9 November 2014

What Earlsfield did in the war

The BBC has a big online project about 'the war at home' as part of the centenary of WWI. Through it, I discovered that the local 'Third General Hospital' on Trinity Road ran what was called the "Tin Noses Shop" for soldiers with severe facial wounds. (You might know the hospital as the impressive turreted building near the Common hosting restaurant Le Gothique.)

The article explains:

"The ‘Tin Noses Shop’ at London’s Third General Hospital was run by sculptor Francis Derwent Wood.

Whilst working as an orderly at the hospital in 1916, Wood devised an artistic solution to help soldiers returning from war with horrific facial injuries which could not be repaired by the surgeon’s knife. It was nicknamed the ‘Tin Noses Shop’ by wounded soldiers, but its proper name was the ‘Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department’.

Wood created a bespoke lightweight prosthetic metal mask with the exact profile of the patient’s face. Onto this he painted as close as possible a depiction of the patient’s original features, often using a pre-war likeness for reference."

Read more on the BBC page.

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