Stories from Beckett Park Hospital

“Stories from the War Hospital” gives a fascinating insight into the extraordinary lives and loves of those who worked at what was officially named the 2nd Northern General Hospital during the First World War. Based at Beckett Park in Headingley, Leeds, this large military hospital played a key part in the struggle against death, disease and disability throughout its wartime history. Its story has now been told in compelling detail by Leeds author Richard Wilcocks. Using material gathered from interviews with descendants, together with research in local and national archives, Richard Wilcocks has compiled a comprehensive account of the patients, doctors, surgeons, nurses, volunteers and entertainers who shaped the hospital’s history, richly illustrated with newly-discovered photographs.

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The book was launched in March 2014 as part of the Headingley LitFest, with an hour-long play written by Richard Wilcocks with three MA students from Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University, based on three of the true stories in the book – those of Private Robert Bass, who suffered terrible facial injuries at Arras, Dorothy Wilkinson, a musician and suffragette who became a VAD and Staff Nurse Margaret Anna Newbould, who became the assistant matron of a hospital ship during the Gallipoli campaign. As part of the Headingley LitFest in 2015, the author gave PowerPoint-assisted talk and storytelling session in the old Leeds Library. In the audience were members of the Bass family, including Ken, the 93 year-old son of Robert Bass.

A number of the people interviewed for the book are still in touch with Richard Wilcocks, and he is still receiving regular enquiries from relatives and others online – and also snippets of new information. The book can be obtained through its website