Park Hall, just outside of Oswestry was once the location of one of the most impressive Tudor buildings in the country. The original manor house was built by Thomas Powell around 1600 on the lands of Whittington Castle.
During the First World War the owner of the Park Hall estate, Major Wynne Corrie, gave Park Hall over to the military as their local headquarters. In 1915 a military camp was built on the site to train soldiers, as was a military hospital with 866 beds. This was extended onto the site of Oldport Farm, with the area to the east of Oswestry Hillfort being used for excavating trenches and using explosives.
In July 1915, the first 4,000 troops of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the Cheshire regiment arrived at the Hall. They disembarked at Whittington Station and marched to the camp. Initially 14,000 troops were stationed there, which had risen to 21,000 troops within a fortnight. As well as training on the Park Hall site the soldiers also trained on the Old Oswestry Hillfort nearby.
A railway halt was built at the camp to make it easier for the soldiers to arrive for training and to depart for leave or to go to war. The camp was in constant use throughout the war, training and dispatching troops to the Front. On Boxing Day 1918 the manor house was burned to the ground by an electrical fire. At the end of World War One the camp fell into disrepair. After the death on Major Wynne Corrie in 1920 the camp was handed over to the War Office. It was used again during the Second World War.
The hospital, however, continued to be used and became the new home of the Baschurch Convalescent and Surgical Home, run by Dame Agnes Hunt. It was opened in 1921 and renamed the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital. In 1933 it was renamed again as the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital and is now world renowned and pioneering centre of orthopaedic care and rehabilitation.
Here are some of the women working at Park Hall Military Hospital during WW1:
Mary Constance Lloyd, Dora Bailey, Gladys Beaumont, Agnes Brookes Ada Browne, Helen Browne, GM Burgess, Georgina Cook, Gladys Derwas, Wilhemena Dodson, Annie Hardy, Evangaline Jones, Margaret E Jones, Louise M Lacy, Mary Lacon, Nora Lacon, Elizabeth Lee, Gertrude Minshall, Annie F Morris, HM Parry, Edythe C Perinot, Jessie Pugh, Mabel Emily Rees, Muriel Rogers, NE Wilcox, Alice Wild, Gertrude Williams.