Saturday, 29 August 2009

Imber the derelict village on Salisbury Plain

I went to Imber today on Salisbury Plain as the church was open and I wanted in particular to see the rare mediaeval wall paintings. They were hidden behind scaffolding as the church is being restored. Imber in the 1930's was a village totally owned by the War Department, except the property of the churches and the pub, and the surrounding vast area used for military exercises which co-existed with farming. In 1943 the village was evacuated at 47 days notice to allow street fighting exercises and it has remained uninhabited ever since. In 1961 an unsuccessful campaign was launched to try and prevent the permanent closure of the roads and to get the village restored. (As a child I went on a 25 mile car demonstration on the subject.) As a concession the Army allows access to the village at certain times of the year. The photos show the old manor house, Imber Court and the church behind a fence - the Out of Bounds sign is an order to the army.

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