Having played a crucial role in the war effort from 1914 to 1919, Normanby Hall has launched a new exhibition commemorating the auxiliary hospital which occupied much of its ground floor during the First World War.
The ‘Normanby at War’ exhibition casts light on the period when the Sheffield family offered Normanby Hall as the location for a convalescent home, housing soldiers returning from war who had already been treated for their sometimes horrific injuries, but who were still not sufficiently recovered to return home.
“The story at Normanby Hall was very similar to that portrayed in Downton Abbey, when the historic house was turned over to military use, but with one significant difference – it was not the daughter who took on a nursing role, but in Normanby Hall’s case, it was Lady Julia who rolled up her sleeves to help look after the patients,” comments Susan Hopkinson, museums and heritage manager for North Lincolnshire Council. “Lady Julia took a hands-on role as the hospital commandant, overseeing how the auxiliary hospital was run for the five years that patients were admitted here, from a modest start with 25 beds in the dining room, to taking over much of the ground floor with 75 beds by 1919.”
The exhibition has been funded as part of the Joining Up The Humber initiative, which has funded the renovation of one of the rooms within Normanby Hall to create the permanent display, including oral history recordings, photographs of the patients and even some of the original beds and medical equipment used at the time. The story of Normanby’s convalescent role will be explored further with free tours of the Hall taking place every Thursday at 2pm during the summer season and on 24 September with a talk by Madeleine Grout, collections assistant, that will explore the stories of patients, nurses and staff with photographs from Normanby Hall’s archives.
The Normanby at War exhibition has been extended to include Normanby’s role during the Second World War. Local village Burton-upon-Stather hosted the Duplex Drive Tank Project, and the soldiers developing these amphibious tanks were based at Normanby Hall. Fascinating photographs illustrate this important period of local history.
Situated on the first floor of the Hall, the costume gallery this year features the exhibition ‘The Art of Fashion’. Hull School of Art & Design have created contemporary versions of key pieces from North Lincolnshire Museum Service’s costume collection. These handmade garments from promising students of the fashion industry are displayed next to stunning pieces from the costume collection.
The display on the first floor of the Hall explores the history of the building and the Sheffield family. Find out more about the Regency period, from fashion and architecture to Royalty and politics. Beautiful costume relating to the Sheffield family will also be on display.
Celebrated artist Harold Gosney has donated two life sized sculptures to the park. The 15 hands high sculptures of horses and riders are on display in the stable block.