Museum exhibition to open in Faringdon

A new exhibition ‘Hospital: Faringdon’s Pump House in WWI’ will be opening in the Pump House in Faringdon, from Saturday August 18th 2018, and will run for six months.

The exhibition will feature original items from the Red Cross’s historical collections and items from Oxfordshire Museums’ Service collections as well as previously unseen items from Lord Faringdon’s personal collection at Buscot Park.

Lord Faringdon’s grandmother, Lady Violet Henderson, became a registered Red Cross member in 1907 while nursing her husband, brother, father and uncle, who had been wounded in the Boer War of 1899-1902.  With the onset of war, she offered The Pump House in Faringdon to the Joint War Committee as an Auxiliary Red Cross Hospital. Within months, it had run out of space and had moved to her home, Kitemore House at Shellingford, where she and many others cared for over 242 wounded ‘inmates’ over the next 11 months.

The exhibition is being curated by Faith Carpenter, Director of The Company Curator, with the support of Faringdon Town Council and Buscot Park Estate.

Faith says: “I’m very much looking forward to showing the photographs and stories of those who were recuperating at the convalescent hospitals in Faringdon and Shellingford. It’s only a small exhibition, but we have fascinating photographs, documents and letters from some of the wounded soldiers and sailors, who were troops from many of the Allied countries, and we hope that some of the families in Faringdon will be able to find details of their ancestors”.

Finding details of ancestors will be possible thanks to the exhibition’s most important item – the Admissions and Discharge Book, on loan from Buscot Park, which details every man who stayed at the hospitals, giving his name, rank, wounds and other information.

Members of the Faringdon History Society are undertaking the painstakingly slow work of deciphering the handwritten entries and transcribing them so that visitors can look at an alpahabetical list of men who stayed. The information in the book will also provide a great deal of information about things like types of wounds, length of stay, areas from which the troops came and average ages.

The exhibition will have an associated events and activities scheme, details of which will be available soon.

Faith Carpenter