Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 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.

shares

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.

shares

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 East Anglian Daily Times 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 East Anglian Daily Times 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 East Anglian Daily Times 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

Fire crews are at the scene

The body of a man has been found at a house in fire in Lowestoft.

Dee Culley had help from her 10 year-old daughter Trinity, who had watched a birthing programme on tv, when she unexpectedly had her waters break and gave birth to Jasmin on March 31.

A nine-year-old girl helped her mum deliver her baby sister after watching TV programme One Born Every Minute.

Fire fighters tackling cottage blaze. Libray image.

A total of 35 firefighters have put out a thatched cottage blaze in Thorndon.

Colchester market manager Emma Powell, Town Crier Robert Needham, Cllr Anne Turrell, Mayor John Elliott, Mayoress Janet Elliott, Roman Centurion David Carter and President of the National Market Traders Federation visited stall holders at the launch of Colchester's new market on Saturday, 18 April.

Colchester’s new Charter Market was officially launched yesterday with a day of celebration.

Woman arrested over Leiston stabbings

A 27-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the stabbing of two men in Leiston yesterday.

Solar farm. Library image.

A proposed solar park in Wix has been tipped for approval by council planning officers.

Car crash. Library image.

Firefighters were called to a crash in Orchard Lane, Pakenham, last night.

David Carr, 43, and Marie Williams, 40, who both work for Greene King in Bury St Edmunds

Two brewery employees from Bury St Edmunds are taking on the London Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Trudi Nicholls of Fork Rent

With almost 30 years’ business experience in Suffolk, Trudi Nicholls comes across as a strong, confident businesswoman.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages