World War One Centenary

HHHANDG_1This year marks the First World War Centenary. For so many of us the atrocities of World War One seem distant and unreal, but a great deal of the UK’s country houses have very personal and historically important connections with wartime. The famous quote from the Ode of Remembrance, ‘We will remember them’, has never been more prolific or important than it is today, 100 years after the beginning of the Great War. Many of the stately homes and country houses affected by war are remembering the events of 1914-1918 with special exhibitions, trails and events this year.

As the war progressed, Britain’s hospitals became overcrowded and unable to deal with the extreme volumes of severely wounded soldiers returning to Blighty from the front. More military hospitals and convalescence centres were desperately needed and many of the country’s stately homes opened their doors to the wounded heroes of the war. Country houses could offer plenty of interior and exterior space for convalescence and respite, and with the men away at war, often the ladies of the houses revelled in being able to play their part in the war effort by opening their homes to recovering soldiers.

The advent of conscription meant Britain’s aristocratic families waved their boys off to fight alongside every other family in the country. Societal position often meant men from the UK’s stately homes joined the army in higher ranking positions, but regardless of status many did not survive the war. Many of the exhibitions occurring this year examine the effects of war on soldiers, families, tenants and servants in the country houses and stately homes of the early 20th Century. Stories are told through letters, photographs, artefacts, memorabilia and personal belongings, although this is history it seems surprisingly more recent than we generally consider.

Dunham Massey Hall in Cheshire was one of those properties transformed into a military hospital, becoming a sanctuary from the trenches for almost 300 soldiers. This year Dunham Massey takes us back in time, transforming the hall and recreating Stamford Military Hospital. Visitors can discover what life was like in wartime, for patients and for the staff who lived and worked at Dunham. Go to Dunham Massey on hudsonsheritage.com

Belmont House have created an exhibition to show snippets of life at Belmont during the Great War. The exhibition contains artifacts which have been discovered in the House and information on family members and men of the Parish who were involved in World War One. Go to Belmont House on hudsonsheritage.com

Holkham Hall’s 2014 exhibtion tells a small part of the story of the impact of the Great War on the Coke family and Holkham Village. The Coke family was, as many others, very personally affected by the war and the story is told through personal letters, archives, books, photographs and atrefects in this touching exhibtion. On display in the courtyard is a two thirds scale profile of a Mark V tank and a replica 20 ft section of Somme battlefield trench. Go to Holkham Hall on hudsonsheritage.com

Duty Calls is a series of exhibitions and events in Yorkshire which explores the effect and impact of war on country houses and their communities. The linked exhibitons, trails and events, at 9 of Yorkshire’s country houses, share stories about the effect of war on the properties over the centuries. It examines these effects on a personal level, as well as exploring the social and economic consequences of wartime on the country house. Exhibitions feature paintings, photographs, arms and militia, as well as archival and oral histories.

Castle Howard’s Duty Calls exhibtion explores the stories of the castle in wartime. The experience of war at Castle Howard was shared with family members, staff and tenants. The Castle saw many apsects of war, taking in refugees and evacuees, coping with crashed aircraft and losing family members, staff and horses to the Front. Go to Castle Howard on hudsonsheritage.com

Many of the owners of Kiplin Hall, family members and local commuities have by touched or affected by war. The Duty Calls exhibiton at Kiplin recounts the effect of war on the Hall and community through a series of trails and events throughout 2014. Go to Kiplin Hall on hudsonsheritage.com

Nostell Priory’s exhibitions allows vistors to listen to the stories of the house’s war, brought to life by local actors. Nostell has made it their mission to discover the small stories of the Great War from landowner to labourer. Go to Nostell Priory on hudsonsheritage.com

There are 9 houses taking part in Duty Calls altogether, follow the links below for much more information.
Brodsworth Hall
(Go to Brodsworth Hall on hudsonsheritage.com)
Beningbrough Hall
Newby Hall
(Go to Newby Hall on hudsonsheritage.com)
Fairfax House
(Go to Fairfax House on hudsonsheritage.com)
Lotherton Hall
(Go to Lotherton Hall on hudsonsheritage.com)
Sewerby Hall

There are so many more exhibitions, trails and walks happening in country houses and stately homes around the country to commemorate the centenary. We would love to hear which ones you have visited, tweet us @HudsonsHeritage

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Mrs Hudson Recommends…………………..May (as the month to go and do everything)

Walpole and I

Walpole and I

April showers bring forth May flowers, and special events, and music festivals and craft fairs and so so much more (that’s not quite how the original goes!) The heritage world has so much to offer this month, Walpole and I can’t work out where to begin!

This is a wonderful opportunity to view the private gardens at Holkham Hall which are normally closed to the public. See the spectacular aboretum with its many rare and specimen trees as well as new foliage emerging on the acers. Led by Deputy Landscape Manager, Jonathan Taylor, there are 3 tours on 18th May at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Plants and Crafts- something for all the family! Belmont House will be running a plant and craft fair all weekend on 4th and 5th May. Take a moment to look for the perfect gift, sample some locally produced food or select a beautiful plant from their specialist nurseries.

 Love arts and crafts? The head for Lamport Hall use this opportunity to pick up some fantastic unique handcrafted products and treats on 4th and 5th May.

Join Haddon Hall for a musical spectacular on 19th May. The Haddon Hall Festival Orchestra will lead the way through the Proms in the Garden, so sit back relax and unwind to your favourites.

 Love a festival with a werid name?! Then you need to be at Bearded Theory festival at Catton Hall. The Midlands largest performing and creative arts festival takes place 23rd-25th May

What more could you want on a warm sunny May weekend than a cider celebration?! Clovelly Village are celebrating their local ciders and ales on 24th, 25th and 26th May. Pop along, raise a glass, and enjoy some musical entertainment too!

 The Muncaster Festival runs for 5 days from 25th to 29th May and takes place on the front lawn outside the castle, offering something for all the family. The festival boasts circus skills workshops, face painting, archery, and an Interntational Jesters Tournament – I can hardly wait!

We love a birthday party! And so do Compton Verney. On 5th May, they’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of opening their doors to the public. Games, music and arty activities are on offer to celebrate the last decade.

My word, what an exciting month! Let us know if you make it to these events, we’d love to know what you’re up to! Remember to tweet us @HudsonsHeritage

Doddington Hall is a gorgeous backdrop to this Snowdrop Walk

6 of the Best Snowdrop Walks

Here’s our pick of the six snowdrop walks across the country. So, grab your partner, the kids or the dog and take a stroll in the fresh air.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Deer Park Gardens open 11am-4pm daily. Guided walks available.

Forde Abbey, Dorset
10am-4pm throughout February

The delicate white flowers at Forde Abbey

The delicate white flowers at Forde Abbey

Rode Hall and Gardens, Cheshire
12pm-4pm daily 2nd February-10th March

Painswick Rococo Gardens, Gloucestershire
Daily from 11am-5pm

Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire
17th February onwards 11am-4pm

Doddington Hall is a gorgeous backdrop to this Snowdrop Walk

Snowdrops at Doddington Hall

Goodnestone Park Gardens, Kent
24th February-24th March

Which Snowdrop walk is your favourite? Don’t forget to send us your pictures!