Friday, April 9, 2010

100 year old Photos #2 - Belgium/France/Ypres

These photos have come from the album of Ethel James. I believe these photos has been taken by her sometimes after 1910.

In this group only two photos have been identified - if you are able to shed any further light on any locations - it would truly be appreciated.

The photo below is a picture of the Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery, in the village of Montreuil-aux-Lions in France. The cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Aisne.

The photo below has finally been identified. There were many ruins in and around Ypres, in fact, the entire township was almost levelled, during 3 battles in WWI.

This photo, although I suspected, has now been confirmed as the Ypres Church, Ypres Cathedral, The Cloth Hall, Grote Markt, Lakenhal or Lakenhalle. This building has many names.

The original building was erected in 1200 and completed in 1304. It was the market and warehouse for the cloth industry. You can read more about the Ypres Cloth Hall here and here including about the rebuilding, which was a meticulous reconstruction that took 24 years. The building is now the home of the Flanders Fields Museum.

Identification was made possible to the thanks of National Education Network and Clive Bailey. The angles of these photos, clearly show the building on the left of the 1920's photo, with the exacting brickwork, balcony and window formation.

I'm not sure when this photo was taken, but it was clearly before the hoarding went up, it shows the total devastation and destruction of The Cloth Hall which today now houses those memories.

The IJzertoren (Yser Tower) is a memorial along the Belgian Yser river in Diksmuide. There have been two IJzertorens, the first built after the First World War by an organisation of former Flemish soldiers. On the night of 15 and 16 March 1946 it was illegally demolished with dynamite; the perpetrators were never caught, though there are strong indications of involvement of the Belgian military and anti-Flemish, French-speaking radicalists. Several years later, a new and higher tower was built on the same place. With the remains of the old tower, the Paxpoort or Pax-gate (Gate of Peace) was built. ( - extract from Wikipedia)


  1. Oh just realised I missed this post- cause I was so excited about the Paris pictures....LOL.
    These are great too! I love the quality of these old photographs.
    I really like shot number 4 in this set.

  2. Thanks for the comment - I like Number 3 - it shows ruins in the background (So I assume after the war) but then if you blow the shot up, you can see the policeman and look to the left and you can actually see the bicycle and the fact that it is moving.
    Just stunning for the age of the photos, I can't believe the lens was able to catch it so perfectly!

    Thanks for the comments - there are many more photos to come!

  3. Number 3 - I would have to think is also somewhere in Ypres - Given that its development is the same sepia hue.

    I've noticed that different developers have created different hues. so this browner sepia seems to be the Ypres area - so I would have to assume the same area.

    I wonder when the last time that building was occupied. Would appear many years before the war, the grass is quite dense on the roof