Martin Hurst, the grandson of Sir Arthur Hurst, the remarkable doctor who treated shell–shocked soldiers at Seale-Hayne Neurological Military Hospital in WW1, visited Hannahs at Seale-Hayne for the first time recently. He was there to film a programme about his grandfather for the BBC.
Sir Arthur Hurst treated his patients with a unique and very effective method of “persuasion and re-education”. Martin Hurst has discovered documents from WW1 in his grandfather’s archives including some very poignant letters of heartfelt gratitude from soldiers cured of their awful shell-shock bodily contortions, some of whom had been paraplegic and mute for up to two years.
Ray Bartlett, Chair of the old Seale-Haynians said “Martin said it was a very emotional visit and he felt very proud of his grandfather’s achievements. He was very impressed with the wonderful building and could see why it was chosen by his grandfather. Referring to Seale-Hayne now he said that the whole place exudes cheerfulness and optimism”.
Following the recent WWI Exhibition held in the Great Hall at Seale-Hayne, Hannahs is now working on three arts based projects to commemorate the 100 years since WW1 and the role Seale-Hayne, as a military hospital, played during this time. These initiatives will take place at various points over the 4 year period to 2018.
A fantastic project, building on Hannahs initial work in augmented reality, will see an artist in residence using incredible technology to recreate elements of Seale-Hayne as they would have been during wartime. There will be an exhibition of works by a former patient who set up a series of craft studios similar to those at Seale-Hayne today and a new play has just been written about Seale-Hayne which begins in September 1914 and, subject to funding, will be produced in Summer / Autumn 2015.