Derby

Wartime stories from Chatsworth House

Members of the Derbyshire Yeomanry on the estate Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption The Derbyshire Yeomanry held camps and trained in Chatsworth Park. They were billeted to the estate at the outbreak of war

An exhibition telling the story of life at a Peak District stately home during WW1 and WW2 has started.

The Chatsworth House exhibition contains archives, photographs and stories about staff and residents, including those who fought at the Somme and Gallipoli.

It also includes the various roles of the estate as part of the war effort.

Chatsworth was used as a naval hospital, boarding school and training camp for the Derbyshire Yeomanry.

The exhibition features members of the Cavendish family, who fought on the front line.

Charles Mercer Nairne and Lord John Spencer Cavendish, the 9th Duke's brother, were both killed in the early stages of WW1.

Edward Cavendish, who later became the 10th Duke, took part in the Gallipoli campaign and was later invalided back. He was also part of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, for which he received an MBE.

Other members of the family included in the exhibition are William 'Billy' Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, who was heir to the estate. He was killed in action in 1944, shortly after marrying Kathleen Kennedy.

The Cavendish family has also researched the history of current estate staff to discover what role their relatives played in both wars.

Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption Edward Cavendish, who later became the 10th Duke of Devonshire, was invalided back from Gallipoli
Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption Lord William 'Billy' Hartington and Kathleen Kennedy married on 6 May 1944. Their marriage had presented some difficulties as she was a Catholic and he was a Protestant

Park life

Part of the exhibition details how girls from Penrhos College, in Colwyn Bay, Wales, came to stay at the house between 1939 and 1946 after their buildings were acquisitioned by the government.

To launch the show, 48 former pupils from Penrhos College returned to Chatsworth to share their stories and visit their old dormitories.

Nancie Park, who boarded at the house, said: "Seeing the exhibition and the dormitories as they were during the war was amazing and has brought back many memories, both good and bad."

She added: "Despite being caught up in the middle of a war, the four years I spent at Chatsworth were very memorable and I am extremely grateful to Chatsworth for staging the exhibition."

Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption Girls from Penrhos College were able to use one of the estate's frozen lakes for ice skating during World War Two
Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption The dormitory has been restored to how it was during the war, complete with beds and the original wardrobe, stored at Chatsworth since the girls moved out
Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption The state drawing room at Chatsworth, which was originally designed for visiting royals, was used as a dormitory
Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption The building which now houses the estate office was used as a convalescent hospital by the Royal Navy for wounded servicemen

Part of the estate was also used as a convalescent hospital by the Royal Navy for wounded servicemen.

The exhibition, which runs until December, looks at how the estate was used by the Derbyshire Yeomanry, which held camps and trained in Chatsworth Park and were later billeted there at the outbreak of war.

It also tells the story of women as part of the war effort - It includes pictures of Adele Astaire, sister of Fred Astaire, who married Charles Cavendish in 1932.

She worked at the famous Rainbow Club in London during the war, entertaining American troops.

Image copyright Chatsworth House
Image caption Adele Astaire, sister of Fred Astaire, married Charles Cavendish in 1932. She worked at the famous Rainbow Club in London during the war, entertaining American troops

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