Luton Hoo, country home of Lady Alice Wernher, played a crucial role in World War One. From the outset it became a military headquarters, and was also used as a convalescent home for officers.
In 1914, Luton Hoo Park was the setting for two major military reviews, first by King George V on September 18th and then by Lord Kitchener on September 29th. In February 1915 the War Office and Lord Kitchener accepted Lady Wernher's offer of the use of part of the park and a lake as a military training area.
It was diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher, a much-travelled man who married Lady Wernher in 1888, who gave the 18th Century Luton Hoo mansion its later familiar appearance. He bought the estate in 1903 and decided to give the house a continental look by employing French architects and craftsmen to make drastic alterations.
On the outside, sash windows gave way to continental-style casements and a large attic floor was added. Inside, a new marble hall and grand stairs were created and the principal rooms were decorated in French style. The work was completed by 1907, five years before Sir Julius died.
The pictures below show how Luton Hoo mansion looked before and after Sir Julius' alterations.