The site of a hutted camp covers about 19 hectares of the western portion of Hardwick Park. The camp consisted of temporary buildings erected during the Second World War to house paratroops being trained in the park. There was a guardhouse at Blingsby Gate and training apparatus above the Blingsby drive. A gymnasium is mentioned in correspondence relating to the demolition of the camp. After the war, the huts were used as a miners' hostel. The camp was demolished in 1959 and parkland was reinstated. Only some of the brick-lined pits of the drainage system remain, together with the tarred road to Blingsby Gate and a redundant bridleway sign (which pointed along what was a camp road). (1)
During the Second World War, much of Hardwick Park was requisitioned for use by both the Army and the Royal Air Force. The 1st Parachute Brigade was formed at Hardwick in 1941 and for the remainder of the war the camp, on the western side of the park, was the depot of the School of Airborne Forces, where volunteers from all ranks went through selection tests and received specialised training. After the war the camp was used for a short time to house officers and men of the Polish army who did not wish to return to Poland. As well as soldiers, there was a large number of teenage boys, some of whom had been imprisoned in concentration camps. After the Poles left, some of the buildings were used by the Government as a food store before they once again accommodated refugees from central Europe, this time Hungarians who fled following the rising of 1956. Following this the camp was demolished, and little trace of it is visible today. (2)
A camp was set up in Hardwick Park in World War II to train the Parachute Regiment. A small archive of material exists at Hardwick which shows that the camp was extremely important. The archive includes a detailed plan together with photographs. By matching the shape and design of buildings reflected in the photographs to the plan, it is possible to start piecing together the layout of the camp. A walk-over survey in 2011 showed the potential for survival of below ground features. Several earthworks are visible and material such as brick, tile, glass and metalwork was recovered from molehills. A couple of features are exposed through the turf and one square brick-built structure, located towards the top of the slope at the eastern edge of the camp, was cleaned and recorded. (3)
Unpublished document: Smith, L & Beamish, H (The National Trust). 1985. The National Trust Archaeological Survey: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, East Midlands. Site no. 60,053, p 33.
Bibliographic reference: Riden, P & Fowkes, D. 2009. Hardwick. A Great House and its Estate.. pp 151-152, Fig. 95, p 157.
Unpublished document: Beresford, M. 2011. A Journey Through Time: The Hardwick Estate. Fieldwork Report on the Medieval Village Site, the Duck Decoy and the World War Two Military Camp.
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Centred SK 4569 6423 (485m by 581m)
AULT HUCKNALL, BOLSOVER, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Mar 15 2020 11:03AM
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