Long Melford: Clocks turned back to First World War era

Long Melford Hall hosts an event celebrating the work of the Red Cross during the Second World War. Long Melford Hall hosts an event celebrating the work of the Red Cross during the Second World War.

Monday, August 18, 2014
8:14 AM

A snapshot of a Suffolk village in the throes of war has been faithfully recreated by National Trust volunteers.

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The modern day equivalent of a Red Cross community day, which was originally held in 1915 and described in the diary of a young local woman, was held in the grounds of Melford Hall yesterday afternoon.

The idea was to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and to give a taste of how the village community was thrown into disarray by the outbreak of the conflict.

The original event was held at Brome Hall gardens in Suffolk, on July 27, 1915.

Staff at Melford Hall based their recreation on information they discovered on a poster for the event, which was stuck in the scrapbook of Stephanie Hyde-Parke – the only daughter of the Rev Sir William and Lady Hyde Parker who lived at the stately home at the time.

Yesterday, visitors to the hall were able to see Red Cross nurses working hard towards the war effort and soldiers preparing to leave for the battle front.

Suitable afternoon refreshments of cucumber sandwiches, slices of cake and tea were served as the crowds listened to tunes from the wartime era performed by Long Melford Silver Band. The Kilted Tommy also performed a monologue written especially for Melford Hall.

Meanwhile inside the hall there was also a chance to view pages of Stephanie Hyde-Parker’s scrapbook-come-diary, which provided the inspiration for the event.

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