Dalemain and the Great War

Echoes of the Great War still resonate today. Its impact was not just the sheer loss of life but through a social challenge to the old Victorian hierarchy. Country houses are particularly useful as a visible example of this change. The modernisation made possible by technical advances during the war also had an impact. For Dalemain, and country houses more generally, the war would come to represent a turning point in the way that people lived in such houses.

There are three distinct stages at Dalemain during the First World War. These are punctuated by ownership: first, John and Maude Hasell; second, Canon George and Helen; and third, Captain Edward and Gertrude. These roughly represent before, during and after the war. A fourth aspect to the exhibition is how the war challenged social order and thus had a longer term impact on the future of Dalemain. In order to commemorate the anniversary of 100 years since the First World War, Dalemain is holding two exhibitions, which will be on display as part of the house tour throughout 2017 & 2018.

Dalemain & the Great War
This photographic exhibition was designed by Robert Hasell-McCosh and his son George. It gives an insight into how the Great War had an impact on life at home and with specific reference to Dalemain. The photographs show life as it was in the Edwardian period up to 1914, then progress to the war years showing among other things convalescent soldiers at Penrith’s St Andrew’s Rooms and on a day out at Dalemain. Finally it demonstrates how the war had changed everyday life from the somewhat formal life before 1914 to the ‘roaring twenties’, the young wishing to erase the horrors of what they had just come through. Looking at the many photographs gives a fascinating visual interpretation of that time, a hundred years ago, from ladies in the carriage before the war; cleaning the coach; a man playing tennis; the trap outside the front door with John Hasell and the coachman, Thomson; the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry and the Red Cross cart; and an expedition in a car in the early 1920s.

Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry
The exhibition, which recounts the story of the Yeomanry, can also be seen as part of the tour through Dalemain. This volunteer corpse, comprised of many local families, was raised in 1819 to prevent civil unrest in the absence of an effective police force. They were called upon to quell Chartist riots and fought in the Boer War before serving in the Great War.

The Hasell family have served in the Yeomanry from the start and one of the troops of cavalry was the Dalemain Troop. Colonel Edward Hasell commanded the regiment for many years and his grandson Captain Edward Hasell served throughout the Great War. Visitors will learn about the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry’s experiences in the war, which were many and varied, including being dismounted and their horses replaced with bicycles in 1916, cavalry having no place in the new, mechanised warfare. They then spent the next two years in the trenches as the 7th Battalion the Border Regiment, taking a forward position in the German Spring offensive in March 1918.

Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens is open Sunday – Thursday until 26th October 2017. The House is open 10.30am – 3.30pm with tours throughout the day. The tour visits the World War exhibition and the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry exhibition, and the guides will be delighted to provide visitors with further information.

‘Better By Far a Cumberland Hussar’ A History of the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry by Colin Bargett is available from Dalemain. Hardback – £12.95 Paperback – £7.95

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