Hut Rescue

by tracey.mackenzie in Hawstead

We did it
On 17th September 2015 we successfully raised £4,345 with 60 supporters in 31 days

Great War Huts is a heritage project to restore and rebuild Wooden Army Barrack Huts; important British survivors of the First World War.

by tracey.mackenzie in Hawstead

Update

9.9.2015

It's a busy week!

We are all getting the site ready to welcome visitors on Friday and Saturday for free tours under the heritage Open Day scheme.  This will be a great opportunity for people to see the site in its early stages, with a walk down to the woods where our trenches will be, and the site pegged out for the huts we arlready have, and those we still have to find.

We are displaying some of the museum pieces that will be exhibited in the completed huts, and serving refreshments, including Pip's famous Victoria Sponge cake. So if you are anywhere near Bury St Edmunds book in on 01284 388986 to come and see what we are up to.  You can see first hand how your donation will be spent!

If you are not able to come you can still help us by pledging any amount from £5.00 over on the right of the page. Just click for a raffle ticket and you can change the amount if you want to - that's if none of the other rewards tempt you!  Many thanks for your support!!

24.8.2015

The project got off to a fantastic start with some great donations. It has slowed down as all crowdfunding projects do so we are about to start our second push! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far - we now have nearly enough money to lay the concrete base! 

Our Hut Rescue film has proved very popular and we have received some great feedback (Here is a still from the film). 

Project aim

This Great War Huts crowdfunding campaign is part of a larger heritage project to restore and rebuild a number Wooden Army Barrack Huts; all important British survivors of the First World War. This campaign is to fund the restoration of one particular hut, originally part of the huge Brocton Camp in Staffordshire.

About us

Our sister company, Khaki Devil Limited, has been providing historically accurate 20th Century military uniforms, equipment and props since 2001 and our attention to detail and accuracy have made us the first port of call for many top theatrical designers and film and television companies. Public interest in our First World War trench filming location, near Ipswich, and the productions we’ve been involved in, such as Downton Abbey and the Sainsburys Christmas Truce advert, made us realise that we should open a visitor’s centre telling the story of the Great War using our historical knowledge and experience of trench building, not to mention the thousands of artefacts we have. After a four year search we found the perfect location, bought the site and gained planning permission. The permission allowed us to build 11 replica wooden army huts to house the displays and exhibits.

Then we came across an original one…

History

In 1914 the British Army could accommodate 174,000 simgle men in Barracks. The outbreak of war, and the successful recruiting campaign which followed, saw unprecedented numbers of men joining the Army. Accommodation was a huge problem.

In late 1914 plans were drawn up to build hutted camps across the country to accommodate 850,000 men. It was the largest building project of its kind ever undertaken in Great Britain. By the end of the war over a million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen - and Servicewomen - could be accommodated in wooden huts. It was an incredible achievement.

After the war most of the huts were sold off and put to good use as village halls, community centres, ex-servicemens' clubs, chapels, workshops and homes. A century later, very few of them survive, and soon huts that were a common sight in most towns and villages will have disappeared through decay and development. In a few years' time this fascinating aspect of 20th century life could be lost forever. This makes our Great War Huts project very timely.

The story so far

Just after gaining planning permission to build the First World War Visitor's Centre, complete with eleven replica huts, we came across an original Recreation Hut in the centre of Ipswich that was due for demolition; ironically during the centenary year of the outbreak of The Great War. We were given permission to save the building and have now restored it and almost completely rebuilt it at our visitor's centre site near Bury St Edmunds. The publicity surrounding the saving of the hut led to us being offered another five, all in imminent danger of destruction.

We were able to record and safely remove four of the huts but didn’t have the time, or manpower, to save the former Rifle Range at RAF Uxbridge, which had been part of the Royal Flying Corps aerodrome before the RAF was formed in 1918. It has now been flattened as part of a new housing estate, so another important piece of our Great War history has been lost.

We have four more huts in the pipeline, which we are hoping to get back to Brook Farm to restore over the winter. The decision to save and restore original huts, rather than new buildings, has delayed the opening of the visitor’s centre back by two years, but we feel passionately that someone, somewhere needs to save this fascinating part of our history. A handful of individual huts have been saved around the country, but they need to be regularly used and maintained to safeguard their future and our centre is the ideal place to set them in context and do just that.

Brocton Camp Hut

The next hut we saved originally came from Brocton Camp, on Cannock Chase, in Staffordshire. After the war the camp buildings were sold off and the hut was moved to the village of Brocton where it was a family home, named 'Avondale' until quite recently. The owners appreciated the historical significance of the building and had looked for someone to preserve it but to no avail.

They were very pleased when we asked if we could take it away! We dismantled the hut with help of local volunteer, Richard Cartwright, and transported it to Suffolk in November 2014. We are now very keen to get started on restoring it.

Money

The budget we had for new replica huts has already been spent on recording and dismantling the original huts we have saved so far, and rebuilding the first hut which has given us the experience and skills we need to complete the rest of the project. We have looked into charity status and grants but are not eligible as the First World War Visitor Centre will be a business. We estimate that the Brocton Camp Hut will cost another £12,500 to restore and rebuild and that’s where the crowd comes in! Not only will your donations enable us to continue, but endorsing us by sharing the campaign with everyone you know will help to support and validate our project. 

What will the money be used for on the Brocton Hut restoration?

£ 2,500 will pay for the concrete base

£ 1,800 for the felt and iron for the roof

£ 2,000 to make and repair and reglaze the windows

£ 2,500 to restore the wooden side panels

£ 1,000 to restore/replace the roof timbers and trusses

£ 1,050 to rebuild the end wall panels and fit original doors

£    400 for lighting and electrics

£    500 for paint and sundries

£    750 Crowdfunder.co.uk commission

Rewards

We hope you agree this is project is worthwhile, and would like to support us by contributing towards the restoration of the Brocton Camp Hut.

We are sure that the ‘feel-good’ factor you’ll get from helping is worth every pound you donate, but we’ve got a great list of rewards over on the right, to suit every pocket; from five pounds in memory of a relation who served, up to a unique corporate day out for your business, every donation is really important to us.

Volunteers

As you can imagine, this project needs a great deal of manpower (and womenpower). There are plenty of wall panels to restore, trusses to rub down, finished sections to paint, along with all the groundworks around the site. We are looking for Volunteers who would like to use their skills, their enthusiasm and their time, to help bring this great project to fruition. If you would like to help we would be very pleased to hear from you. Contact us at:   admin@greatwarhuts.org

Please help us save this significant piece of First World War British heritage (and thank you for reading this right to the end!).

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

or any other amount you would like to contribute to make this hut a reality... If rewards don't interest you, but the project does then this is the pledge for you! We would like to add you to our donor's book, let us know if we may, and thank you so very much for your generosity.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

A raffle ticket for our prize draw limited to this particular appeal. Prizes: A visit to our First World War Visitor's Centre site while we are building it, including a pub lunch with us (available during 2016 - travel not included); a Great War Huts T-Shirt; A reproduction Great War British Soldiers' Jacket and Trousers; A Great War Huts Tea Towel and Apron, featuring the Brocton Hut. (Winners to pay for postage if prizes need to be sent overseas).

£15 or more

£15 Reward

A specially commissioned Great War Huts Tea Towel, featuring the Brocton Camp Hut. (Overseas postage charged at cost) Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£15 or more

£15 Reward

A specially commissioned Great War Huts Apron, featuring the Brocton Camp Hut. These will make a great companion to the Tea Towels! (overseas postage charged at cost) Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Exclusive Great War Huts T-Shirt, featuring the Brocton Camp Hut. (overseas postage charged at cost) Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

A Bird Box made by chief Hut Restorer, Kev Smith, from original First World War Hut timber, salvaged during the restoration process. (Overseas postage charged at cost) Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

A Mounted Print of an illustration of our Brocton Camp Hut, commissioned specifically for this crowdfunding campaign, and illustrated by the brilliant Tim Fox-Godden - http://illustratingthegreatwar.co.uk Ideal for a gift or for an overseas Donor. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£50 or more

2 of 100 claimed

£50 Reward

1 Entry ticket for 4 to our First World War Visitor's Centre, with a £20.00 café voucher. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Portrait photograph of you alone, or with a friend, in Great War British uniform. This can be taken at Brook Farm in Suffolk during 2015, or when visitor’s centre opens. If you would like to wear a representation of the uniform of a relation who served, we will try and match the uniform, subject to size and availability of the correct insignia. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£150 or more

2 of 16 claimed

£150 Reward

Great War Trench Experience: Spend the night dressed, and equipped, as a First World War soldier (uniform supplied) at the Khaki Devil film location trenches near Ipswich. Period grub included. Ages 16-60 We need a minimum of 10 people to run this reward. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£500 or more

2 of 10 claimed

£500 Reward

Annual family ticket, Invitation for 2 to our exclusive First World War Visitor Centre pre-launch event. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£1,000 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£1,000 Reward

Life-time family ticket for the visitor's centre Invitation for 2 to our exclusive First World War Visitor's Centre pre-launch event. Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£2,500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£2,500 Reward

Exclusive use of visitor’s centre for 1 day for up to 100 guests (this may be subject to our planning constraints so talk to us about how you would like to spend your day). Your name will be added to our Donor Book.

£5,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£5,000 Reward

Life-time family ticket, Exclusive use of visitor’s centre for 1 day for up to 100 guests (this may be subject to our planning constraints so talk to us about how you would like to spend your day). Invitation for you +1 to our exclusive First World War Vistor's Centre pre-launch event. Invitation for you +1 at the opening ceremony. Donor Patron Plaque.

£10,000 or more

£10,000 Reward

A unique Great War themed corporate event for your company. Talk to us about how we can tailor an unforgettable day for your clients or staff. Donor Patron Plaque.

£10,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£10,000 Reward

Life-time family ticket, Private Tour and lunch with us, for up to 20 guests, after dinner talk by Taff Gillingham. Patron Plaque or dedication of entire hut in Donor Book Guest of honour at opening ceremony (ticket for 2) Original Tim Fox-Godden commemoration artwork Dedicate the hut in the to the memory of a loved one or yourself, or why not club together with a group to sponsor a hut?

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