Modern Monuments

In the epilogue to her history of the Trust, From Acorn to Oak Tree, Jennifer Jenkins, quoting David Cannadine, acknowledges a grain of truth in 'The accusation that the Trust has promoted (and been a beneficiary of) the "romantic, deferential and fictional approach to the country house".' However, the organisation has also made huge strides away from this archaic 'Country Life' image.

For example, Trust properties now tend to reflect, not just the 'Upstairs' lifestyle of their owners, but – through the opening up of kitchens and servants' quarters etc – that of the 'Downstairs' domain.

Four properties that further challenge the stereotype of the grand old aristocratic pile also serve to illustrate the Trust's range of twentieth-century buildings – though a 1937 Bauhaus-style house (2, Willow Road, Hampstead) designed and lived in by the Hungarian- born architect Erno Goldfinger and his artist wife and not open to the public until later this year, may seem to some a shockingly modern interpretation of the Trust's brief to preserve 'places of historic interest or natural beauty'. Indeed, the descendants of the original owner of Castle Drogo in Devon, dating from 1910, were anxious that the Trust would refuse their offer of the house in 1974 on the grounds of it being too new.

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