Teachers' Notes

Aim of resource:

To explore the stories of country houses turned into WW1 hospitals through images, case studies and dramatic interpretation.


Curriculum links:

KS3 History: WW1 | Local History Study
KS4 History: Local History Study
KS2 & 3 Leeds Curriculum.


Learning objectives:

  • Knowledge of war hospitals and convalescence during the First World War
  • Understanding of the organisation behind war hospitals and the stories of patients
  • Skills to analyse different sources, explore and construct creative interpretations of historical material

Discussion ideas:

  • What does the phrase ‘war effort’ mean?
  • Who might have taken part in the war effort?
  • How was the First World War different to earlier wars?
  • Why did the owners of Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall want to contribute their houses to the war effort?
  • How might the houses have been changed when they were converted to hospitals?
  • What do you think of these houses being used as hospitals?
  • What do you think the patients at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall thought of the houses?
  • How would the houses have differed from the soldiers’ homes or their accommodation in the trenches?
  • How might the experiences of Belgian soldiers at the hospital have been different to that of soldiers from the UK?

Activity ideas:

  • Drama: Listen to the ten dialogues of scenes inspired by the wartime hospital at Temple Newsam House. These are imagined conversations among soldiers and nursing staff at the hospital, exploring various different aspects of wartime life. Pupils could use the scripts as inspiration for creative writing, perhaps to write their own scenes.

  • Analysing texts: The scripts of the ten dialogues could also be analysed as fictional texts and the way in which they offer an interpretation of a historical setting could also be explored further. 

  • Create a war hospital magazine: Use the Reading War Hospital magazine (see link below) as inspiration to write and design your own war hospital magazine.
    - What sort of information would you include?
    - What would you leave out?
  • Activity trail: Visit Temple Newsam House and follow this activity trail to retrace the footsteps of the soldiers who were treated there in wartime. 

  • Research: Students might carry out further research into the different stages of medical treatment on the journey of an injured soldier from the battlefield to a convalescent hospital like Temple Newsam House or Lotherton Hall. This could be presented in a variety of ways, perhaps visually or interpreted in creative writing.

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.