Recreation Hut - Ipswich Labour Club Function Room
Ipswich Labour Club had permission to rebuild their old function room. Close inspection before it was demolished revealed a pair of 60’ x 18’ huts that the Army had joined together at Colchester in 1918 to make one large Recreation Hut, complete with a stage at one end. In 1936 the Labour Club had bought it from the Army who dismantled it, transported it to Ipswich and re-erected it. We were given permission to rescue the hut and surveyed it, stripped the interior, numbered the sections and then dismantled it in June and July 2014. As it is a late war hut the whole building was made in 6’ sections, bolted together, including the roof. There was quite a bit of damage where holes had been made in one end to fit a bar and entrance, and a roof leak dating back to the 1970s meant that a drain pipe ran down the inside of the building into a water butt which was emptied regularly! Having said that, the main structure was extremely sound and the restored building retains almost 80% of its original Great War timber.
It has now been completely restored, except for the wooden floor, and repainted in MOD colours as it would have been in 1918. A gentleman who had done National Service in the Royal Engineers in the 1950s visited the hut recently. It was very gratifying to hear him exclaim “ My goodness, a mess hall!”, when he entered the hut.