Some country houses were transformed into hospitals or convalescent homes for the duration of the conflict. Quite often the mistress of the house assumed the role of matron or commandant, an opportunity many took to with relish. Drawing rooms were turned into makeshift wards, and many hundreds of wounded soldiers passed through their doors.
Many estates tried to carry on as normal. Working practices, however, had to change as men were conscripted into the army, and women took over traditional male roles in food production or farming. War working parties were formed by the mistress of the house, involving many of the women who lived and worked on the estate. They were kept busy knitting socks, raising money, and preparing food parcels for serving soldiers.