VIDEO: Emotional return for Chatsworth’s wartime refugee pupils

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Former school pupils who stayed at Chatsworth House during the Second World War have returned to the stately home.

Penhros College, a girls’ school in Colwyn Bay, moved to the home in 1939 and stayed there for seven years when the Government took over their school.

48 former pupils from a girls' boarding school housed at Chatsworth during the Second World War will be returning to view the new Chatsworth in Wartime exhibition at a special preview.Former pupils in their old dormitory (The State Drawing Room) Picture Scott Merrylees SM1002/69b

48 former pupils from a girls' boarding school housed at Chatsworth during the Second World War will be returning to view the new Chatsworth in Wartime exhibition at a special preview.Former pupils in their old dormitory (The State Drawing Room) Picture Scott Merrylees SM1002/69b

There were poignant scenes when 48 former pupils made a return to the dormitory – dressed as it would have been when the 10th Duke of Devonshire opened his home to the girls – to mark the launch of a new exhibition.

At the event, Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the 10th Duke, was reunited with some of the schoolgirls she joined for lessons during their time at Chatsworth.

Ann Delves, aged 80, said: “It is emotional. Chatsworth has always had a special place in my heart. It still does more than 70 years later.”

Nancie Park, 85, who lives in the nearby village of Edensor, said: “I just remember being filled with awe at the place.

“I still feel it now I’ve been back to Chatsworth.

“This is almost identical to the room I slept in – although the mattresses were a bit harder.”

Archive footage and images of the girls’ sports days and old school uniforms are also on display.

The story of Penhros is just one of the fascinating chapters of the estate’s history which has been explored by curator Hannah Obee for the Chatsworth in Wartime exhibition, which launched this week.

It marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second.

The exhibition will be on display at Chatsworth House until December 23.