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09 Dec 2019 108 views
 
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photoblog image Basildon Park

Basildon Park

Basildon Park is a country house situated 2 miles (3 kilometres) south of Goring-on-Thames and Streatley in Berkshire, between the villages of Upper Basildon and Lower Basildon. It is owned by the National Trust and is a Grade I listed building. The house was built between 1776 and 1783 for Sir Francis Sykes and designed by John Carr in the Palladian style at a time when Palladianism was giving way to the newly fashionable neoclassicism. Thus, the interiors are in a neoclassical "Adamesque" style.

Never fully completed, the house passed through a succession of owners. In 1910 it was standing empty and in 1914, it was requisitioned by the British Government as an army convalescent hospital. It was again sold in 1928 and quickly sold again. In 1929, following a failed attempt to dismantle and rebuild the house in the USA, it was stripped of many of its fixtures and fittings and all but abandoned.

During World War II, the house was again requisitioned and served as a barracks, a training ground for tanks, and finally a prisoner of war camp—all activities unsuited to the preservation of an already semi-derelict building. In 1952, a time when hundreds of British country houses were being demolished, it was said of Basildon Park "to say it was derelict, is hardly good enough, no window was left intact and most were repaired with cardboard or plywood."[1]

Today, Basildon Park is as notable for its mid-twentieth-century renaissance and restoration, by Lord and Lady Iliffe, as it is for its architecture. In 1978, the Iliffes gave the house, together with its park and a large endowment for its upkeep, to the National Trust in the hope that "The National Trust will protect it and its park for future generations to enjoy."

Basildon Park

Basildon Park is a country house situated 2 miles (3 kilometres) south of Goring-on-Thames and Streatley in Berkshire, between the villages of Upper Basildon and Lower Basildon. It is owned by the National Trust and is a Grade I listed building. The house was built between 1776 and 1783 for Sir Francis Sykes and designed by John Carr in the Palladian style at a time when Palladianism was giving way to the newly fashionable neoclassicism. Thus, the interiors are in a neoclassical "Adamesque" style.

Never fully completed, the house passed through a succession of owners. In 1910 it was standing empty and in 1914, it was requisitioned by the British Government as an army convalescent hospital. It was again sold in 1928 and quickly sold again. In 1929, following a failed attempt to dismantle and rebuild the house in the USA, it was stripped of many of its fixtures and fittings and all but abandoned.

During World War II, the house was again requisitioned and served as a barracks, a training ground for tanks, and finally a prisoner of war camp—all activities unsuited to the preservation of an already semi-derelict building. In 1952, a time when hundreds of British country houses were being demolished, it was said of Basildon Park "to say it was derelict, is hardly good enough, no window was left intact and most were repaired with cardboard or plywood."[1]

Today, Basildon Park is as notable for its mid-twentieth-century renaissance and restoration, by Lord and Lady Iliffe, as it is for its architecture. In 1978, the Iliffes gave the house, together with its park and a large endowment for its upkeep, to the National Trust in the hope that "The National Trust will protect it and its park for future generations to enjoy."

comments (19)

it looks in excellent shape and it would have been a pity for it to be dismantled block by block. i love how sharp and clear your image is, Bill.
Bill Phillips: It is a wonderful restoration Ayush
Goodness... a grand old building despite it's history.
Bill Phillips: All thanks to one couple
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 9 Dec 2019, 04:32
It looks more like a Town Hall than a Country House, Bill, but is a fine image!
Bill Phillips: It is a fine building Ray, set in a lovely park
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 9 Dec 2019, 06:14
Hard to believe that this was once derelict, Bill
Bill Phillips: I know. It is now a gem
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 9 Dec 2019, 06:29
a grand building with an impressive history!
Bill Phillips: It is Philine. It was our first visit here and we loved it
Quel joli bâtiment !
Bill Phillips: Very fine isn't it?
  • Chris
  • England
  • 9 Dec 2019, 06:39
I know this place well, it's a glorious mansion set in lovely parkland. But I think you've indicated that..
Bill Phillips: First time we had been there. It is as you say
With a history like that, Bill, it's a wonder there's anything left of it to showcase. But there IS, thanks to those who have kept it alive for posterity.
Bill Phillips: It could have been just another great house lost forever and there have been many of those
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 9 Dec 2019, 07:34
That is quite the history and still standing strong, Bill. It is quite impressive from the outside.
Bill Phillips: It was nice inside too!
  • Chad
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 9 Dec 2019, 08:36
I have never been here, though I love Goring and Pangbourne. I used to explore this area in my bubble car when I was in the army.
Bill Phillips: I am trying to picture you in a bubble car
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 9 Dec 2019, 11:03
I hope it is put to real good use - not the park grounds, but the building itself. Otherwise there would be no point.
Bill Phillips: Tourism primarily. The National Trust is a big business now
What a wonderful gift......I have been there many years ago smile A fine image, Bill!
Bill Phillips: Thanks Martin. First time for us and it was impressive!
reading the history of Basildon Park you provided reads like the story of the fictional Downton Abby during the same time periods.
Bill Phillips: I have to confess I have never seen a single minute of Downton Abbey Alan
Bill

Downton Abby had been on for a couple seasons.

I tried to watch it but hated some of the characters that i could not enjoy it.

Then I started watching it for how it showed how English life changed from the time of the sinking of the Titanic to WWII.

My mother came to the US as an indentured servant from Kirkcaldy, Scotland and my father came twice to the US. !st time with his mother and 3 younger brothers only to be rejected and sent back.

They suspected TB in my paternal grandmother.

She died shortly after they returned to Blyth, England.

2 years later his father returned from the US and brought him over again when he was 16. He never returned.

My mother returned in 1962 and I stupidly refused to go with her as an 18 year old.

I went back in 1977 to visit the few relatives I could find and again in 1978 with Merry to introduce to a few of my family.
What a fine looking building and how fortunate it stil stands in one piece.
Bill Phillips: Very much so Brian. If you haven't been it is well with a visit
  • Alan
  • United Kingdom
  • 9 Dec 2019, 15:26
Well done to the National Trust and the Lliffes; the saves the latter for having t fork out for repairs if they can get someone else to do it. I wonder if any prisonerss of war tried to escape?
Bill Phillips: I do not know and I can't find anything much about it as a POW camp
We have a similarly coloured sandstone from Wallace, Nova Scotia that was used in many important buildings in the Maritimes. This could be Wallace stone if Berkshire were closer...
Bill Phillips: It is a lovely stone
  • sherri
  • Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  • 9 Dec 2019, 22:25
i'm glad to know someone finally gave it the possibility to see its original purpose

i can't believe anyone would think it could be dismantled and rebuilt in the United States
Bill Phillips: Well it happened with London Bridge
Well done the Iliffes!
Bill Phillips: Three cheers!

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