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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 1000 very grand houses, 21 May 2012
This review is from: England's Thousand Best Houses (Hardcover)
The title of this book by Jenkins is quite misleading. The 1000 houses he describes are very grand indeed, and normal houses inhabited by the British just don't make the grade, even if they are very old and unique. As befits the Chairman of the National Trust, his list includes many NT castles, manor house and former grand palaces of the rich and famous, such as Windsor castle and Hampton Court. However, it highlights a huge gap in the market for this kind of guide: a record of the much smaller and humbler abodes of people through the ages. After all, these grand houses are already very well covered by many other books and guides, but there is nothing much on real houses lived in by real common people. His descriptions are rather repetitive, and those who are NT or English Heritage members will already be well aware of most if not all of the buildings he describes. It may be of some use to the average tourist visiting Britain, although its size and weight may prove somewhat of a deterrent for easy carrying (unless the tourist carries it on a Kindle or Kobo). As is common these days, he also includes a list of the top 100 "houses" which may also help the tourist to our shores in whittling the list down to size. If they do use the grand list, then they are in danger of missing the very best treats, such as Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, which is possible the most hauntingly beautiful place of all. And why is Wales missing from the list? It has the best castles (mainly ruined) of the entire country: can we expect another volume in the series?
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jul 2012 07:58:17 BDT
Vandhøj says:
You have answered your own question. As chairman of the NT i would suppose he would be duty bound to promote visits to the properties that pay his wages. And you have also given yourself two future projects , one a record of " humbler abodes " and a book of the Castles of Wales , though i think you will find there are many that have come before you regarding that one. You mention Castles, yes well , i refer you to the title of the book.As for why is Wales missing , once again i would refer you to the title of the book

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jul 2012 08:45:28 BDT
He may be duty bound to the NT, but on the other hand, he should think about the readers, and their needs! I don't think he is paid by the NT, by the way. And there are many castles in the book, such as Windsor and Kenilworth. It seems to me he should take an independent view of houses, and discuss those rare examples of houses which have survived almost intact from early times.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2012 09:04:32 BDT
Vandhøj says:
I have to say that i have to take back what i said earlier, and admit you were right on every score ( apart of course the part about not including Wales ). A wasted exercise and waste of effort, do we really need another book telling us that Churchill was born at Blenheim , or that Chatsworth is the home of the Duke of Devonshire. As for John Lennon's house !!. one of England's thousand best houses ? i think not. Just because someone famous lived in a house does not in my opinion qualify it as an architectural gem . Anyway , i have never really understood the cult of personality that surrounds John Lennon, he was a good musician yes , but apart from that ?.....I class him with Nelson Mandela, both undoubtably fine people but not " great" in any sense.
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