in Ypres

ImageThe scribbled handwriting names this photo ‘the cloth hall in Ypres.’ Haunting as a ghost of itself; reminiscent of Henry the VIII’s destruction of the abbeys- only a few walls remain. The space is a barren land. It would take someone of great imagination to fashion what it would have looked like before the war. How did Belgium handle this violation?

Started in 1200 and considered complete on 1304, the Hall stood as a testament of the life of Gothic splendour: an ancient mall of sorts. Used as a storage house for textiles, on market day the place would have been be alive with industry in its primal sense: the sale of natural resources. The upper floors, harbour the more artistic rooms-frescoes and paintings that idealize the boom time of the hall- some 200 years in the middle ages. Here textile dealers would come to discuss and sell wares, the and profession. It was the life of the city.

The belfry, completed in 1201 was the locale of a strange ceremony in which black cats would be thrown- in the hope of banishing black magic from the town.  This ceremony is still followed- but granted, with stuffed cats.

But war will claim present and past. Germany will march through neutral Belgium in 1914, bringing Britain, and in turn Canada, into the Great War- the First World War.

In 1915, Ypres, and the cloth hall was overwhelmed by a series of attacks, the reason would be discovered later to be distracting the attention of the allies from Germany’s secret preparations of chlorine gas that were put into position for the Canadians and French colonial troops.  This gas would be used at the Second Battle of Ypres.

A rebuilding of the cloth hall started in 1928 and was completed in 1967. It is declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and houses the Flanders Fields Museum.

This entry was posted in historical, historical media, old photographs, primary resource, World War One and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to World War One Photo: Cloth Hall in Ypres

  1. Great photos of the Cloth Hall! It was so badly damaged, it always awes me that the Belgians had the courage to rebuild it.The museum there is wonderful, eerie and sad.

  2. Reblogged this on ww1ha and commented:
    The Cloth Hall in Ypres, then and now.

  3. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative.

    I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

  4. online web marketing says:

    May I simply say what a comfort to uncover an individual who really knows
    what they are talking about on the web. You certainly understand how
    to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side
    of your story. It’s surprising you are not more popular
    because you surely possess the gift.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s