Shell bursting in the Grand' Place, Ypres, Belgium


Shell bursting in the Grand' Place, Ypres, Belgium


Looking southwest from the front of the ancient Cloth Hall across the Grand' Place of Ypres, we have here before us for all time to come a vivid glimpse of war as it actually was during four long years in that old Flemish city. Ypres was once a treasure house of the quaint and graceful architecture of the Middle Ages, sought by artists, architects, poets, lovers of the beautiful from the whole world. Now it lies shattered by German shells. On this summer day the distant artillery of the enemy is "strafing" the ill-fated city, as it did at Frenchquent intervals all through the long years of the war. Not a British soldier is in sight. Most of them are out in the trenches, north and east and south of the town those who are within it are sheltering themselves from the bombardment in dugouts among the ruins. The photographer himself who caught for us this view of a shell bursting close to the corner of the Grand' Place and the Rue de Lille is doubtless hidden from its flying fragments behind some of the fallen masonry of that glorious Cloth Hall, completed in the year 1304, which was once one of the chief architectural glories of Belgium. To the left and some distance behind the smoke of the explosion rises a shattered bit of the walls of the Hospice Belle, which contained before the war some priceless paintings by old masters. Ypres was full of such lovely monuments of the past. But now, all are gone and the shadowy outline of a little, two-wheeled cart, the horse hurrying madly, the driver leaning forward to urge him on as they flee from the wrath of war about them, seems a symbol of that old civilization which fled from Ypres on an autumn day in 1914 when, the hordes of invasion came rolling down upon it.

Spatial Coverage



1 stereograph : b&w
1 gelatine silver print stereograph (8 x 15 cm) mounted on card (9 x 18 cm)


Copyright. The Keystone View Company
No known restrictions on publication


World War through the stereoscope

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Keystone View Company, “Shell bursting in the Grand' Place, Ypres, Belgium,” Monash Collections Online, accessed May 19, 2024,

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