The Nightingale WW1 Project supported by Heritage Lottery Found.
The Nightingale Centre was founded not only as a place for convalescence for returning troops from the First World War but also for female nursing staff that had volunteered to do their bit towards the war effort. We aim to retell the story of those who were sent here and to rediscover the names and faces of the bronze memorial plaques that were discovered in a corner of the cellar. We shall research with volunteers from visiting residents of the Centre, school groups and staff to create a booklet about the histories of those we researched. The aim will be to permanently display the plaques in a prominent position, create a permanent exhibition of the information discovered and record the information for archives of the Centre and the County.
We held Living History Days for young people and provide volunteers with new skills using IT systems for research methods, family and military history researching and creating the displays themselves. A small trail around the grounds and building enables the buildings to be interpreted so that they can be told in the context of a WW1 convalescent home. The Home was constructed in 1931 as a place for convalescing troops and nurses returning from the war in France and other destinations. Nothing has been fully documented about those who stayed here and in some cases had memorial plaques to commemorate the lives of those who stayed here. We have researched records to discover their stories and what happened to them.
Although some individuals are known in their respective locations and home Towns, nothing was known at Hucklow and today's generations will now have the knowledge of what went before them over 100 years ago.
In total so far 15 plaques (with varying information) have been discovered in the cellar along with a number of boxes of prints and photographs. The grant helped to unlock the stories, produce a written booklet about their lives, and produce an exhibition for visitors and schools who visit the Centre to fully understand how the building came to be what it is.
A trail around the Centre has been developed so visitors can appreciate the building and find a sense of place - why it was built and why in Hucklow. Volunteers who supported the project learned new skills in research techniques that will help to sustain the Centre into the future for further projects. The information produced was shared with the local archives and visitors to raise as much awareness as possible about the Centre's origins.
The attendance records of those attending the pre and post 1931 Centre and buildings have yet to be discovered. Research only discovered a record book that recorded visitors from the Towns and Cities. This register mentioned children who had been recommended by their respective sponsors to be sent there for recouperation. What is rather sad about these records is they show an increasing number of children who attended Hucklow and have a parent in the army. One can assume mothers were in the factories taking the place of those men who had gone to fight.
The men named on the memorials would have recognised the early Hucklow buildings and site but weren't fortunate to see the new building opened in 1931.
Captain Hirsch's father officially opened the building as a lasting testament to the men who are named on the plaques.