School opens up to the community in war exhibition

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NOWADAYS, the school hall is full of students enjoying their lunch or taking part in PE lessons.

But 100 years ago, Priory School in Southsea became a hospital and was used to treat wounded soldiers coming back from fighting in the First World War.

Priory School pupils learn about when the school was a hospital in WW1, in period costume''Picture: Paul Jacobs (150114-5)

Priory School pupils learn about when the school was a hospital in WW1, in period costume''Picture: Paul Jacobs (150114-5)

The school has created an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the war, and the local community was invited in to have a look at it.

It was called the 5th Southern General Hospital.

Danny Massingham, 12, said: ‘I enjoyed the whole project we’ve been doing.

‘They fought for our country so we should pay them respect.’

21/1/15''Priory School pupils learn about when the school was a hospital , known as the 5th Southern General Hospital PPP-150121-125847001

21/1/15''Priory School pupils learn about when the school was a hospital , known as the 5th Southern General Hospital PPP-150121-125847001

Rudy Rees-Whelan, 12, added: ‘It’s brilliant and really interesting.

‘You wouldn’t think of this building as a hospital.’

Emma Poore, 12, added: ‘I’d never have thought I would come to a school that used to be a hospital.

‘For Priory to have such a big role in the war is amazing.

‘It feels good to be part of somewhere that has been helping soldiers who fought for us.’

Children from Fernhurst Juniors and Wimborne Juniors were invited in to take part in different activities, including writing postcards as if they were wounded soldiers or nurses working at the hospital.

The project, which was part of the Lest We Forget exhibitions, was led by English teacher Charlotte Yeoman.

She said: ‘I thought it was important that we celebrated and commemorated the role that the school played during the war for the soldiers who were treated here and for the nurses who spent time working here too.

‘We’ve recreated the classroom as a hospital ward and we have on display a lot of information that I’ve gathered with my students about the nurses and soldiers that were here.

‘It’s important that they understand the history and the significance of where they spend their days.

‘They walk down the same corridors as the soldiers did.’