The original ‘TOC H’ was a house in Poperinge, Belgium. It's address is:
The house was opened at the end of 1915 by Rev. Philip `Tubby' Clayton, an army chaplain, as a homely club for
the troops passing to and from the battle lines of the Ypres Salient. It became known by its initials T.H., which were ‘TOC H’ in the signallers language of the day. At the back a former hop store was converted into a Concert Hall for recreational purposes.
TOC H - Talbot House, Gasthuisstraat 43, B - 8970 Poperinge,
“He's as dim as a Toc H lamp”
The TOC H symbol is an oil lamp called the ‘Lamp of
Maintenance’ and featuring the cross of Ypres. Every year on Tubby
Clayton's birthday the Lamp of Maintenance is lit in
the Upper Room at Talbot House for 24 hours, from 9pm on the night of
11th until 9pm on 12th December. This is the start
of a series of lamp lightings in all the TOC H branches around the
The people who used the house came from all sorts of civilian backgrounds and army ranks,
each having particular abilities and the skills born of experience or
training. In that situation (with the life expectancy of an officer
being less than 10 weeks) differences became less important.
A sign above the chaplains door proclaims:
‘All Rank Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here’.
TOC H is not - and never was - an ex-serviceman's organisation.As the sign outside Talbot House rightly says, it is 'Everyman's Club'.
TOC H has developed into a world-wide body which has chooses to
operate at the grass roots level of communities. It is now a movement
of men and women who demonstrate their belief in breaking down the
barriers that can divide people from one another. TOC H is a Movement
concerned with Christian values. There is no credal test for
membership or volunteering, but TOC H from the day of its foundation,
has made no secret of its Christian basis.
Today Toc H is not as big as it was - but there are still 150 Toc
H groups and 50+ projects. There is also still a network of houses -
Talbot Centres - that offer a range of facilities, often oriented to
activity breaks and residentials. The original Talbot House at
Poperinge is open both as a residential and conference house and as a