First World War hospital to be recreated at National Trust’s Dunham Massey Hall

5 November 2013 | Kate Clements

Preparations for a project which will bring a First World War Military Hospital back to life are taking place at the National Trust’s Dunham Massey Hall in Cheshire this winter.

The project is part of the National Trust’s commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

From April 1917 to January 1919, Dunham Massey was the Stamford Military Hospital. It had been offered to the Red Cross by its owner, Penelope, Lady Stamford. Its role was to provide sanctuary to soldiers whose injuries, whilst not life threatening, were of sufficient gravity to require medical care.

The huge task of recreating the Stamford Military Hospital will take Dunham Massey’s team of staff and volunteers several months to complete and was meticulously planned over two years.

The hospital’s main ward (‘Bagdad’ as it was known to the soldiers), their recreation room, the operating theatre and nurses’ station will all be restored for the centenary.

“We hope to give visitors an experience which is both immersive as well as very personal” says Liz Webb, Dunham’s Visitor Experience Manager.

“Everyone will be given (as the soldiers were) a hospital admission ticket on arrival. Each ticket will carry the name and short history of a particular soldier, whose progress they’ll be able to follow as they journey through the hospital.”

“Apart from one original bed, each of the hospital beds in Bagdad Ward will represent a named soldier who illustrates a particular war injury – such as shell shock or trench foot. His story, the medical treatment he received and what happened to him when he left the hospital will be told through archive photographs, letters and records kept by nursing staff.”

Dunham Massey is one of a number of organisations working in partnership with Imperial War Museum North on commemorations marking the centenary of the First World War.

Dunham Massey will open as the Stamford Military Hospital on Saturday, 1 March, 2014 and will remain so for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.

For full details, visit the Dunham Massey website.