Evangeline Farrer

Evangeline Farrer © Dorking Museum
Evangeline Farrer © Dorking Museum

Before the war Evangeline, Lady Farrer, of Abinger Hall, had established the Leith Hill Musical Competitions with Margaret Vaughan Williams. In November 1915, with Margaret Longman, she established Dorking’s Hospital Supply Depot.

Nower Lodge was offered for use and converted into work rooms to make supplies for war hospitals, casualty clearing stations, and ambulances. The scheme was funded by fundraising fetes, sales, and concerts, and by donations from the Dorking Waste Paper Depot, which collected waste paper for re-cycling.

Photo Lent by John Molyneux

The whole community contributed. Some subscribed to raise funds, some walked in to donate their time, giving their bus fares to the scheme, others gave furniture or loaned sewing machines, tools and benches, or supplied wood for packing cases. Businesses offered free advertising or sharpened knives and scissors free of charge. Working parties – knitting, sewing, ironing and packing – were established in Abinger, Betchworth, Newdigate, Ockley, Ranmore, Holmwood, and Westcott. Laundries at Wigmore (at Beare Green), Abinger Hall, and Denbies, washed garments, cloths and towels.

Paying tribute when the Depot closed, the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser reported that the volunteers had worked through heat and snow, through anxiety and sorrow, and had never failed to ‘toil and not to seek for rest’. The hope of alleviating some of the sufferings of the sick and wounded was the cord which drew them, reported the editorial, ‘a cord which could never break’.

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