Plugstreet 14-18 Experience

 Visited by BMW Club Oxford Section during Ypres trip

Author Catherine Moxey

A relatively new museum has been created in Ploegsteert: the ‘Plugstreet 14-18 Experience‘, taking the spelling from the name given to the nearby village by soldiers in the Great War. We visited the museum for the first time and also the Royal Berkshire Cemetery Extension, located nearby.

Parked up ready to visit the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience

The museum is tucked away in the woods, being mostly underground, with a glass pyramid above the entrance to provide some light.   ‘Plugstreet’ is more an Interpretation Centre than a museum, and makes good use of available photographs of the time, some from private collections, in its interactive displays. The very helpful lady at reception gave us a quick tour of the museum, to explain how to get the most from the experience, which begins with an introductory film.

Entrance to the underground Plugstreet 14-18 Experience

Much of the display is in the form of large touch screens, which allows visitors to explore the rich collection of information and pictures for themselves, and learn about the lives of soldiers and civilians in the Comines-Warneton and Plugstreet areas. There is a 3-D map of the Western Front and information about the battle of Messines Ridge, where the Allies mined and exploded very large charges. Some of the artefacts on display include a cut-away model of the catacombs that were built inside the hill at the point known as ‘Hyde Park Corner’, and a collection of green glass soda bottles.

A model of soldiers from New Zealand in the Catacombs

After leaving the interpretation centre we had coffees at a nice little cafe opposite the cemetery. The cemetery features the circular white stone ‘Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing’, guarded by two stone lions.   We looked again at the name of Steve’s great-grandfather, carved high up on the inside of the memorial, and read his entry in the memorial register.

The Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing

Ploegsteert is about 8 miles to the South of Ypres, close to the French border. The whole area around the village is lovely, and makes for a fascinating visit.

Café opposite the Berkshire Cemetery Extension

 

 

Originally posted 2017-07-06 21:41:24.

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