Friday, 23 April 2010

Some Country Houses and Their Owners - James Lee-Milne

This was a great book. I have Lee-Milne's full diaries for that era knocking about on the shelves (unread, naturally) but now I wish I hadn't as I have a sneaky suspicion that all the good bits are in this tiny tome. My particular favourite was the section when a particular country house owner offered their house to the National Trust before commenting how she thought the Nazi's actually had the right idea. Ho hum.

It certainly spurred me on to actually visit some of these homes as to read about their last owners and the circumstances under which they were donated adds a poignancy which comes from knowing that the War had impoverished the upper classes and ended an era of luxury. Elder sons were also scarce leaving distraught parents with no heir and so in their grief they choose to leave their estate, their family history, to the National Trust, to be absorbed into the national consciousness and become a monument instead of a loved family home. Recommended.