Country House society by Pamela Horn

country house societyMost of my teaching career was spent in a school that occupied the former country residence of the Duke and Duchess of Manchester, a relatively minor stately home in its day, but one which dominated the local community in a variety of ways. After the last war, the Manchesters had to give in to the forces of economic reality, sell up and move out. And they had to accept their considerable losses cheerfully, because the house and estate were sold off to the local education authority for a trifling £12,500. Even in 1949 that was quite a modest sum.

The decline of the British country house, however,  began long before the Manchesters threw in the towel. It was the First World War that sowed the seeds of decline, when dozens of these properties were commissioned for use as hospitals, convalescent homes and army barracks. The landed aristocracy were forced into playing an active supportive role during the war, sending their sons off to the battle front and using their estate staff to work as orderlies, attendants and carers of wounded soldiers.

The crunch came with the end of the war, when thousands of battle-weary men returned from the trenches looking for gainful employment, women had enjoyed a taste of independence working in essential war services, and the government had to impose swingeing taxes on property owners to pay for the huge financial losses incurred by the war effort. This all led to the selling of land and houses, auctioning works of art and parting with jewellery and family heirlooms, and with the approaching stock market crash of 1929, many were reduced to penury.

In the space of little more than 20 years, the British landscape was to change beyond all recognition.

Advertisements

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on December 4, 2015, in Book reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Indeed, an unholy combination of declining incomes for the landed families, higher taxes particularly death duties, higher wages and expectations for staff, damages caused by war use that was never repaired or properly compensated for, and perhaps the death of the first son and heir (and sometimes also the second and third) during the war(s). The number of country houses that were broken up from 1900 to 1975 – and particularly in the couple of decades from 1945 to 1965 – is just extraordinary.

    Wikipedia deals with it reasonably well – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destruction_of_country_houses_in_20th-century_Britain

    • That’s a great summary of the situation, Andrew. for the first time in several generations, descendants were going to have to earn a living for themselves, and only a minority managed to convert their ancestral homes into a going concern.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

Five miles or less? Bikes are best!

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

CyclingEurope.org

Europe... on a bicycle

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

fossilcycle

FOSSIL - A Fine Old Senior Soul In Lycra

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: