Thu, 03 August, 2023
While today’s Abington Hall and the surrounding area is associated with being the headquarters of TWI and The Welding Institute, it had a very different role during the Second World War.
The British Welding Research Association (BWRA), a forerunner to today’s TWI Ltd, bought the Hall and surrounding grounds for £3850 in 1946 but, just before this, the area was used by the military who stationed different troops there.
Both British and overseas troops passed through the area on their way to campaigns in Belgium and The Middle East as well as in preparation for the D Day landings in 1944.
As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of The Welding Institute, we have delved into this period of history to find out more about who was stationed at Abington Hall and a little bit about how their presence impacted the local people.
Along with regiments such as the London Irish Rifles and the Lothian Border Tanks Regiment, there were those from other battalions including the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers as well as soldiers from Canada, Belgium, Poland and the United States all present at Abington. The area also housed Italian prisoners of war, who were put to work in the village and at the nearby Grange Farm. In addition, the area included a local Home Guard group, while the local community also felt the impact of the war, including bombs being dropped in the area.
Although the site was cleared of much of the military presence in 1946, some signs remained, including an army hut that became the BWRA’s first fatigue laboratory.
You can find out more about the interesting history of Abington Hall just prior to becoming what is now the headquarters of TWI and The Welding Institute in this article on The Welding Institute website.