Felling the Ancient Oaks: How England Lost Its Great Country Estates

From the publisher:

A stunning visual record of our most spectacular and scenic country estates that were broken up for sale and lost for ever. A sweeping country estate, with grand house and spectacular gardens and park, would not be the first impression of a visitor to modern suburban Watford. But well into the twentieth century that was exactly what was there – the magnificence of the Cassiobury estate, of which only a modest municipal park survives. Underneath the expanse of Rutland Water lies the once splendid Normanton estate, while Deepdene in Surrey is now memorialised only by an ugly office block. Fortunately, at least photographs live on to remind us of how our landscape looked before death duties, mining subsidence and sometimes the plain impecuniousness of the black sheep in the family took their toll and forced the break-up of all too many historic landed estates. In this elegiac book, a successor to Aurum’s Lost Victorian Britain, John Robinson surveys 20 of the most egregious losses, from Costessy in East Anglia to Lathom in Lancashire, and shows how the deer park, the home farm, the parterre and the cottage garden gave way to the power station, the motorway and the caravan park.

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