Celebrate Wrest’s leading lady Nan at special event

Nan Herbert set up and ran the First World War military hospital at Wrest
Nan Herbert set up and ran the First World War military hospital at Wrest

A unique event at Wrest Park will explore the eventful life of Nan Herbert, one of the most prominent female characters in the property’s history.

Led by Wrest Park’s Volunteer History Team, the event will take place on Sunday March 18 from 11am to 3pm and will delve into the fascinating contribution Nan made to the Wrest Park estate.

Nan was the resourceful and fiercely independent sister of Auberon (Bron) Herbert, 9th Baron Lucas, and became the 10th Baroness Lucas following the death of her brother in 1916. She was the last of the de Grey descendants to inherit Wrest Park and November 2018 marks 60 years since her death.

She was chiefly known for setting up and running the First World War military hospital at Wrest Park from 1914 to 1916 and after training at the Metropolitan Hospital in London, she took up the position of Matron in February 1915. Under her energetic leadership Wrest Park became recognised as one of the best-run country house hospitals. She was also the driving force behind the sale of Wrest Park to John George Murray in 1917, and the famous auction of its contents to the public in September of that year.

Alison Austin, English Heritage’s operations manager at Wrest Park, said: “Nan is one of the most extraordinary characters in Wrest Park’s history. It was down to her that the military hospital was established and run so efficiently, but her involvement with the property went far beyond this and through her meticulously compiled scrapbooks she left a fascinating archive of an eventful life.

“To commemorate Women’s History Month and six decades since Nan’s passing, our volunteer historians will be taking an in-depth look at her life and achievements in their second pop up event of the year.”

A small exhibition will showcase photographs and extracts from her diary, while volunteer Debbie Radcliffe will be delivering an illustrated talk at 12 noon which will be repeated again at 1.30pm.

See www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrest for more information.