Wardown V.A.D. Hospital

Wardown Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) Hospital occupied the building that is now Wardown Park Museum.

It first opened as an army run Hospital in October 1914, and was used by the North Midland Division for the reception of their sick, under the care of a trained Sister and a staff of local V.A.D. nurses. Military Medical Officers administering the more in depth medical procedures. Mrs Nora K. Durler was Joint Commandant with Mrs Mary. A. Green.

Soldiers relaxing outside Wardown V.A.D. Hospital

The picture above was taken in 1918 and shows wounded soldiers and staff sat outside the south front of Wardown House. The Officer seated in the centre of the photo' is unknown, but sitting to his left (our right) are Mary Green and Nora Durler. To his right (our left) are Sister Hobbs, Elsie Green and Winifred Green.

Copyright Luton News/Culture Trust C40541.

After a fortnight spent in cleaning, repairing, and whitewashing, the first patient was admitted on December 1st 1914.

When the North Midland Brigade departed for France in late October 1914, the building remained in military occupation until it was handed over fully to  No'.12 and No' 14 Bedfordshire Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross Society (hence civilians) on November 8th 1915. It was used, as a hospital for the reception both of wounded from the active fronts, and of sick troops billeted locally. 

The hospital staff commemorated their wartime work at a 'closure party' in May 1919, and red cross staffing records indicate the nurses had their duties terminated on the 25th March 1919. An exact date of closure and handover to the council has not been established as of the time of writing.