Brodsworth Hall in time of war: Heritage Lottery Funding secured for three year project
English Heritage today announced the start of a three year project examining the role that Brodsworth Hall, a country house near Doncaster, played in the two World Wars, largely thanks to a £99,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Research is now underway on the project, which looks at the social history of how Brodsworth Hall, and the people living in and around its estate, were affected by the wars. The research will then provide the basis for public displays within the Hall examining the role played by Brodsworth Hall, its owners and staff during these years of conflict. The project will also enable stories from the period to be explored and shared within the local community, through a digital display developed with the involvement of local groups and children.
The first stage of the project, which will launch at Easter 2013, will be a trail throughout the hall and events focussing on life during World War II. An exhibition about World War I and the community’s support for those serving in both wars will launch at the same time, with events surrounding this to follow in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF, Yorkshire and the Humber, said:
“The impact of both world wars was deeply felt throughout the country houses of Yorkshire with a lasting effect on them and their local communities. By exploring the archives the Brodsworth Hall’s ‘In Time of War’ project will open up a valuable resource to enable these important stories to be discovered and retold. This exciting project will provide opportunities for local people to share their stories and find out more about how war changed their local area.”
Caroline Carr-Whitworth, Curator at Brodsworth Hall, said:
“Brodsworth Hall would have been significantly affected by both world wars, but particularlarly during World War II when the hall and its estate were used by the military as billets. This had an enormous impact on all of its occupants from the owners to the people working on the estate’s farms.
“We have a wide range of source materials already – from estate and personal archives from the early 20thcentury, to oral histories recorded by those who remember the house through the years, but we are hoping that we can uncover many more.”
Indeed, with the number of people who lived through World War II diminishing by the year, it is hoped that this initiative will preserve the memories of those still willing to tell their stories for future generations. “We are delighted that such stories will be gathered,” said a member of Brodsworth Parish Council “and we look forward to working with English Heritage on the project.”
“We are specifically looking for people with memories or photographs relating to life or work within the Brodsworth estate during the wars, which at that time extended from Brodsworth and Pickburn, to Marr, Hampole, and parts of Adwick and Woodlands. We are hoping to hear a wide range of stories of the estate from people who served in the forces in World War II, or (44th West Riding) Home Guard, to those who stayed behind to manage the estate. We’d also love to hear from those who came to the estate such as Land Girls and evacuee children. Equally, if anyone remembers their parents or grandparents telling them stories of the Brodsworth area during either war, we want to hear them.”
Stories of particular interest to the project will be those about the soldiers who stayed at Brodsworth. Caroline explains:
“ We know that the 44thHome Counties Infantry Division arrived soon after being evacuated from Dunkirk, and were replaced in 1941 by the 45thInfantry Division. Both had their Headquarters at Brodsworth and were involved in defensive preparations against a possible German invasion, together with the local Home Guard. We also know that in 1943, Brodsworth was the Headquarters for the 9 Army Group Royal Artillery, preparing for D Day. We would love to narrow the story down, and even find some names and personal stories to flesh out this story.”
English Heritage intends to hold a series of reminiscence sessions over the autumn to gather such stories and record peoples’ memories, and David Alcock of Heritage Learning will be arranging these. Anyone with stories relating to Brodsworth during either world war should contact David on or 01482 318961 or Caroline and staff at Brodsworth Hall at Brodsworth Hall, Donaster, DN5 7XJ, Tel 01302 722598.
The Brodsworth Hall “In Time of War” project is part of a series of independent exhibitions taking place at country houses throughout the region in 2013-14, co-ordinated by the Yorkshire Country House Partnership.
Notes to Editors
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK including £380m to 2,845 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone. Website: www.hlf.org.uk
About Brodsworth Hall
Brodsworth Hall was built by Charles Sabine Thellusson in 1865 at a cost of £50,000. He used the proceeds of a disputed will – which partly inspired Charles Dickens’ Bleak House – to build the Italianate masterpiece with its magnificent gardens in the rolling South Yorkshire countryside. The estate was inherited by his four sons in turn, and then by his grand-son, Charles Grant-Dalton in 1931. The Hall and its remarkable contents have been conserved – rather than restored – to provide a unique glimpse into the life and times of the English country house from the high Victorian period until the Hall and its gardens were acquired on behalf of the nation by English Heritage in 1990. The ‘Brodsworth Hall in Time of War’ project will add an additional layer of interpretation, with small cameos of objects, photographs, and oral history recordings through the house.
Brodsworth Hall opens with the wartime interpretation from Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from April 2013 to the end of September 2013. In October 2012 the house is open Saturdays and Sundays only, and the gardens and tea-room are open at weekends throughout the winter, with several autumn and winter events. Entry is £9.30 adults, £8.40 concessions and £5.60 children. Gardens only entry is £5.70, £5.10 and £3.40. English Heritage members and children under five are admitted free. For more information call 01302 722598 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk
For further media information, please contact:
Tel: 0113 251 5698 / 07810 546567
Images: (High res versions available)
Home on leave: Jim Woodward, photographed with his children outside his estate cottage at Pickburn , was a woodman on the Brodsworth estate, and served in the Durham Light Infantry. (From a p rivate collection)
Several of Brodsworth’s estate and house staff left to serve in the First World War; George Raper, chauffeur at Brodsworth, is pictured in his new army uniform on his wedding to Brodsworth’s cook, Martha Lockey, in 1915, just before he left to serve in the Royal Army Service Corps. Alfred Edwards, on the right, then undertook the work of chauffeur and valet, not being fit enough for active service, although here he wears the Derby scheme armband, showing that he had offered to serve.
Lt Colonel Charles Grant-Dalton of Brodsworth Hall, commanding officer of 44thWest Riding Home Guard, with men probably of C Company, at Woodlands Hall, 1941 – 44; the project may enable some of the men to be identified. (photographer unknown)
A fete held at Brodsworth Hall during the Second World War for the Doncaster Linen League, one of many community activities which raised funds for the war effort. (H B Mason)
Also: Pamela Grant-Dalton at of Brodsworth Hall running the hoopla at a local wartime fundraising event. (HB Mason