The Queen's Hall in WWI

Queens Hall Cuckfield

Cuckfield Museum reopened last month with a display looking at the effects of the First World War on those living in the village and how Cuckfield could be seen as  a microcosm for the country as a whole. The title comes from the book by Alan Miller, on sale in the Museum, which looks at Cuckfield in 1917 using local resources like the Mid Sussex Times of the day.

Parish magazines  show the changes in the village month by month. By March 1915, as in many other communities, so many men had volunteered that there was a shortage of labour on the land and parents could apply for labour certificates for their sons to leave school at 12 instead of 14.  By April 1916 a creche was being set up to allow women to help with farm work.

Many women who would before have gone straight from home to marriage, now had the chance to train for work.  We have photos from the album of Olive Turner, the daughter of a well known family, who became a nurse at the VAD hospital set up in the Queen’s Hall, Cuckfield. The photo (above) shows the hall entirely recognisable today but with beds down the side and tables in the centre.  

Read the full story on page 26 of the Mar/Apr 2014 issue.