Friday, 25 January 2019


This post on the building known as Trimiotou (but spelt in various ways) has been particularly interesting to research largely because it has virtually no information directly available.  I would particularly like to thank 'Deadhead' and Tango 01 (Armand) from The Miniatures Page (TMP) in helping me with my research.  I gave an earlier preview of the building on 'Reinforcements' but with new information provided by them, amendments have been made to the main building at the southern end and a barn added at the north end.

Just to the south of La Belle Alliance and on the other side of the road there now sits a building called La Saline Restaurant.

La Saline from the north looking south.  The lean-to present in 2019 would not have been there in 1815.

 No such building gets a mention in contemporary sources of the battle.  And yet a review of contemporary maps indicates that something called Trimiotou or Trimotion was at the same place.

Siborne's map.  Trimotion sounds like an English rendering of the French name.

The maps would indicate something as large, if not larger, than La Belle Alliance.
This contemporary water colour of La Belle Alliance by Denis Dighton, which looks eastwards, definitely shows a longer building in trees in the place marked Trimotion on the maps
Siborne's model quite clearly shows it and, again, indicates that it is longer than La Belle Alliance.
This grainy, distant shot shows the creamy render of La Belle Alliance on the left, Trimiotou further south in the centre of the picture and then Decoster's house much further away in the top right of the picture
 So what did the building look like at the time of Waterloo?  One of the problems with Siborne is that he simplified his models - for instance, the lean-to bakery on the side of La Belle Alliance is clearly missing.

This photograph shows a gently sloping roof at the southern end of the building - I believe this may have existed in 1815 - it isn't shown by Siborne, but that may be because he simplified his buildings.  Based on this evidence, this sloping roof at the southern end is included in my model.
This picture mentions both La Belle Alliance and Decoster's (Costa's) house in its caption but does not mention Trimiotou, despite clearly showing it - this picture indicates a small barn at its north end and shows that the roof of the main building was in two pitches
This suggests the same, although the number of chimneys varies between one, two and three
The barn is even clearer here.

Given all these pictures show a barn at the north end of Trimiotou and that there is a dual pitch roof, how can this be reconciled with Siborne's model which doesn't show this?  My view is that either Siborne chose to simplify the north end, or that the north end took such a battering that it was rebuilt after the battle, and the barn removed before Siborne carried out his survey.

This Denis Dighton watercolour indicates quite a few trees around its west side

There is now a large barn behind Trimiotou which didn't exist when Siborne made his model.  Like the new barn at the north end of La Belle Alliance, we can presume that it was built after Waterloo, perhaps a few years before this Victorian photograph.

Google Earth provides a useful way of comparing the length of the modern La Saline (Trimiotou) with La Belle Alliance  - the former is 30.23 metres long.  The new large barn can be seen at the southern end and did not exist in 1815.

And La Belle Alliance (without its new barn) is 25.17 metres in length.
Given all this evidence I conclude that:

  • A building called Trimiotou did exist at the time of the battle
  • It was roughly the length it is now
  • It had a sloping roof at its southern end
  • It has since been simplified at the north end and a lean-to added which wasn't there in 1815
  • It sat in a hedged enclosure with trees
So given all that, here is the building with its barn:

From the north looking south

Dismounted Carabinier officer seeks refreshment.  The damage to the roof reflects the considerable amount of ordnance that came in from the direction of Plancenoit.  Napoleon, who was initially further down the road at Decoster's house  before moving to La Belle Alliance, upbraided the peasant Decoster for ducking every time a cannon ball came by.  Clearly the Emperor conceded nothing to his unenthusiastic guide whose first battle must have been a terrifying experience.

From the south looking north showing the sloped roof at the southern end.

The west side

The barn - it is hard to tell if the barn was thatched or tiled - given its subsequent destruction, I've gone with thatch to suggest a less substantial building.  For the same reason, the walls are wood, not stone or brick.

Street view

I intend to develop the idea of the barn catching fire.
I'm presently working on two battalions of the Guard who will be marching up the road past Trimiotou towards Wellington's position.  It remains something of a mystery to me where Baron Larrey's Casualty Clearing Station was, but this seems a likely spot - if any one knows I'd be grateful.

1 comment:

  1. Another most interesting and edifying post, thanks.

    Great model on your part too!