Monday, 31 March 2014

Chatsworth in Wartime

A wide range of objects, including letters from the front line, photos, uniforms and paintings will reveal life on the Chatsworth estate during both World Wars. 

An Oscar Wilde book found by the Marques
of Hartington in his dugout at Gallipoli.
It was floating in water and shows signs of this.

The Derbyshire Yeomanry held camps and
trained in Chatsworth Park in the 1900s and
1910s. After the outbreak of the First World War,
they were billeted on the estate. Many of the men
enjoyed staying in the area
. Some held a
cross country race through the Park.
They also appear to have been popular with local girls.
The exhibition will tell the stories of those who fought on the front line from the Somme to Gallipoli, including members of the Devonshire family; the house staff and estate workers and the contribution made by women through involvement with the Red Cross, the Women's Land Army and the WW2 'Dig for Victory' campaign. 

Life on the home front during the First World War is examined along with the impact of the war effort on the estate. In the garden, staff will be dressed as Land Girls while the Orangery border and Cottage Garden will be planted with vegetables as would have been done in WW1 and WW2.

During the Second World War, Chatsworth housed a girls' boarding school, Penrhos College, whose own building had been taken over by the Ministry of Food.  The State Drawing Room will be recreated as a dormitory, complete with beds and the original wardrobe, stored at Chatsworth since the girls moved out in March 1946. A group of alumni from the school are due to be among the first to view the exhibition following an invitation from the Duke of Devonshire.

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