The Great Estate and the Great War

Throughout the five years of the centenary commemorations of the First World War, the Weston Park Foundation will be marking the anniversary with an exhibition and special ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ tours which will tell the story of the involvement of the Bradford family and the communities of their various estates throughout Britain.

Marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, for each of the five years, The Great Estate & The Great War exhibition, will run in the Granary Art Gallery. Taking each of the diverse estates that were in the family’s custodianship and looking at the impact that War had on the people who lived and worked there.  The exhibition will change each year and will be phased as follows:

2014: Weston-under-Lizard, Blymhill and Tong on the Shropshire \ Staffordshire borders

2015: North Shropshire and Welsh Border Bradford Estate at Knockin, Llanymynech, Blodwell, Llynclys, Morton and Kinnerley

2016: Lancashire estates at Bolton and Wigan

2017: The Walsall Estate

2018: Castle Bromwich Estate

The 2014 exhibition focuses on the three sons of the 4th Earl of Bradford who all found themselves involved in the conflict and one of whom, Commander the Hon. R.O.B Bridgeman R.N who was not to return.  In addition to the family at the big house, the lives of the estate staff and tenants are considered, including Thomas Wynn who fought for the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and died aged just eighteen, and also A/CT Sergeant John Gornall who served with the KSLI and returned to Weston-under-Lizard where he became the village blacksmith.  Photographs and medals bring the stories vividly to life and bring a very human and personal side to this international conflict.

The exhibition has been put together by volunteers at Weston, who have put great enthusiasm into the research with input from the local community.

Gareth Williams, Curator to the Weston Park Foundation and Head of Learning comments: “We have been overwhelmed with the response we had from the local community, who have shared their personal recollections and family treasures, such as medals, with us to put this exhibition together.

The conflict of the First World War is so close and yet is part of the memories of an almost lost generation and so the exhibition and its research has enabled us to assemble and capture some fascinating personal insights connecting to Weston.

We would welcome family stories from anyone with connections with either the Bradford Estate or Weston Park.”

In addition to the exhibition, Weston’s Upstairs, Downstairs:  Behind the Scenes Tours also focus on the impact of the war and gives the opportunities to hear stories and see portraits of the Bradford family who served the country in the conflict.

The Great Estate and the Great War is in the Granary Art Gallery throughout the duration of the commemoration.

Upstairs, Downstairs:  Behind the Scenes Tours take place on selected Sundays during the summer open season.