10 Feb 2015

History of Temple Newsam House during First World War examined in new exhibition

Opening this week is a new exhibition which will explore how an historic house in the city was used as a hospital for ill and injured soldiers during the First World War.

As part of ‘The Healing Home’ display which is available to view from Saturday February 14 2015, visitors can discover what life was like at Temple Newsam House from 1915 to 1917, when the south wing was used as a convalescent hospital through an array of items and photographs. Convalescent hospitals like those at Temple Newsam were used in the last stage of the recovery process for a wounded soldier recovering from an illness or medical treatment.

The exhibition brings together new research and family histories and brought to life by an audio soundscape. The display will look at how Temple Newsam, a Country House and family home was used practically as a convalescent hospital, as well as revealing the personal experiences of two soldiers linked to the House. These include Belgian, Cyrille Desager, and his family and George Ryder, who served in the West Yorkshire Regiment and whose wounds affected the rest of his life. On display will be the personal and beautiful series of postcards sent by a father to a daughter who he never met preserved by the family for 100 years.

Temple Newsam House was one of many convalescent hospitals open in Leeds during the First World War. Other well-known buildings in Leeds were used in this way during the conflict including Gledhow Hall and Lotherton Hall, and as part of the exhibition, visitors can find out how hospitals were structured and also more about the nurses who cared for the sick.

There are two digital elements to the exhibition; a soundscape produced by Heritage Interactive to invoke a sense of how the house was whilst it was a hospital and a film produced by Deadline Digital featuring the descendant of Cyrille Desager, who recuperated at the house.

Held in association with Legacies of War at the University of Leeds, Yorkshire Country House Partnership and The Earl of Halifax, the exhibition, which is sponsored by Deadline Digital, will be accompanied by a vibrant selection of events and activities from ‘Tea with the Curator’ to CPD sessions for teachers.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"We are really looking forward to the opening ofThe Healing Home’ exhibition, which will offer a fascinating insight into when Temple Newsam House was used as a convalescent hospital during the First World War.

"As part of the exhibition, visitors can find out more about the lives of both the patients and nurses in the hospital, and also take part in in a diverse range of activities linked to the themes of The Healing Home’.

"This event forms part of a fascinating and diverse programme of First World War events the Leeds Museums and Galleries’ team has put together with a number of partners across the city, which really is something not to be missed."

Geoff Fox, creative director at Deadline Digital, said:

"It has been hugely rewarding to be involved in the Healing House exhibition. It's one thing being told that this iconic Leeds landmark played such a crucial role during the First World War. But to be able to interview Michael and hear him describe how the impact of the war reverberated across three generations was a privilege.

"As video journalists, we are lucky to spend most of our working lives hearing people talk about a vast range of subjects, but to be able to share Michael's knowledge and experience as he told us of the unusual circumstances of how his grandparents met almost a century ago was as vibrant and emotional as any modern day story."

Notes to editors:

‘The Healing Home’ exhibition at Temple Newsam will be open from Feb 14 2015 to November 1 2015.

Full list of events and activities linked to the exhibition:

Tea with the Curator

26 March, 11 June, 6 August, 22 October, 2–4pm £6.50*

Dr Jessica Meyer: From the Frontline to Convalescent Hospital

23 April, 2–4pm £6.50*

Richard Wilcocks: Stories From the War Hospital

21 May, 2–4pm £6.50*

Dr Chris Ridgeway: The Country House and First World War

25 June, 2–4pm £6.50*

The film ‘Griet’ followed by Q&A

10 September, 2–4pm, with normal admission

Film features background images of human remains

Rose Gibson: The Gledhow Scrapbook

17 September, 2–4pm £6.50*

Dr Emily Mayhew: Frontline Medicine

24 September, 2–4pm £6.50*

*Admission included and booking essential on 0113 3367460

Entry to Temple Newsam House to view this exhibition and the full collection is £4.50 adult, £2.50 child and £9.80 family, joint tickets are also available that allow entry to both the House and Farm.

Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam for details.

Temple Newsam House Opening Times:

- The House is closed on Mondays.

- January to March 2015, Tues to Sun 10:30 to 16:00

- March to Sunday 1 November 2015, Tues to Sun 10:30 to 17:00

- November 2015 to February 2016 the House will be restricted to pre-booked visits from November to February with the exception of the headline Christmas event. Call us to book one of our tours or special interest days now on 0113 336 7460.

Commemorating the First World War at Leeds Museums and Galleries

From 2014–2018 we are delivering a special programme of exhibitions, events and outreach activities which reflect the history of Leeds during wartime through the lens of Leeds Museums and Galleries’ nine historic sites, collections and the legacy of the war in the city today. Find out more about how the war affected people’s lives locally in Leeds and around the world. Discover how Leeds Museums and Galleries’ heritage buildings were used during the war and what people did who lived and worked there. See wartime artefacts from the collections, uncover the stories behind personal objects from the war and get involved in our local community projects. For full details of our First World War commemorative programme visit www.leeds.gov.uk/WW1heritage

Additional information about and Leeds’ WW1 History

Leeds also welcomed refugees, including around 1,500 men, women and children who had fled Belgium. Leeds was also an important centre of medical care for the sick and wounded. It was home to one of the country’s largest military hospitals, the 2nd Northern General Hospital at Beckett Park. Plans for this hospital had been in drawn up before the war, and it received its first contingent of 90 wounded soldiers on 17 September 1914. By 1918 it had treated over 57,000 patients. Convalescent hospitals like the one established at Temple Newsam took patients from the military hospitals when they were on the road to recovery. Beds needed to be cleared quickly to make room for new arrivals, so these converted large houses instead provided care for men who were not yet able to either return to military duty, or to be discharged home.

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 31,000 students from 147 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group research-intensive universities. University of Leeds are a top 10 university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and positioned as one of the top 100 best universities in the world in the 2014 QS World University Rankings. www.leeds.ac.uk

Deadline Digital is a Yorkshire-based video production company specialising in video journalism. Working predominantly with the public sector, Deadline Digital helps clients tell their stories in the most impactful and concise way. It has worked with Temple Newsam over the past six months on the Healing House film, interviewing Michael Hassell, grandson of Cyrille Desager, Professor Alison Fell, University of Leeds and Lucy Moore, First World War Projects Curator for Leeds Museums and Galleries. Those interviews have been edited into a short film telling one of the many human stories unique to the Healing House.

The Yorkshire Country House Partnership includes twelve major country houses across the Yorkshire region and associations with others in relation to specific projects. Spanning more than six centuries in origin and an impressive range of architectural styles, the houses are united by both their geography and their historical roles at the heart of rural society. Welcoming close more than a million visitors a year, the houses are owned and managed by a range of bodies, both local and national, private and public. The Partnership exists to promote a deeper understanding of the shared histories of the houses through scholarly research with significant public outcomes. It also provides a practical support network for house curators and an arena for interdisciplinary collaboration with the wider academic community and across the heritage sector.

The 3rd Earl of Halifax, Charles Wood is the grandson of the Hon. Edward Wood and Lady Dorothy Wood who owned Temple Newsam House during the First World War. Lord Halifax kindly granted Leeds Museums Galleries curators access to family papers and photographs held in the family archive of the House during wartime. Lord Halifax is delighted that Temple Newsam House are commemorating this moment in the history of the house and the contribution Lady Dorothy Wood made to medical care in the city.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578


Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team