19 May 2010
I keep a list of places that I must visit: that list just got longer! I'm adding Calke Abbey. I know I'm probably the last one on the boat for this one, but I've just discovered it through Teen Angster who was reposting it from Hello Mr. Fox (it's a-going viral, y'all!). It's just so, so perfect I couldn't resist adding to my blog as well.
Calke Abbey is near Ticknall, Derbyshire, England (those names always sound so romantic to my American ears). It was built between 1701 and 1704 by Sir John Harpur, the 4th baronet of his family. I'm not even sure what that means! The estate was passed down through the family, all the while suffering from neglect and various stages of abandonment. When the house was handed over to the National Trust in the 1980s, the estate had remained untouched since the 1880s! Rather than begin restoration, the Trust preserved the remains as an example of a country house in decay, halting the deterioration but not reversing it.
I imagine this is sort of like what Grey Gardens would have been like if someone had stepped in and preserved it before it went into total disrepair and ruin. Only on a MUCH grander scale.
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