Cliveden’s wartime story

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Cliveden is one of my favourite local places. I missed my regular bike rides here for tea and cake during lockdown. It felt strange cycling past those closed gates. Happily, the National Trust reopened Cliveden although you need to book tickets online in advance. (The house itself is a luxury hotel.)

We visited today with my niece Siân, and spent several hours exploring the estate. Cliveden is famous as the main stage of the Profumo scandal – as I blogged in The Shadow of Profumo in 2016. But the estate has better kept secrets; it was the site of a Canadian Red Cross military hospital in the Great War, which treated 24,000 people.

The Duchess of Connaught Red Cross Hospital, Cliveden

The hospital saw service during both world wars, and became part of the NHS in 1948. It closed in 1985.

The war memorial, Cliveden

There is to this day a moving and tranquil war memorial to the small number of men and one female nurse who died at the hospital. Many of those buried here were from Canada, although there are a few from Great Britain, Ireland and Australia. I certainly didn’t expect to find a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Cliveden.

Cliveden today is a tranquil place with wonderful views over the Thames towards Cookham and Maidenhead. It’s well worth a visit. And your visit is unlikely to shatter your career, in contrast to John Profumo’s.

2 thoughts on “Cliveden’s wartime story

  1. Please clarify – was the canadian Red Cross Hospital actually in Clevden House or at Taplow House in Taplow itself, which is in the grounds of the ‘Astor’ family estate, or were both the houses involved in housing injured soliers in both 1st and 2nd world wars. Your information appears to be a little incomplete.

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