Like many country houses, Dunham Massey Hall near Altrincham in Cheshire was converted into a military hospital during the First World War, and offered sanctuary to hundreds of soldiers injured in the conflict.
We have recently digitised a remarkable and poignant souvenir album, compiled by the patients, who were apparently encouraged to draw and write as part of their recuperation. There are also photographs of many of the patients, and the nurses. Lady Jane Grey (1899-1991), sister of the 10th earl of Stamford, was a nurse at the hospital, and judging by the number of dedications to her in the album, she was a firm favourite with the soldiers. You can view the entire album at http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/02kb78.
To mark the centenary of the First World War, the National Trust has meticulously recreated the military hospital at Dunham Massey, transforming normally grandiose rooms into wards and even an operating theatre, using much of the original furniture and equipment that had been carefully stored at the hall for the past century. For further information see the Dunham Massey page of the National Trust website.
The archives from Dunham Massey are held at the Library on deposit from the National Trust, to whom the 10th earl of Stamford bequeathed the hall and estate in 1976. Thanks to the collecting instincts of the 10th earl and his mother Penelope, the archive contains a complete record of the history of the hall in the 20th century, including the period when it served as a military hospital.