First World War history of Cuerden Hall on sale

First published in News Preston and Leyland Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

An unusual album filled with photographs, letters and news cuttings that tell the story of how Cuerden Hall in Bamber Bridge was turned into a hospital for troops in the First World War is currently being offered for sale.

The battered brown album showing Cuerden Hall Auxiliary Hospital is on the internet auction site Ebay with its sale set to conclude on Thursday.

Handwritten captions detail life at the stately home and give fascinating insights into the bravery of some of the patients from the time of the hospital’s opening on 1st May 1915 until the departure of the Matron on 8th June 1917.

The house, which is now a Sue Ryder Care Home, is shown adapted for the war with Drawing Rooms turned into wards, yet with the Tatton family’s picture collection of old masters and portraits still hanging on the walls.

The mansion’s park and gardens evidently played a large part in the convalescence of the soldiers, with boating expeditions on the lake, and haymaking, whilst picnics and visits to the Tatton family’s other house at Astley Hall, Chorley, are also recorded.

The album is being offered for sale by Gareth Williams, a private collector of antiquarian books from Shropshire who acquired it with a group of topographical books about Lancashire and Cheshire from a sale at Chester in the mid 1990s.

He said: “The album has always fascinated me, capturing as it does an extraordinary moment in history – a group of men brought from conflict to the safety of an English country house and an English country estate which was used to the tranquil provision of a home to one privileged family and their friends that has found itself playing an essential part in a world conflict.

It is a fascinating historical document which will mean a great deal more to someone with a tangible link to the scenes that are shown than it does to me, hence my decision to sell.

"It is a fantastic document of social history which deserves better than being idle on the shelves of a private collection that has no association with the very real lives that are shown in it."

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