It’s that time of year when I especially wished that I actually lived in a country house; the decorations, the roaring fire, the snow on the parkland. That said, I am lucky enough to write about and visit them – in 2012 I saw:
- Barrington Court, Somerset
- Boughton, Northamptonshire
- Fursdon House, Devon
- Hagley Hall, Worcestershire
- Marble Hill House, London
- Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire
- Petworth, Sussex
- Uppark, Sussex
- Willey Park, Shropshire
- Windsor Castle, Berkshire
…and Buckingham Palace, twice (bit of advice: if going, book the last time slot of the day – it’s quiet and a pleasure. Going in the middle of the day, not so much). Most of these visits were through organisations such as the Georgian Group, the Irish Georgians, and the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. They, and of course, the National Trust, do excellent work – both practical and scholarly – and are well-worth joining if you’d like to find out more. I was also lucky enough to attend the Attingham Trust 60th Anniversary Conference which was a wonderful opportunity to meet some real experts and also, unexpectedly, some friends of the blog.
Of course, I remain grateful for the incredible interest shown by the tens of thousands of visitors to the blog who kindly read my articles and comment. I always appreciate feedback and thank you for taking the time to do so. In mid-December, the blog hit the milestone of 250,000 page views in a year – so the milestone is now a benchmark and I hope to bring our country houses to an even wider audience next year. Thank you also to all those who have signed up by email and on Twitter (@thecountryseat), which has proved to be a useful channel for sharing snippets of news and connecting with those interested in houses specifically, and heritage generally.
In 2013, I’m aiming to build on the successes of the last few years. Of course, there will be more articles, however, I’m conscious that the frequency has dropped, mainly due to my ever busier day job. I’d be interested to have your thoughts on whether you would like to read articles by other contributors? I have written all of them so far (bar a brilliant piece on ruins by Jeremy Musson back in 2011) but there are many other writers out there who would undoubtedly bring greater and wider expertise on country houses. At the moment, I write mainly about the architecture (especially the exteriors) but would you be interested in someone writing about say, plasterwork, on specific houses, the contents, or other aspects? I’d also be keen to hear what you would not be interested in reading about. It’s possible that the blog could become a platform for experts in their respective fields who may not wish to maintain their own blog or go down the academic journal route. Anyway, it’s just a thought and I’d be keen to have your feedback either in the comments below or via email.
Thank you again for your interest and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013.