Aldershot Military Museum celebrates evolution of wartime village Enham Alamein

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 January 2013
A black and white photo of a man standing up in front of a large group sitting down outside
Lunch Break (1935)

Exhibition preview: The History of Enham Alamein, Aldershot Military Museum, Aldershot, until March 22 2013

One 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.

A cut-out of a newspaper from the 1940s showing various men working in a village
Village Settlements Pictorial (November 1931)
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).

More pictures:

A black and white photo of a royal woman and military personnel outdoors in 1922
Royal Visit (May 1922)© Courtesy Mr F Betts
A black and white photo of people woking inside a large factory during the 1970s
Workshop (1974)
A black and white photo of two women working on stitching a dress inside a factory
Parachute
A black and white photo of suited people sitting down watching a man give a speech
Prince of Wales (June 1926)© Courtesy Topical Press Agency Ltd
A black and white photo of a man meeting a royal woman as she opens part of a centre
HRH Princess Royal (October 1950)
A black and white photo of men standing next to an industrial van during the 1950s
Enham Industries lorry (1936)© Howard Photographer
A black and white photo of men in suits and military clothes looking at a miniature map
Viscount Montgomery (March 1948)
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