Tag Archives: William Hulton

A musical interlude – April 1916

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

Although the war had brought dramatic changes for Teresa, many aspects of her life went on as they had before the war. In particular, her interest in music persisted. In April 1916 Teresa was invited to a dinner party given by Edith, Countess Rucellai and she was asked to play the piano to entertain everyone as she had often done before the war.

Teresa (left) and her sister Gioconda (right) in their home in Venice, early 1900s.

Teresa (left) and her sister Gioconda (right) in their home in Venice, early 1900s.

Teresa was a skilled musician and had been trained as a professional concert pianist. At the age of fifteen she became the pupil of the admired Swiss pianist Fraulein Wilhelmina Adler in Munich, Germany. She had to practise for three hours a day and had two piano lessons daily. In 1907 she returned to Venice where she became the pupil of Baron Giorgio Franchetti.

The Rucellai family, who invited Teresa to play in April 1916, had been friends of the Hultons since before the war. Letters in the archives show that they often sent donations to the war hospitals where Teresa worked.

Nurses, staff and patients at the Infermeria Britannica (British Hospital) in Florence, Italy, 1916.

Nurses, staff and patients at the Infermeria Britannica (British Hospital) in Florence, Italy, 1916.

As well as donations of items like sheets and bandages, war hospitals needed food supplies for the wounded soldiers. British Red Cross V.A.D. members worked as cooks in British Military Hospitals in places like Genoa, Bordighera, Cremona, Arquata Scrivia and Taranto. On average they prepared and served 40,000 meals per month. Dishes for the recovering soldiers included jellies, broth, custard and chicken soufflé.

Teresa (centre) with Contessa Carafa (left) and Mrs Nott (right), Joanniz, in the Udine province of northern Italy, May 1917.

Teresa (centre) with Contessa Carafa (left) and Mrs Nott (right), Joanniz, in the Udine province of northern Italy, May 1917.

Food was prepared for the canteen where Teresa worked at Cervignano by an Italian man, Ernesto. Photographs of him survive in Teresa’s wartime photograph album.

Photos of Ernesto in the Zona di Guerra 1916-1918 album.

Photos of Ernesto in the Zona di Guerra 1916-1918 album.

Click here to see a short British Pathé film of a railway station canteen.

Click here to see a film about lunchtime in a hospital in Southport, Lancashire.

Teresa’s uncle, Gino Villari, the half-brother of her mother, begun a new army post in Salonika, Greece. Her father wrote to her giving her Gino’s new address, although he added that he was ‘uncertain as to whether [Gino] will be comfortable in his new post.’

Luigi (Gino) Villari on horseback, Salonika, January 1918.

Luigi (Gino) Villari on horseback, Salonika, January 1918.

Teresa’s sister, Gioconda, was not enjoying her new job as a secretary in the Admiralty Intelligence Division in London. Gioconda complained that she had not been paid for her work and received few days off.

Gioconda, Florence, February 1916.

Gioconda, Florence, February 1916.

The Hulton family were also beset by the worry that the Austrian-Hungarian army would destroy Venice before the end of the war. Teresa’s father, William Hulton, wrote in a letter that he thought it might be a good idea to deposit valuables elsewhere.

William Stokes Hulton, Venice, 1907.

William Stokes Hulton, Venice, 1907.

 

Lord Berwick (1877-1947)

In 1916 Lord Berwick was working as an Honorary Secretary to the British Embassy in Paris, but he had kept military books that he bought before and at the beginning of the war when he was in the Shropshire Yeomanry.

Advertisements for military publications and waterproofs in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

Advertisements for military publications and waterproofs in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

One particularly interesting book is Company Drill Illustrated (1914) which includes illustrations of commands and signals that Lord Berwick would have used in the Yeomanry.

Commands and signals in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

Commands and signals in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

The book is currently kept in the Inner Library at Attingham Park. Inside it is a paper with a list of questions that a commander should ask himself before attack. This was possibly left as a bookmark by Lord Berwick.

This book also includes many advertisements. These range from advertisements for pyjamas, a series of military books, coal-tar shaving soap and waterproof clothing to an advertisement for Turkish Baths in London guaranteed to ease illnesses associated with serving in the war.

Advertisement for pyjamas in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

Advertisement for pyjamas in Company Drill Illustrated, 1914.

 

Attingham

The Van Bergens, who were Lord Berwick’s tenants at Attingham during the war, were especially concerned for the welfare of wounded soldiers. As well as suggesting that Attingham was used as a war hospital the Van Bergens took a great interest in the Royal Salop Infirmary in Shrewsbury.

The Van Bergen family, c.1917.

The Van Bergen family, c.1917.

Mrs Van Bergen was on the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee whilst Mr Van Bergen was involved with the committee weekly board, the finance committee and the committee for appointing medical staff. The Van Bergens also donated ten guineas to the Royal Salop Infirmary. The Infirmary is now the Parade shopping centre. For more information and for images, please click this link.

Lord Berwick’s Land Agent, Louis Dease, was asked by the Government to use wood from the Attingham estate to help to supply railway sleepers to be sent to France for railway lines.

The egg collection set up to provide eggs for use in Shropshire war hospitals was going well with 67,110 eggs collected in 1916.

World War One egg collection poster. © IWM (Art.IWM PST 10833)

World War One egg collection poster. © IWM (Art.IWM PST 10833)

For 2016 the Walled Garden team at Attingham put on a display about food production during the war. They grew WW1 varieties of vegetables and there were even some hens to see!

 

 


Summer holidays – July 1915

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

Although Italy was at war, Teresa still found time to have a much needed break. She visited the beautiful Appenine mountains, most likely on a trip with her family as no correspondence was sent to her from them during July. The Hultons often visited beautiful places around Italy where Teresa’s father, William Hulton, could paint. A letter of the 21st of July shows that Teresa was staying at Hotel Abetina Saltino, Vallombrosa.

Increasing casualties overseas led to the British Red Cross sending many V.A.D.s to work abroad in mid-1915. They were given an inspirational message written by their Commandant-in-Chief, Katharine Furse. On the back of this message was a prayer by Rachel Crowdy, Principal Commandant in France. To see the message and prayer, please click here.

V.A.D. apron in IWM collection.

V.A.D. apron in IWM collection. © IWM (UNI 12338)

Lord Berwick (1877-1947)

 In July 1914, Lord Berwick was working as an Honorary Secretary to the British Embassy in Paris. However, he had retained many of his books and papers relating to his training in the Shropshire Yeomanry, which he re-joined later in the war. These books are now kept in the Inner Library at Attingham and the somewhat battered, water-stained appearance of many of the books testifies to them being well-used.

Lord Berwick's military books

Lord Berwick’s military books.

One of the earliest of these military books that he possessed was Regulations for the Imperial Yeomanry, published in 1903 shortly after he joined the Shropshire Yeomanry.

Regulations for the Imperial Yeomanry, 1903

Regulations for the Imperial Yeomanry, 1903.

Lord Berwick also carried with him Field Report books. There are a number of these remaining and they would have been used by Lord Berwick to make notes which could be dispatched to other members of the regiment. Two of them have striking brightly coloured marbled front pages.

Field Report books, unknown date.

Field Report books, unknown date.

Another important book was the Field Service book. One dated 1913 has a type written list of names of men in two platoons tucked in the front. Lord Berwick’s name is at the top of the list and some of the men seem to have been divided into four groups judging by the numbers written beside them. The date of this list is not known but since Lord Berwick does not appear to have owned another Field Service book until 1917 it is likely that it is dated from the First World War. Certainly many of the men named would have fought during the war.

List of men in platoon.

List of men in platoon.

Lord Berwick evidently took his duties seriously and owned many military instruction manuals. These include a Manual of Map Reading and Field Sketching dated 1914. This map includes many illustrations and diagrams, for example, of how to draw a panorama for use from a military position.

Manual of Map Reading and Field Sketching, 1914.

Manual of Map Reading and Field Sketching, 1914.

In the same series was the 1914 Manual of Elementary Military Hygiene. This dealt with subjects such as disease, sanitation, water, food, clothing, equipment, physical training and marching, instructing soldiers to keep mentally occupied on a march by singing and whistling.

Manual of Elementary Military Hygiene, 1914.

Manual of Elementary Military Hygiene, 1914.

In addition to military handbooks, Lord Berwick also enjoyed some lighter reading. During the war, Adela Dugdale of Terrick Hall near Whitchurch sent Lord Berwick a copy of Vernede’s war poems.

Attingham

The convalescent hospital established at Attingham was busy over the summer of 1915. The impeding arrival of wounded soldiers would be announced by telegram so that help could be prepared for them. Like most V.A.D. hospitals, the hospital at Attingham held regular teas and concerts to keep up morale. Summer was an ideal time to hold such fund-raising events.

Soldiers and nurses outside the Outer Library at the Attingham hospital, c.1917.

Soldiers and nurses outside the Outer Library at the Attingham hospital, c.1917.

Although both in Britain and Italy women were being called upon for war work, some felt that more women could be helping. The 21st of July saw the ‘Women’s March Through London’ in which 30,000 women marched along the streets carrying banners demanding that they be allowed to do war work. Letters to Teresa Hulton show that early in the war many women had to face the prejudice that work was not suitable for them.

In the Shropshire countryside, with male farm labourers leaving, women were called upon to do agricultural labour. The fodder for the mules and horses in the Attingham stables would have probably been collected by the Women’s Forage Corps. To read further information on the Women’s Forage Corps, please click here and scroll down to section 3. To see an object in the Imperial War Museum’s collection connected with the Women’s Forage Corps, please click here. To see an example of a large Remount Depot with members of the Forage Corps, please click here.

Attingham Stables, 1925.

Attingham Stables, 1925.


Troubled times – November 1914

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

Despite its huge size the Aldwych centre, were Teresa worked at the start of the war, was full of refugees by November. Teresa played a vital role in helping refugees find work and dealt with travel expenses as refugees were moved all over Britain. Other refugees stayed in London with many finding work in armaments factories near Edmonton, north London.

Teresa was clearly much loved by the refugees that she helped. It must have been satisfying for her to receive many ‘thank you’ letters from refugees telling her how pleased they were in the situations that she had found for them.

Wounded Belgians in a Scottish hospital were also grateful for her help in finding their relatives. Many letters in our archive from the refugees are written in French. Teresa’s fluency in this language must have helped her communicate with the refugees and would have been reassuring to them in a foreign land. Members of the Interpreting Department of the Women’s Emergency Corps were often sent to help the Belgian refugees communicate with people in Britain.

Belgian refugees leaving Ypres, 2nd November 1914.

Belgian refugees leaving Ypres, 2nd November 1914. © IWM (Q 53383)

Despite this, the vast amount of work left Teresa tired. She wrote to her sister, Gioconda, explaining her busy daily routine:

this work at the Rink [Aldwych Centre] is so hard & finding that I come home quite exhausted and after dinner have to write letters and organise the refugee’s business. I go off at about 20 past 9 + from the moment I arrive at Aldwych am up to my eyes in work + besieged by refugees all clamouring to be allocated – we can just snatch half an hour for lunch… then go back to work again & never stop till 7! Then home, change, dinner & refugee correspondence interspersed with political discussions with darling Lady Wenlock who is so keen & insists on entering into long conversations when I am trying to write. I crawl off to bed about half past 10 or 11. I am so tired I simply cannot think to write! Irene comes back from Eastwick in a day or two & then I mean to work less hard at the Rink- for I have been in her place all this time.’

Teresa Hulton at a writing desk in her family home in Venice, 1913.

Teresa Hulton at a writing desk in her family home in Venice, 1913.

 

Another problem for Teresa was the Hulton’s financial situation. Allowances for all members of the family were cut because her father, William Hulton, had invested in Deutchsbank when in Munich and his investments were going badly. Her mother, Costanza, explained that the family annual income was reduced from £925.00 to£583.00 and that it might not be possible for them to afford to continue living in their Venetian home.

 

Teresa’s income from refugee work was helpful and she told Gioconda that she had ‘heaps of money and never any time for shopping!’ She wished that her sister could join her but lack of money and the war made this difficult. Instead she advised Gioconda to ‘work at the Red Cross work this winter in Florence.’ She commented: ‘I bitterly regret not to have done any of that.’

Gioconda, Teresa and their friend, Mary in St Marks Square, Venice, 1914.

Gioconda, Teresa and their friend, Mary in St Marks Square, Venice, 1914. Mary was Teresa’s close Hungarian friend and many letters from Mary remain in the Attingham archive.

Gioconda took her sister’s advice and wrote that she and her mother, Costanza, were thinking of beginning a course in Red Cross instruction. Feeling that the workload as a nurse would be less overwhelming for Teresa, Costanza suggested that she undertake a nursing course at Guy’s hospital, where Teresa’s friend Lady Helen Vincent was training to become a nurse. Costanza advised Teresa that a ‘woman who has small but chronic disability, like your headaches, is a fit person to be a nurse.’

 

Attingham

Although many local people were fond of the Attingham tenants, the Van Bergens, others were suspicious of the Dutch-American family. When two nephews came to visit the Van Bergens and took photographs of the view from the roof of Attingham many people thought that the boys were spies.

Attingham Hall during the early 1900s. View towards the west side of the house.

Attingham Hall during the early 1900s. View towards the west side of the house.

Besides the hospital that had been set up in the house, other areas of the Attingham estate were put to use for the war effort. The War Office used the stables rent free as stabling for remounts. Mules were trained to send overseas to the Front. In 1919 a detailed compensation claim for dilapidations caused to the stables at Attingham and Cronkhill was made for £584 10s 3d including £2 5s to ‘Renew linings to windows gnawed by mules.’ £500 was offered and the claim was settled.

The Stables at Attingham Park. Photographed by Country Life in 1921.

The Stables at Attingham Park. Photographed by Country Life in 1921.

 


A spoke in the wheel – August 1914

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

On the 4th of August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. Germany had invaded Belgium, violating the country’s neutrality. When Britain’s entry into the war was announced, Teresa was in London visiting her Aunt Mary and friends Lillian Trelawny and her sister, Maud.

Although the war was to have a momentous impact on Teresa’s life, at first, the Hultons did not seem to realise how serious the situation was and continued with their normal lives. Teresa’s 24th birthday fell on the 6th of August. Her sister, Gioconda, sent a list of friends to visit in London and Wales before she left Britain to begin a motoring trip around France.

Teresa in a car in the 1920s

Teresa in a car in the 1920s

However, as the situation worsened it was decided that the excursion in France should be cancelled. Gioconda wrote jokingly to her sister, still not fully taking in the severity of the situation:

‘On the whole if anything can make up for the disappointment of not starting on your motor trip, you should feel proud that the occasion has proved to be nothing short of the famous and much predicted inter-European complication & that the cataclysm predicted for 1916 has been anticipated by two years to put a spoke into your wheel!’

In the same letter, Gioconda humorously pictures that when they next meet after the destruction of war it shall be ‘in some cave, each of us wearing the relic of what was once a dress & tiring of bilberries & lizards. No part of the world will be safe except the island of Tristan da Cunha which even the seagulls disdain.’

 

Whilst Britain was preparing for war, Italy enjoyed advantages as a neutral country. Gioconda wrote that whilst Teresa sees ‘only very biased accounts of the war- here, as the country is still neutral, the correspondence is excellent & comes from every part,’ although ‘one has to pick one’s way through the various so-called official reports like a skilled acrobat.’

Italian flag in the Attingham collection

Italian flag in the Attingham collection

 

Later in the month, Gioconda suggested to her sister that war work in England might be a ‘lucrative occupation,’ especially helpful as the Hulton’s financial situation was worsening. The family found their income, much of which had been invested when in Munich, nearly halved. The idea also appealed to Teresa’s practical and compassionate nature and the pitiful sight of droves of Belgian refugees arriving in London may have inspired her to help them.

 

 

Lord Berwick (1877-1947)

Following the outbreak of the First World War, Lord Berwick, aged 37, was stationed for six months with the Shropshire Yeomanry at Morpeth in Northumberland. He had been attached to the Shropshire Yeomanry since 1900 but worked at the British Embassy in Paris between 1903 and 1911. The Shropshire Yeomanry had its origins in the French Wars of 1783-1815 and was initially designed as a mounted ‘Home Guard’ to serve in times of unrest. The men were generally workers on the landed estates and the officers were country landowners.

On 4th August 1914, Lord Berwick received a letter from the Yeomanry:

‘As you have probably seen, the Yeomanry are mobilising. The Colonel has given you the vacant place. Could you turn up at Shrewsbury as soon as you can.’

Lord Berwick and the Shropshire Yeomanry

Lord Berwick and the Shropshire Yeomanry

 

Attingham

In Shropshire, plans were under way that would be the beginning of Attingham’s role as a war hospital where sick and wounded soldiers could recuperate. At a meeting held in Shrewsbury shortly after the outbreak of war, Captain Harry Antony Van Bergen, the tenant at Attingham offered the house to the Red Cross as a convalescent hospital. Lord Berwick agreed, although he was concerned that smoking might damage the decorated ceilings.

Harry Van Bergen was a Captain in the Kings Royal Rifle Ref and fought in France from 1914 to 1915, being awarded the Burma Star. Before tenanting Attingham, Van Bergen had lived in Paris where, with a friend Dr Magnin, he created the American Hospital Association in 1906. This aimed to offer expatriates access to American-trained doctors. In 1909 a new 24 bed hospital opened in Neuilly-sur-Seine. During WW1 the hospital provided a volunteer ambulance service which helped over 10,000 allied soldiers.

Captain Van Bergen and his wife at Attingham

Captain Van Bergen and his wife at Attingham

Ethel Benbow, who grew up at Home Farm on the Attingham estate, recalled the Van Bergens:

‘Henry Van Bergen went into the war hoping that ‘his son wouldn’t have to go after him. It would save him. So we didn’t see a tremendous lot of him because he joined up. But she was extremely nice.’

Men and a donkey at the Attingham hospital c.1917

Men and a donkey at the Attingham hospital c.1917

 


On the eve of war – July 1914

Welcome to the first of our blog posts about Attingham’s WWI stories where we will post photographs and quotes from archive material about the Attingham estate, the hospital, Lord Berwick’s war work and the life of Teresa Hulton who became Lady Berwick in 1919.

 

Teresa Hulton (1890-1972)

July 1914 was to find 23 year-old Teresa Hulton later wife of the 8th Lord Berwick, visiting relatives in England. Little did she know that she was at the beginning of a journey that would see her courageously accomplishing war work in England and Italy. It was to be a time of hardship, loss, poignancy, joy and humour, and would ultimately shape her into the careful and kind-hearted saviour of Attingham Park.

Teresa’s family home was in Venice, Italy, where she had grown up with her English father, William Stokes Hulton, her half-Italian mother, Costanza and her elder sister Gioconda. Born Edith Teresa Hulton in 1890, she later preferred the name Teresa. Her family called her ‘Bim’ from the Venetian baby word ‘Bimbele’.

Her father was an artist who enjoyed painting excursions in the Italian countryside. The family entertained the artists John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Marie Stillman and Lisa Stillman.

In 1903 the Hulton family moved to Munich, Germany, where Teresa took piano lessons and was trained as a professional pianist and became fluent in several languages. Teresa lived a cosmopolitan lifestyle with her many friends from the aristocracy of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When war broke out the family found themselves having acquaintances on both sides.

Teresa playing the piano accompanied by her sister Gioconda on the violin.

Teresa playing the piano accompanied by her sister Gioconda on the violin.

Despite her privileged lifestyle, Teresa was encouraged by her godmother to acquire dress-making and cooking skills. In the years preceding the war Teresa enjoyed a life of genteel entertainments in Italy, Hungary and Austria.

Letters from early 1914 show that Teresa loved attending and giving tea parties, playing tennis, going to concerts, exhibitions, bridge parties, balls and fêtes. As an accomplished pianist, she was often asked to play at friends’ dinner parties.

In May 1914 Teresa had gone to England to visit friends and family. Her beauty and talent brought her many admirers and her mother, Costanza, was concerned that by going to England Teresa would lose the possibility of two chances of marriage in Venice.

Lord Berwick (1877-1947)

However, Teresa’s future husband was to be Thomas, the 8th Lord Berwick, who Teresa had met before the war and with whom she corresponded throughout the war years.

Lord Berwick in his 20s or 30s.

Lord Berwick in his 20s or 30s.

Thomas Noel-Hill had inherited Attingham in 1897 upon the death of his uncle the 7th Lord Berwick. Thomas had been orphaned when he was eleven and he and his sister, Mary Selina, were brought up by relations. They occasionally visited Harriet, their grandmother on their father’s side, and their aunts, Selina and Anne, who lived at Cronkhill, a delightful Italianate villa on the Attingham estate. Thomas went on to study the Classics at Oxford University. Attingham was beyond the needs of the family and was let. During the war, the tenants were the Dutch-American Van Bergen family.

Cronkhill c.1900.

Cronkhill c.1900.

In May 1900 Thomas was appointed to the Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1903, the same year in which he became an Honorary Secretary at the British Embassy in Paris. This was an unpaid position, something like an intern in modern terms. Young men with impeccable family background and private means but no particular attainments in other areas might choose this kind of position. Lord Berwick was liked for his loyalty and modesty and made many friends whilst doing his diplomatic work.

 

Attingham

Since 1903 Attingham Hall had been tenanted as Lord Berwick had been living elsewhere. In May 1913 the Dutch-American Van Bergen family moved into the house as tenants and they remained there throughout the war until 1920. Captain Van Bergen and his wife Ethel had one boy and three daughters.

The Van Bergen family, c.1917.

The Van Bergen family, c.1917.

Next month’s post will cover the outbreak of war 100 years ago. Come and see our WWI exhibition The Great War for Civilisation in the Stables at Attingham Park from 19th July 2014.