Sites of the
The Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall is one of Ypres’ grandest buildings. When the Ypres canal was still
navigable, ships could sail through its gate and load and unload cargo. Its 48 doors gave
access from the street to the selling halls. Originally built in 1304, it was completely
destroyed in World War I, as from every vantage point, the Germans could see the spires
of the Cloth Hall, hence, it was regularly used for target practice. The hall and belfry were
rebuilt in their original form between 1928 and 1967.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
Completely destroyed during World War I, St. Martin’s Cathedral was subsequently
reconstructed as a bishop’s church, constructed in the gothic style. It is now open to
visitors, except during services.
St. George’s Memorial Church
This Anglican church was built between 1928 and 1929. Everything in it, including the
furniture, has been donated over the years in order to commemorate units or individuals
who fought in Ypres during World War I.
‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum
This interactive museum provides a series of exhibitions that take visitors through
experiences of both soldiers and civilians during World War I. On admission, the group is
provided with individual ‘personality’ cards that can be used whilst exploring the
museum’s exhibits. The cards represent individuals who lived through the war and are a
great way of giving students an idea of the experiences of those who existed through this
terrible period of history. There are many notable sections of the museum: a night attack
across ‘No Man’s Land’ giving an insight into what soldiers experienced as they went over
the top; a gas attack; and dressing station, to name but a few.
The Menin Gate
The Menin Gate is a ‘Hall of Memory’ – a memorial to the British and Commonwealth
servicemen who lost their lives at Ypres and have no known grave. Over 54,000 names
are carved into Portland stone panels there. The memorial, located on the eastern side of
the town, was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and unveiled in 1927 by Field Marshall
Plumer. It is only a five minute walk from the main square in Ypres and an essential part of
any Battlefield tour of Belgium. Since 1928, each evening at 8pm, a dedicated team of
local buglers has sounded the Last Post. The ceremony is extremely moving and is the
perfect opportunity for any visiting group to pay their respects and lay a wreath to those
who gave their lives.
Hill 60 is at the northern end of the Messines Ridge. Although just 60 metres above sea
level, it was a crucial, strategic vantage point from where the Germans could look down
onto Ypres. It was captured and recaptured several times by the opposing sides. As you
ascend the hill you will be aware of certain remnants of the war, such as the pillbox, mines
and machine gun posts, providing the group with the opportunity to explore.
Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot is the largest British military cemetery in the world with 11,871 graves. It lies at
the top of the Passchendaele ridge. Students find this a very emotive place and it
generates a strong feeling of respect and pride. The cemetery is perfectly maintained and
Top to bottom:
Cemetery; The Cloth
Hall; Hill 62
Ypres, in the region of Flanders, has been an important
historical site throughout the ages. Following the First
Battle of Ypres in the late autumn of 1914, Ypres became
the centre of a bitter struggle. Decimated by the war, its
citizens worked together to rebuild both the city and their
lives. When visiting Ypres, it is hard to appreciate the
devastation of the area at that time, however, the period
photographs shown in many of the museums help to
bring the text to life.
Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate