How should we remember Hougoumont Farm? We could view it as a dilapidated barn with a few brick walls, an orchard and some old out-buildings OR we can restore it and remember it as the farm which stands on the site of the fields of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.
Just a little of the farm’s history: the farm and chateau was once owned by Chevalier de Louville – he and his family had fled but his gardener Guillaume van Cutsem and Guillaume’s five year old daughter remained. On 17th June 1815 the British forces fortified the buildings ready for the attack of Prince Jerome’s division the following day. A few French managed to penetrate the farm but reinforcements from the Byng’s Guards Brigade soon arrived. ‘By the end of the battle the chateau had been set ablaze by howitzer fire and the buildings were heaped with British casualties. The French were unable to capture Hougoumont and their casualties filled the woods and fields.’ (For more information on the history of Hougoumont and its role during the Battle please see http://www.britishbattles.com/waterloo/waterloo-june-1815.htm#Hougoumont_Chateau)!
Project Hougoumont desperately wishes us to recognise the farm for its historic significance, and as such, is attempting to raise funds for the restoration of the farm and redevelopment of the surrounding area.
‘By the time we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle visitors will be able to visit the farm, learn about the battle, and understand the significance of Hougoumont’s key role.’
Not only that but a memorial will be built to commemorate the British Soldiers who fought at Waterloo – we are the only nationality to not own a memorial dedicated to our Redcoat heroes!
Hougoumont has seen so much in its past and is surely one of the most important buildings that should be recognised for its heritage – just think about what we could learn from visiting the battlefields and standing in the exact same places as those opposing armies did 200 years ago!
For more information please visit http://www.projecthougoumont.com/.