Thursday, May 3, 2012


Although Angela Thirkell's Bartsetshire novels are mostly set in 'normal size' country houses and even some cottages, there are some old piles to contend with and this song is a good depiction of their plight after WWII.  This song became a great favorite with the beleaguered upper classes.  "...the post-war stately homes were 'rather in the lurch'.  Many had been requisitioned in the war, invaded by evacuees from London and the big industrial cities, occupied by schoolchildren transferred from public boarding schools in vulnerable areas, used as military headquarters and hospitals and finally, towards the end of the fighting, taken over as billets for the foreign troops temporarily based in Britain.  ... "Requisitioned country houses were always knocked about a bit.  Judging by the horror stories circulating in the fifties of Van Dycks used as dartboards, Grinling Gibbons carvings ripped out and burned for firewood, Parham Park was relatively lucky.  The wartime depredations in many other English country houses had been even worse."
                                                                                               Fiona MacCarty, Last Curtsey
 "One thing is for certain.  The country-house way of life as some of us have known it, will never be revived."
                                                                       James Lees-Milne

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