Dividing his subject into six periods, including the disastrously destructive 1950s and the more conscientious and conservative 1970s, Giles Worsley considers the disappearance of many of England's most venerable and architecturally important grand country houses. Victims of fire, demolition, or transport to museums (including New York's Metropolitan, which includes bits of Kirtlington Park and Cassiobury), 712 major buildings disappeared between 1945 and 1974. Worsley examines the extent of the atrocity, and the reasons for it.
A moving testimony to the destroyed houses of the past century, and an exploration of the forces behind the loss of these architectural glories Of all the photographs in the Country Life archive, none are more poignant than the images of houses that have been lost through demolition or fire. From Uffington House, Lincolnshire, a fine Restoration house burned in 1904, to the Rococo magnificence of Nuthall temple, Nottinghamshire, its site now buried under the M1 motorway, this book explores one of the saddest chapters in English 20th-century history. Giles Worsley's incisive text makes this more than just an elegy—by studying the circumstances behind 100 houses that are gone, he is able to explain why such a large number were destroyed in the last century. He discusses how many houses were lost as great landowners, responding to economic and political changes, sold off secondary estates and demolished palatial houses of the 19th century. He also examines how chance played its part, with fire emerging as one of the chief causes of destruction.