This month’s editorial comment:
I have started adding Pages on my foreign holidays, with photographs taken at the time.
I’ve noted that some country houses that I have visited are no longer open to the public. Chicheley Hall – now a wedding and conference centre, Castle Ashby – a weddings venue, Duncombe Park – a wedding and conference venue.
Before the law was changed, the wedding venue market didn’t exist. If you watched the popular “Country House Rescue” TV series, you may have noticed that the plan most commonly offered was to open as a wedding or business meeting venue. In a few cases it was suggested that the gardens could profitably be opened to the public, but plans to open the house to the public hardly figured at all.
Some privately owned houses are obliged to open to the public for a set number of days a year, in return to having received substantial public funds for repair and restoration works. Where this is not the case, one can’t blame owners if they decide that having the public troop through their houses fingering everything is not the best plan for them.
So, if you are debating whether or not to visit a privately owned grand house on its open days, then GO. Next time you may not have the chance.