While my mum was here we decided to go and visit the building that used to be the Craiglockhart war hospital. A little context: we have both read the Regeneration trilogy books by Pat Barker. They are three astonishingly well written books, which are incredibly profound and moving. The first one is set in Edinburgh and is based on the true events in the life of Dr W.H.R Rivers and some of the patients he treated at Craiglockhart hospital during the First World War. These patients included some of the famous war poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. I have long been an admirer of these poets and when we found out that we were not far from the building that used to be the hospital AND that they have a little exhibition dedicated to the war poets, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go and have a look and remember these remarkable writers.
The building is situated in a beauitful part of Edinburgh, and now forms part of Napier University. Despite having had a modern extension added to it, the old part of the building is still there.
The day on which we headed out there was beautiful. Cold but sunny in a golden autumn light. It is a testament to Barker as a writer that we both felt that the place was just as we had pictured it when reading the novel. The exhibition was very well put together and the stories of the war poets so moving.
It’s a little removed from the centre of the city but I would recommend visiting the exhibition as it is such a sad but important part of the history of World War 1 and its writers. And all of it is in such lovely surroundings. I was really glad that we made the trip out there and feel that it made me understand these people’s stories even better.