This stately Georgian Hall, surrounded by a beautiful park and gardens, has history galore. The family can trace it's line back to Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for all of 9 days in 1553. Outside of the walled park with it's herd of fallow deer and Water Mill, are the many cottages and farms of the workers/tenants, that made up the "estate" back in it's grandeur days. Keeping the big house and estate ticking along.
DUNHAM MASSEY IS THE STAMFORD MILITARY HOSPITAL
2014 commemorates 100 years since the beginning of World War I. during the war, from April 1917 until the February of 1919, Dunham Hall was used as a Military Hospital, helping over 300 soldiers recuperate from injuries sustained in the trenches. From March until November this year, the National Trust exhibit "Sanctuary from The Trenches" will showcase some of the rooms at Dunham as they would have been at that time.
Though I moved away from the area in 1983, I have been back regularly to Dunham to visit my parents (now sadly, only my Mum). I have always loved visiting the Hall and park, so many memories from childhood when we played in the park, to the proposal of marriage from my husband (down on one knee in front of the hall), to taking my own children there to feed the ducks and see the deer.
It has been a few years since I actually toured the house, so as I was back visiting my Mum this past March, I wanted to go and check out the new exhibit.
To add to the feel of the era, there were signs placed along the walk to the Hall, either staked in the ground or pinned to trees. These signs reminding the British people of their Patriotic duty to King and Country, would have been typical of the day.
I found these to be very interesting. Also, I must admit, they did make me smile a little .
"Only the lucky few - badly injured enough to need an extended recovery, but stable enough to perhaps survive the journey - were evacuated back to "Blighty" (Britain). In the process they were sorted and sent to hospitals based on their condition. This means that we see patterns in the types and severity of injuries arriving here at Stamford Hospital.
Once in the UK, the critically ill would be rushed to hospitals close to their point of arrival. Cases needing plastic surgery, or the badly shell-shocked might be sent to a specialist hospital. Any who could survive onward travel were sent further afield to hospitals such as this one.
Stamford Hospital treated many men for bullet and shrapnel wounds, mostly to arms and legs. Others had been gassed or had related respiratory problems. Some came to recover from serious cases of disease that were aggravated by poor conditions and diet in the trenches."
- Quote from one of the displays at Dunham
Dunham has been a major part of my life, and it is always a pleasure for me to go and visit. I love the history of the place and feel very blessed to have grown up in such wonderful surroundings. I really enjoyed this new exhibit and learning of Dunham's roll during World War 1.
Even if you don't tour the house, the park and gardens are lovely at any time of the year. It does get very busy on bank holidays and weekends these days, so plan accordingly.
Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford, Wikipedia click here
The Booth & Grey Families (History, plus some great photos of Dunham) click here