Om­ber­s­ley in peril

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

IWAS sur­prised to read that Om­ber­s­ley Court in Worces­ter­shire might be­come an in­sti­tu­tion (see Town & Coun­try, page 20). That was not what Lord Sandys had in mind when he asked me to call on him in 2001. His ob­jec­tive then was to find a way of en­sur­ing the long-term sur­vival of the house with its ac­cu­mu­lated con­tents. In­deed, the note that I made of our meet­ing con­cludes: ‘Lord Sandys ex­plained at length and with great feel­ing why he could not bear to think of the place stripped out and sold up.’

In any event, ex­pe­ri­ence shows that coun­try houses are ill-suited to in­sti­tu­tional use. Many that be­came schools or care homes af­ter the Sec­ond World War suf­fered se­ri­ous wear and tear and have now re­verted to some form of do­mes­tic oc­cu­pa­tion. Oth­ers have not only been dam­aged, but also al­tered and com­pro­mised to keep pace with reg­u­la­tions de­signed to pro­tect res­i­dents and the en­vi­ron­ment. Martin Drury, Lon­don

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