Seale-Hayne Neurological Military Hospital an appeal for information

Later this year the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, which now owns the former Seale-Hayne Agricultural College, will be starting an event to commemorate the contribution that Seale-Hayne made to the First World War effort and by uncanny heritage, how those events have resonance with Hannahs objectives today.

The Seale-Haynians (alumni) Club are assisting by trying to trace descendants of the patients and staff who were at Seale-Hayne Military Hospital in the hope they may hold photographs and correspondence of their forebear’s experiences. We plan with contributors’ permission, to have these records for viewing and to make a reference library.

For 15 months from April 1918, Seale-Hayne Agricultural College was offered to the War Office and became Seale-Hayne Neurological Military Hospital. It was the only specialist hospital in the country treating privates and NCO’s afflicted by Shell-Shock. Around 300 of the most refractory patients were moved to Seale-Hayne.

The distinguished neurologist and physician at Guy’s Hospital, Sir Arthur Hurst, was commissioned to become O/C at Seale-Hayne. He was a remarkable man and used completely novel, innovative methods of “persuasion and re-education”. His results were spectacular and effected apparently “miracle cures”, sometimes within hours. By good fortune, examples of his work at Seale-Hayne were recorded on film, much of it quite harrowing, by Pathe Bros. “Seale-Hayne Military Hospital” can be viewed on You Tube.

Now, nearly 100 years later, Hannahs at Seale-Hayne has come “full circle” as an inspiration for helping people with a range of disabilities by using education and innovative methods, just as Sir Arthur Hurst did all those years ago. Moreover, the Warrior Group, which helps today’s soldiers affected by PTSD meets at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne; history repeating itself.

If anyone reading this article has forebears who were in any way connected with Seale-Hayne Military Hospital and has any records, we would be very pleased to hear from them. We can be contacted by leaving a message on our website