The room you’re in now is the music room, where George the Fourth held concerts and balls. Feel free to have a seat while you listen.
Music and concerts also played an important part in maintaining morale among patients, as did other hobbies and leisure activities. Patients played sports against local teams and teams from other hospitals, including cricket and football. They also competed in sports days, or gymkhanas, competing in events adapted to their injuries.
One of the main purposes of the hospital was to prepare patients physically and emotionally for civilian life. This was how Viscountess Falmouth addressed patients of the limbless hospital at an official opening, in August 1916:
Character Voice (Viscountess)
‘I know that when you come here many of you have sad feelings. You think that life is not going to be much good to you any longer; but when you come on to Roehampton and see the fellows walking about with their artificial legs and using their artificial arms, and when you know what good work they are able to do in the workshops … You will be filled with hope… For hope welcomes all who enter here!’
Andy Maxted, Curator of Collections Projects explains how they did this:
‘There’s great consideration about what these poor people are going to do once they’re discharged back into society, so they open what they call an educational facility, which is the Queen Mary’s workshop in the grounds, a big set of sheds, buildings were put up in the grounds, where some of these patients are retrained in professions that they can use once they’re discharged. Because obviously if you’re working on the land and you’ve lost a leg or lost an arm, you’re not going to find employment once you’re released back into society. So they’re retrained in various sort of office skills, accountancy, plus other skills such as woodworking, metalwork, mechanics, cobbling, cinematography, it’s another interesting one. So while they’re here there’s an attempt not only to sort of build them up physically for the fitting of the prosthetic leg, but also to retrain those people that need retraining in professions that they can use once they’re discharged.’