Marking the centenary of the outbreak of The Great War in 2014, the “Valiant Hearts: World War One – Woburn and its stories” exhibition at Woburn Abbey explores the roles played by people from the Estate and surrounding villages during the conflict. Our team, who are currently developing the exhibition, want to include stories of local people and their lives during the war.
The exhibition will describe how the 11th Duke of Bedford established and paid for a training garrison, then closely followed the progress of the each of these soldiers throughout the war. Woburn’s archives include letters to the Duke from commanding officers detailing the progress of his trainees as well as many letters from the soldiers themselves. We are hoping to find anybody who knew one of these soldiers, and who might be able to shed light on their personal experiences of the war.
Valiant Hearts will also explore how the Duchess of Bedford converted parts of the Abbey to create one of the most advanced hospitals of the time, treating wounded soldiers returning from the front. Nearly 2500 soldiers passed through the hospital during the war, including members of local families and many patients who went on to settle in the vicinity. If this includes one of your relatives, then we would really like to hear from you.
Within the exhibition, visitors will be able to examine a range of artefacts, photographs and archive materials which will tell the incredible and moving stories of men and women from the area during WWI. Valiant Hearts will conclude with a reflective area depicting the memorial to all the trainees of the Duke’s garrison that stands in Ampthill, allowing visitors to pay their respects to those who gave their lives serving their country.
If you know of somebody who was trained at the Ampthill Garrison, treated or worked at Woburn Abbey or across the Bedford Estate during WWI, then we would be very interested to hear from you. You can get in contact with us by visiting the exhibition page, emailing ValiantHearts@woburn.co.uk or calling 01525 290333.