Charles Wade's First World War experience

The Orderly Room exhibition at Snowshill Manor

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War a small exhibition in the manor during November shares the story of Charles Wade's conscription.

‘‘How it is possible to entirely escape…in the midst of all the horrors of war" reflected Snowshill Manor's former owner Charles Wade on returning from the battlefields.

Royal Engineers

Conscripted to serve in 1916, Mr Wade was called up as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers in 1917. Unsuited to army life and seeing devastation all around, Wade turned to the painting and drawing that he had enjoyed since childhood, as a way of escaping the awful sights of war. Ruined landscapes were depicted as whole again and he created scenes of fantasy gardens.

A chance discovery

Assigned the duties of Orderly Room Clerk, he dressed and decorated his accommodation to recall the comforts of home. While working in France, he discovered a copy of Country Life magazine with a notice for the sale at auction of Snowshill Manor.

On his return home after the war, he found the manor was still for sale and in 1919 he was able to buy it. He restored it to its former glory and filled it with his collection of craftsman made objects, true to his personal motto ‘Let Nothing Perish’.