The Georgian Group

Richard Cavendish looks at the wide-ranging interests of The Georgian Group

If the recession had a silver lining, it might be less money for people to spend on maiming and mutilating their Georgian residences. Applications to the Georgian Group in 1991 were substantially down from their total of 8,000 the year before.

By law, the Georgian Group has to be consulted by the local authorities before the demolition or material alteration of any listed building of its period. The Group's period runs in an expansive Georgian way from 1700 to 1840. The phrase 'material alteration' is a lawyer's paradise, of course, and the Group has no power to compel a local authority, but if it thinks a proposed development is bad, it can have the matter referred to the Department of the Environment. It can also, or alternatively, make a noisy public fuss in the local and national media and mobilise influential support.

The Georgian Group has access to a great deal of telling support. The Queen Mother is its patron and on its council and executive committee sit enough of the good, the great and the powerful to populate a special Georgian wing of heaven, designed in a restrained Palladian manner and out of sight of any indecorous pearly gates. They include, to name only a few, Sir John Summerson, Stephen Dykes Bower, the Duke of Grafton and the Marquess of Anglesey, Lord Norwich, Gervase Jackson-Stops and John Martin Robinson. And there are plenty more where those came from.

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