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UK Ghost Village Empty For 80 Years After All Residents Told To Go

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UK Ghost Village Empty For 80 Years After All Residents Told To Go

A small townlet in Wiltshire has been dubbed a ‘ghost village’ as it’s remained empty for almost 80 years.  

Tucked away in the British countryside, residents of Imber were kicked out during WWII when US troops started using the village as an exercise area. 

That means no one has lived in Imber since 1943 and photos of the abandoned village are eerie enough to make you break out in goosebumps. 

Imber has remained empty for almost 80 years. Credit: Alamy
Imber has remained empty for almost 80 years. Credit: Alamy
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Nowadays, Imber is part of the British Army’s training grounds on the nearby Salisbury Plain.

According to The Mirror, Imber dates way back to Saxon times, with references to the village first popping up in 967.

Imber was also referred to in the Domesday Book when it boasted a population of just 50 people. 

That had jumped to 250 by the 14th century, but stood at just 150 when residents of Imber were made to evacuate in 1943.

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On 1 November that year, residents of Imber - most of whom worked in agriculture - were called to a meeting in one of the village's schoolrooms and told they had 47 days to leave their homes.

Despite being told they would be able to return to the village once the war subsided, Imber has belonged to the Ministry of Defence ever since. 

When residents left Imber in 1943, Baptist chapel St Giles, a post office and pub (the Bell Inn) stood on the grounds.

The Bell Inn is still there, as is a manor house, a few cottages and a schoolroom, but most buildings are now derelict or marred due to shell and explosion damage.

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Residents were kicked out during WWII. Credit: Alamy
Residents were kicked out during WWII. Credit: Alamy

St Giles is one of the only structures that remains in decent condition today and the chapel - which has been maintained - is open for worship every year on the Saturday that falls closest to St Giles’s day.

Speaking to the BBC in 2014 about the church, The Friends of Imber Church's John Syme explained: "It's a very important little church and has many memories for local people."

The outlet notes that once a year, around St Giles’s day, ‘guns fall silent, security is lifted and civilians are allowed in to visit relatives' graves’.

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Efforts were made after the war to restore Imber, but it was eventually decided that control of the village would be left to the military. 

Training continues to take place at Imber, although the military’s presence has been reduced to the construction of a nearby warfare complex at Copehill Down.

To this day, the public are warned against entering Imber.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Alamy

Topics: Travel, UK News

Aisha Nozari
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