In the two world wars of this century Ragley Hall was offered as a hospital. The present Marquess was only nine years old in the Second World War when his mother was appointed as Commandant to the hospital in her own house. She was already the president of the local Red Cross. This war hospital had a special function -- it looked after soldiers with a skin disease caused by wearing khaki uniform - an allergy to the dye used therein.
About a hundred people filled the Hall; soldiers, staff and family members. Not all the rooms were available to patients and staff; several were crammed with furniture and works of art and placed out of bounds.
Although the Marquess remembers the hospital as far from glamorous, the soldiers sent here must have been surprised to find themselves in such a dignified house, with beautiful grounds to explore.
As the Marquess grew to maturity, he found that crippling death duties threatened the Hall and the estate. Eventually, his staunch fight to save his home succeeded and in 1956 he and his new wife took up permanent residence: Ragley Hall has remained a family home but with a much reduced estate.
We would like to hear from anyone who was a patient or a member of staff at Ragley in World War II.
Autumn 1992 Index
© G.E.Saville 1992