Former BBC war reporter launches Dunham Massey exhibition

Messenger Newspapers: Kate Adie in the reconstructed main ward of the hospital Kate Adie in the reconstructed main ward of the hospital

DUNHAM Massey Hall is about to stage a major exhibition highlighting its role as a hospital for seriously injured servicemen in the First World War.

Between 1917 and 1919 it treated hundreds of injured soldiers and visitors can now find out what life was like for the patients treated there and the medical staff who treated them.

The facilities recreated include the hospital’s main ward in the Saloon, the operating theatre, the recreation room for the troops and the nurses’ station.

Former BBC war correspondent Kate Adie, OBE, launched the National Trust exhibition last Tuesday.

She said: “This is a wonderful example of what was done by an individual family with local help and for local men. it’s also a terrific example of the way life was turned upside down for people during that war.

"A country house had to be transformed into wards and there they are with an operating table under the grand staircase.

“It’s a place where you can see the stories of local people, the family who lived here, the people who came to nurse, all of them deeply involved in the terrible cases of injured people who came back from the Front.”

Kate said some of the injuried ‘Tommies’ from the rural areas had never slept in a bed before coming to Dunham Massey Hall and suddenly found themselves surrounded by all the trappings of Edwardian luxury.

As a journalist, Kate reported from many of the world’s troubled spots ranging from the now notorious Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 to the Gulf War.

She said she saw some ‘terrible things’ but added: “You also see some remarkably optimistic behaviour in the worst possible circumstances.”

* Sanctuary From The Trenches opens on Saturday and it will run throughout the Hall’s 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons. Anyone interested in finding out more should visit nationaltrust.org.uk/dunhammassey.

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