The First World War may have been a severe setback to academic study but it enabled the university to thrive as a military hospital.
In August 1914, the University buildings at Edgbaston were taken over by the military authorities as the Ist Southern General Hospital under a territorial scheme that had been prepared some years earlier. The whole of the site was handed over to the War Office and, with many alterations, was converted into a great hospital.
The contents of the Great Hall were removed, workshops were dismantled; desks gave place to beds, undergraduates and gowns to nurses and hospital ‘blues’. The spirit of eager activity was replaced by one of suffering and repose.