Tuesday, July 07, 2015

WW1 Auxiliary Hospital: Englethwaite Hall Cumbria

This is Englethwaite Hall in Cumbria. It was built in 1879 by John Thomlinson, a plaster-of-paris 'magnate'. The house passed through several owners before it was taken over by the Red Cross and opened on July 15th, 1916 as a fully equipped Auxiliary Hospital with 50 beds. It remained open, under the charge of Miss Ida C Kentish, until April 30th, 1919 having treated 593 patients. Whilst I would never consider myself as having an interest in 'military history' I do have an interest in the personal stories of individuals in the First World War. Auxiliary Hospitals have featured in a number of novels about WW1 and, indeed, in ITV's Downton Abbey and it fascinating to finally get a glimpse inside one as it 'really' was from this photo album. I have to say that it looks more or less as I conjured these things in my mind's eye, although I wasn't really prepared for the chintz wallpaper and floral bedcovers! The house went to ruin and was finally pulled down in 1969 and is now the site of a caravan park. This album contains these, obviously professional, documentary photos at the front and the res of the album is filled with candid and personal shots of the soldiers/patients (not shown in this post) in groups or individually, sadly none of them identified.

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