St. Mary's students learn about life in a WW1 hospital
Students from St. Mary’s College went back in time this week to learn about life in a World War One military hospital. A party of 52 year 9 history students visited Dunham Massey, a stately home near Altrincham, which was used as a hospital for soldiers recovering from injuries sustained on the Western Front during the Great War.
As part of commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict, the elegant Georgian house has been converted into Stamford Military Hospital to tell the story of its wartime role. Between 1917 add 1919 almost 300 soldiers passed through its doors to be treated for conditions including bullet and shrapnel wounds, trench foot, gassing and shell shock.
During their visit the students were able to examine copies of the medical records of four soldiers treated at the hospital. Of these two recovered from their injuries and returned to the front, only to be killed in action later. However, one soldier’s story had a happier ending, as he married one of the nurses who had treated him at Dunham Massey.
Later in the day pupils went on a guided tour of the house, viewing rooms that have been cleared of their antique furniture and paintings and replaced with beds as in the original wards. They also saw a recreation of the hospital’s operating theatre in its original location at the foot of an ornate staircase. Here they were able to listen to an audio tape of the recollections of Lady Jane Grey - daughter of Lady Stamford who owned Dunham Massey - who had served as a nurse at the hospital when she was just 17.
Head of History, Niall Rothnie, commented, “This was a very successful visit to an exhibition which is a great tribute to the hundreds of stately homes and other buildings used as auxiliary hospitals and convalescence homes during the Great War. The use of actors dressed as soldiers and nurses, who recreated incidents that actually happened at the hospital, really brought to life what it was like for patients treated at Dunham Massey, and the staff who cared for them.”
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