Wrest Hospital Fire

Event date

16th September 1916


Entity info.

Wrest House in Silsoe, Bedfordshire was built in 1834-39 & was the home of the de Grey family.

During the First World War it was used as a Military hospital at the request of the owner, 9th Baron Lucas, who stipulated that it was to be used for ordinary soldiers, not for officers.

The Honourable Miss Auberon Herbert was in charge of the hospital & Dr Kirkwood was the Medical Officer, they & their staff looked after & treated many wounded soldiers, as many as 60 at a time. The wards were in formal rooms in the centre of the house, which were originally used for dining, entertaining & reading in the library.

On 14th September 1916 a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms at the top of the house. It is believed that the faulty boiler below sent sparks up the chimney which then ignited the many timbers in the room & then the roof. As well as the Wrest estate fire brigade, 8 more where needed from the surrounding areas to help with the enormity of the fire, Luton brigade came to the alarm call.

A full & detailed account of this was reported in the Luton News on 21st September 1916.

www.bbc.co.uk has some interesting information about Wrest as part of their project, World War One at Home.

Event Place

Author: KarenC

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments