Press release: A forty year fight to save country houses from decay and demolition is celebrated in SAVE’s latest publication

Press release 21 October 2014

A forty year fight to save great historic country houses from decay and demolition is celebrated in SAVE's latest publication The Destruction of the Country House: Forty Years On.

This new book records the enormous impact of the V&A's landmark exhibition in 1974 and includes illustrations of over 120 major houses lost between 1875 and 1974.

The main purpose of the book is to tell the story of SAVE's many campaigns to restore, revive and reuse endangered country houses. The plight of these houses has been illustrated in successive SAVE reports since 1978, starting with Tomorrow's Ruins?, a catalogue of some 60 endangered houses.

Very soon after its foundation in1975 SAVE began to come forward with practical solutions for individual historic houses, working with entrepreneurs and architects to create solutions, including Kit Martin, who has rescued a series of major country houses, including Gunton Hall, Hazells Hall, Cullen House and Burley-on-the-Hill.

Memorably in 1981 SAVE bought the derelict Barlaston Hall for £1. It was no bargain as rain was pouring through the roof, bringing down the ceilings and floors and the house was suffering from severe mining subsidence. It took a major fight with the National Coal Board to secure compensation, but SAVE carried out the structural repairs and found a purchaser willing to complete the restoration, including all the wonderful Rococo plasterwork.

The book tells the story of SAVE's campaigns to save major houses with their contents, starting with the great campaign over Mentmore Towers (‘A Battle Lost, a War Won') Calke Abbey, Tyntesfield and Dumfries House.

Many of these houses have been rescued by individuals and entrepreneurs who first saw them in SAVE's reports, and these successes are celebrated with a large series of before and after pictures.

The book has a contribution on lost houses by John Harris, who with Marcus Binney was joint organiser of the 1974 exhibition, commissioned by Sir Roy Strong, and the book documents the original 1974 exhibition and its impact. It is lavishly illustrated with numerous colour photographs throughout.

Marcus Binney, author of the new publication and Executive President of SAVE said: "this is the vivid story of years of campaigning, the romance of visiting hundreds of beautiful decaying country houses and the often furious battle to save them, with a surprise round every corner."

For more information and pictures contact Mike Fox, SAVE caseworker, on 0207 253 3500/, or Marcus Binney on 07973 802 648.

The book can be purchased direct from SAVE and is priced at £20 (£18 for SAVE friends) plus £2.50 postage.

Purchases can be made over the phone (0207 253 3500), through SAVE's website, (, or by sending a cheque to SAVE Britain's Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ

Notes to Editors:
SAVE Britain's Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architects, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain's Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Registered Charity 269129
Tel. 020 7253 3500 Email

Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit


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