Convalescence Ward, Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Record ID:  131433 / MNA153334
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: Listed Building
NT Property:  Mount Stewart; Northern Ireland
Civil Parish:  None Recorded
Grid Reference:  SJ 55239 69662
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Summary

Attic rooms over south side of mansion house 131426 with internal arrangements and partitions, including fixtures and fittings for apparent military convalesce ward spanning WW1 and WW2 periods.

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Monument Types

  • MILITARY HOSPITAL (Early 20th C to Mid 20th C - 1914 AD to 1945 AD (between))

Description

Located in attic rooms over south side of mansion house lies remains of internal room arrangement, including fixtures and fittings for an apparent convalesce ward the use of which appears to have spanned both world war periods.

A survey of the attic space was undertaken in 2003 (SNA63041) which revealed that it contains ten rooms many of which were numbered, several of the timber doors even displaying dual numbers; the earlier of WWI script and the later, usually on a square wooden plaque of WWII form. Evidence for paper notices also survived on several doors. One partial example displayed a typed list of soldier’s names.

The single toilet (labelled Room 36) serving the whole attic area, displayed a signage restricting use to ‘Officers’. The painted lettering of WWI form had been subsequently covered over during WWII suggesting the ward was no longer exclusive to officers. Seven of the rooms served as bedrooms for recovering soldiers, one of which contained a timber built prefabrication dividing a larger attic space into two rooms. Within these rooms wooden H frames have survived attached to the walls, or at the very least their former positions can be ascertained by the residual scaring left after their removal. These mark locations for shelfs over beds and various hanging hooks also survive. The number of frames and hooks evident per rooms suggests on average 5 beds to each, at least during the WWII use.

Remains of the original bed frames survive, neatly stacked against the wall in one of the rooms. From their style they would appear to have originated in the WWI period and after suitable storage were re-used during WWII.

The attic also had a bathroom (labelled Room 34), which still contains its cast iron bath. This was accessed through a narrow room (labelled 33) and entered directly from the main corridor. Here washing facilities presumably for clothes and at least two wooden lockers survived. Five wooden lockers also survived adjacent to the fabricated room (labelled 39). Timber used in all the lockers and in Room 39 was externally stained, however the internal face was found to be untreated and occasionally strips of tree bark remained. This reflects both the hurried way in which the fabrications were cut and assembled, as well as perhaps the lack of available craftsmen to undertake the work. Further wartime memorabilia was also found stored away in Room 35, including bandages, bedpans, air-raid warden helmets and even gas masks. Ths collection of memorabilia is the property of Lady Mairi Bury.

References

  • SNA63041 - National Trust Report: M. Conway. 2005. A Survey of Mount Stewart Attic Convalescence Ward.

Designations

  • Listed Building: Mount Stewart & garden walls Mount Stewart Newtownards Co. Down BT22 2RU (HB24/04/052A)

Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

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