Martin Hurst, grandson of renowned physician Sir Arthur Hurst, opened the Healing of the Mind exhibition at the weekend. The fascinating exhibition is to commemorate the centenary of the opening of Seale-Hayne as a neurological military hospital during the First World War and focuses on the work of Sir Arthur Hurst.
Sir Arthur Hurst is famous for his ground breaking and controversial work in his treatment of shell shock victims. The exhibition features old photos, films and documents from that time showing the remarkable work by Hurst and his colleagues and tells the stories of the eleven men whose descendants have recently been discovered. Several descendants of soldiers treated for shell shock at Seale-Hayne Military Hospital had helped with information for the exhibition and attended the opening. Basketry expert Hilary Burns was also at the opening and demonstrated the basket making skills that the WW1 soldiers learnt when they were convalescing.
Ray Bartlett, Chairman of the Seale-Haynians Alumni Club and exhibition organiser, said “In the Great War, especially during the Battle of the Somme, thousands of men broke down with war neurosis, so-called shell-shock. Soldiers afflicted were scattered in temporary hospitals throughout the UK where they languished because most medical staff had never encountered it before and there was no agreed treatment. At Seale-Hayne, the remarkable Lt Col Arthur Hurst and his colleagues freed men of their frightful movement disorders and other “hysterical” afflictions often in under an hour. The story of Seale-Hayne Military Hospital has remained relatively unknown outside Devon, until recently. It is hoped this exhibition will go some way to enable this remarkable story to be more widely recognised”.
Free entry. Open 10am-4pm until April 28th.