Imber was a village on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire which is now part of the British Army’s training grounds. In 1943 the entire village was evacuated to make way for an exercise area for American troops involved in World War II and the villagers were never allowed return to their homes. The Ministry of Defence still controls the area despite attempts by the residents to return.
When the village was evacuated in 1943 the population stood around 150. A number of the buildings such as the post office and school building are still standing. Council homes built in 1938, only 5 years earlier, are also still standing. The abandonment was actually set in motion following an agricultural depression in the 1920s when the War Office began to buy up farmland surrounding the village. By the time the war came, almost all of the land in and around Imber, with the exception of the church, vicarage, chapel, schoolroom and Bell Inn, belonged to the Ministry of War. On the 1st of November 1943, the residents were called to a meeting in the school and were given 47 days to vacate their homes.
After the war, the village was used for urban environment training and new empty buildings were even constructed to that end. The residents have made several attempts to return to the village since the war but to no avail. Many of the buildings are now in such a state of disrepair that a return will never happen plus many of the inhabitants have now passed away. Amazingly, Imber is still counted in the census records for the UK where the population is entered as 0.
The village is opened to the public at certain times of the year as a tourist attraction and the church even holds services on such occasions.
Location: Imber, England
Category: Ghost Town