Life at Longshaw during the First World War

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Longshaw Lodge was full of bustle and activity as it played a significant part in the First World War as an auxiliary hospital for injured soldiers.

The lodge (now residential flats) was used as a convalescent home during the First World War to treat the wounded and sick soldiers from the front line. How did the soldiers feel after fighting in the dark and dangerous trenches, travelling for miles across the country and then reaching Longshaw, surrounded by open moorland and clean fresh air? The discovery of a diary by a local woman, Alice Clifford, revealed more about the life and activity of the Lodge. Alice appeared to visit Longshaw regularly as many of the diary pages were scattered with autographs and messages from the soldiers she met there.

Alice Clifford and the soldiers made the most of living in such a beautiful area. There are photographs of soldiers in groups, often leaning on crutches or sitting down outside buildings or on the balcony enjoying a cream tea and listening to live music bands in the courtyard. Life at Longshaw didn’t seem that bad. There is a picture in the diary of a group of soldiers taking a boat trip on the lake at Longshaw which, if you have visited it recently, is more of a large pond!

The history of Longshaw is still being uncovered to this day. Our volunteer historian, Thelma Griffiths managed to get in touch with a descendant of Soldier Newbury who stayed here after being wounded but unfortunately was killed in action shortly after being sent back to fight. This was apparently a common story for many soldiers.

After the war, the lodge was used as a holiday house and saw activities including tennis, dancing and music. The bustle of activity at Longshaw still continues throughout the years, from it being used for the recovery of soldiers, to entertaining people from the city and teaching children about the local environment.

So when you next visit Longshaw, remember to look out for the ‘lake’ the soldiers took a boat on, the courtyard where they sat and watched live music and, most importantly, remember how the estate was used to help the recovery of soldiers during the First World War.