New exhibition uncovers the history of Polesden during WWI

A black and white photograph of staff at the back of Polesden Lacey in 1915

Our new exhibition, Polesden Hospital, marks 100 years since the end of World War One. It offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the people who lived and worked at Polesden during the Great War.

From June 1915 until late 1916 Margaret Greville opened Polesden as a convalescent hospital for officers. It was staffed by military and volunteer nurses as well as Mrs Greville’s own domestic servants. More than 80 soldiers spent time at Polesden recovering from their wounds.

A horse and cart transports a wounded soldier at Polesden Lacey during World War 1
Horse and cart transports wounded soldier at Polesden Lacey during World War 1
A horse and cart transports a wounded soldier at Polesden Lacey during World War 1

Detective hunt

Our staff and volunteers have spent the last five years on a detective hunt, researching life at Polesden during the First World War – this exhibition is our chance to share that work with our visitors and it’s fitting that we’re able to do this as part of the commemorations this autumn.

Among the officers that convalesced here were Maurice Peel, a chaplain in the army; Tommy Fairfax-Ross who became a close friend of Mrs Greville and William Tate who was only saved, after being wounded at the Battle of Loos, because a stretcher bearer happened to notice his eyelids flickering.

Officers convalescing at Polesden during World War I pose for a photograph
Officers convalescing at Polesden during World War I pose for a photograph
Officers convalescing at Polesden during World War I pose for a photograph

Visitors will be able to see first-hand the Polesden Lacey Visitors Book for the period covering The Great War, photo albums with original photographs showing patients and staff at Polesden during this time, as well as Margaret Greville’s own personal letters and medals.  

Untold stories

We would love to hear from anybody who has a story to tell about a family member who worked or convalesced at Polesden during the Great War - particularly stories from people who were nurses. If you know of anybody that worked or convalesced at Polesden Lacey during this time, please get in touch. Email us at polesdenlacey@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01372452048.

Plan your visit

Polesden Hospital is open until 29th November 2018. The exhibition is open from 12.30am until close every weekday and from 11am until closing at weekends. The usual admission fee applies. No booking is required.