To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the war in 1914 a special display Sanctuary from the Trenches had been set up in rooms of the house. I found this deeply moving. There was a graphic but simple introduction which described the horrors experienced by the soldiers in the trenches - the mud, the cold, the infestation by rats and lice, and of course the imminent danger of injury and death that haunted every man day and night.
In one room of the house, a ward had been set up as it would have been in 1917. There were quotes from injured soldiers as well as nurses and doctors printed onto the pillows of the beds or onto the wooden furniture beside them. I found the simplicity of this presentation particularly vivid and powerful.
Forgotten Voices of the Great War. This is a compelling record put together by the Imperial War Museum and edited by Max Arthur. It records the events of the war in the words of those who experienced it and has become the most important archive of its kind in the world.
In the gardens surrounding the house, we found two simple but beautiful sculptures erected to commemorate the soldiers who found refuge in Stamford Military Hospital. The first we came across was a simple structure consisting of 282 individually cast concrete cubes, one for each soldier, and stamped with his admission number.
Further on, on top of a small hill overlooking the lake, was a wooden construction printed with poetry written by the soldiers who were treated at the hospital. The poems were written in autograph books belonging to two members of the Dunham family, Lady Stamford and Lady Jane Grey.
Despite everything he'd suffered, one soldier wrote these gentle and optimistic words ...
... an extraordinary display of faith and hope in unimaginably harsh and desperate times.