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English Country House Eccentrics [Kindle Edition]

David Long
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

This is a lighthearted, witty but factual biographical account of one of the eccentric lifestyles of the builders and residents of one hundred of Britain's best-known country houses. Extraordinary buildings require extraordinary people, and over the centuries Britain's historic houses have produced more than their fair share of oddballs. Insulated from the outside world by vast wealth, rolling acres and the social status that a title implies, aristocrats have always been able to amuse themselves - and now us - by pursuing idiosyncratic interests and manias to the point of eccentricity. The 12th Duke of Bedford, for example, preferred parrots to people - forcing his children to steal the birds' food to make up their meagre rations - while the 5th Duke of Portland paid his staff a bonus on the understanding they would never speak to him. The Hon. Henry Cavendish inherited £200 million at today's values, but never spent more than five shillings on dinner, while more recently the 2nd Lord Rothschild spent weeks training a team of zebra to pull his carriage up the Mall and into Buckingham Palace. Aimed squarely at the National Trust set, this lifts the lid on all that's bizarre, implausible, unthinkable and downright wacky about our glorious heritage homes and their unusual occupants.

Product Description


Over the centuries our historic houses have produced a wealth of oddballs. Insulated from the outside world by vast wealth, rolling acres and social status, aristocrats often amused themselves in the strangest of ways. English Country House Eccentrics by David Long opens up this world with fascinating accounts, including the duke who paid his staff not to speak to him. --Daily Express

About the Author

Writer and journalist DAVID LONG has regularly appeared in The Times and the London Evening Standard, as well as on TV and radio. As well as being an award-winning ghostwriter, he has written a number of books on London, including Spectacular Vernacular, Tunnels, Towers & Temples, Hidden City and the highly successful Little Book of London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2874 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (30 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007VOT9KA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #390,346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

'The Book of the Week. Even the most eager historians will find their knowledge challenged by this new book about the capital.' (Evening Standard)

'It's a book I think everyone should have.' (Robert Elms, BBC Radio London)

'The best possible start for anyone who wishes to get off the beaten track and under the skin of the hidden city that is modern-day London.' (Guardian)

'David Long's intriguing alphabetical survey - an attempt to impose order on chaos - lists hundreds of little courtyards and alleys, many almost forgotten among the banks and businesses.' (FT)

'This admirably structured and coherent book draws attention to the uncontrived diversity in London's architecture.' (Maxwell Hutchinson, President RIBA)

'The photographs are enigmatically stark, the text rich in anecdotes. Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject and encourages his readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity.' (The London Magazine)

'A quirkier look at the subject...plenty of new places here for even the most knowledgeable Londoner to explore.' (Museum of London)

'Quite an incredible wealth of endorsement at the highest level should be given to David Long's new book'. (BBC Radio London)

'David Long tells the story of how a humble transport system rapidly became one of the city's greatest icons.' (The Spectator)

Fascinated by those strange, semi-hidden corners of London most of us cease to notice because we walk by them so often, David Long has been a writer since leaving a first class university with a second class degree in the 1980s. Whilst a columnist for the Sunday People he created a popular weekly cartoon strip which appeared in the Times, and continues to write for a wide diversity of newspapers and magazines both in Britain and abroad. Many of his most popular and best reviewed books reflect his longstanding interest in the less well-known aspects of London, its architecture and eccentric inhabitants - subjects, he says, which simply never run dry.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars English Country House Eccentrics 29 May 2012
By ED Farr
Great Britain and Ireland are covered with large, (in same instances) awe inspiring country properties and although many of them are no longer own or maintained by the original owners or families, these stunning properties really do shape our history and landscapes.

English Country House Eccentrics is a marvellous collection of humorous anecdotes and stories and a "guidebook" to the more extraordinary properties in the UK. Compartmentalised into the regions of the UK, the book provides a biographical insught into the residences and their, perhaps, more eccentric owners.

The book isnt an exhaustive commentary of every building in the UK, which is refreshing. Some regions in the book only mention one property (for instance Bedfordshire only has an entry for Woburn Abbey) whereas other areas of the country, such as Kent, offers an insight into 8 different properties.

The book benefits from being able to be read as a stand alone text or alongside your holiday guidebook...but either way is it simply a must for any UK holiday
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2.0 out of 5 stars Tiny Print!!! 11 Mar. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The attractive cover encouraged me to buy this for an elderly relative. I was disappointed when it arrived. The print is too small!!!
I would have preferred there to have been less eccentrics written about (they all start merging into one after a while anyway) so that there would be more space to use larger text.
And more paragraphs! The text is very blocky with few line breaks. Also I was expecting better illustrations for what is surely meant to be a "dip in and out" coffee table style book.
After a while it was just heavy going.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY ENJOYABLE !! 18 Mar. 2014
By They - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book lists various English country houses and then provides interesting anecdotes about some of the facinating people associated with the house. Unlike a previous reviewer, I liked the author's style; that's why they make different flavours of ice cream. I found it to be concise and jam-packed with all sorts of details. It's a great book for those interested in England, history and human nature.
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly written and organized 10 April 2013
By J. Williams - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are a few interesting tales but overall the book is a bore and rambles. I could not wade through it..
5.0 out of 5 stars just fun 20 Dec. 2012
By Tom D. Cyre - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All I can say is, it was just fun to read. There is just nothing better than a British nut job.
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