Exhibition preview: The History of Enham Alamein, Aldershot Military Museum, Aldershot, until March 22 2013One corner of a Hampshire village has a little-known Egyptian connection. Having opened as a rehabilitation centre for disabled World War I service personnel, Enham was renamed Enham-Alamein in recognition of a gift from the Egyptian people in gratitude for the Allied victory at the Battle of El Alamein, a three-week campaign which was considered a turning point in World War II.
Some of the artefacts from North Africa are on display in this interactive exhibition, but it’s also reflective of Enham’s evolution into the wide-ranging disability charity it is today, helping people rebuild their lives and find new homes and employment.
The original idea, in 1918, was to help personnel earn a wage and provide for their dependents, with 50 men bringing a population of 150 people to the locality just outside the market town of Andover.
They excelled at horticulture, forestry, electrical fitting and an impressive list of other crafts during the 1920s. King George V, who had personally donated £100 to the village, paid an early visit alongside Queen Mary and the Duke of York in 1922.
The Prince of Wales opened focal point the Landale Wilson Institute in 1926, and the history books recount the “curious irony” of the increased industrial demand Enham received during World War II, turning the workshops into self-supporting businesses.
The Egyptian gift of £225,000 – more than £6 million today – allowed a new village to be created, guarded by three wrought-iron gates in front of a 50-bedroom care home built during the expansion works of the decade which followed.
And more than 50 years on – having significantly increased the size of the living facilities, received a visit from the Egyptian Ambassador and entered the record books for the completion of the world’s tallest candle at the on-site candle factory – Enham continues to thrive ahead of the centenary of its foundation.
- Open 10am-5pm (11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday). Admission £3.20/£2.10 (free for under-5s, family ticket £8.40).
© Courtesy Mr F Betts
© Courtesy Topical Press Agency Ltd
© Howard Photographer