Students bring WW1 history to life at Leeds stately home

The unique living history project at Temple Newsam House, will see second year BA Theatre and Performance students become the nurses and patients from Lady Dorothy Wood’s Auxiliary Hospital.

Drawing on new research, the performance, entitled Within This House, aims to celebrate the lives and stories of the dedicated volunteer nurses, who cared for injured servicemen when the house was used as a convalescent hospital from 1915 to 1917.

Wearing authentic costumes, students will give visitors a chance to meet historical characters and immerse themselves in the lives of both staff and soldiers in the house and gardens.

Convalescent hospitals were used in the last stage of the recovery process for a wounded soldier who was recovering from an illness or medical treatment.

This project is a collaboration between Leeds Museums and Galleries, the School of Performance and Cultural Industries with support from the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence and the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds.

Dr Scott Palmer, project lead and lecturer in the School said: “This represents an excellent opportunity for students to develop skills in working with material from historical resources, to investigate key issues in performing in museum and heritage contexts and to explore the range of skills needed when working in close proximity with audiences.”

Temple Newsam House was one of many convalescent hospitals open in Leeds during the First World War, with others including Gledhow Hall and Lotherton Hall.