The City of Leeds Training College was officially opened in June 1913, a state-of-the-art teacher training facility fit for the twentieth century. In August 1914 Beckett Park was designated the 2nd Northern General Hospital, part of a chain of Territorial and Reserve Forces hospitals which were spread across the country created in anticipation of casualties. The first casualties arrived in September. Conservative estimates record that the hospital admitted 57,200 cases, performed 11,694 surgical procedures and witnessed 226 men die; however, the numbers may have been considerably higher.
The James Graham building which today houses the library, Great Hall and lecture theatres, was once known as the Education Block. It acted not only as the administrative centre for the 2nd Northern General Hospital but included wards, operating theatres and workshops during World War One.