The English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a London house. This allowed to them to spend time in the country and in the city-hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full time residence for the landed gentry. These people were central to the squirearchy that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses.
With large indoor and outdoor staffs, country house were important as places of employment for many rural communities. In turn, until the agricultural depressions of 1870s, the estates, of which country houses were the hub, provided their owners with incomes. However, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the swan song of the traditional English country house lifestyle. Increased taxation and the results of World War I resulted in the demolition of thousands of houses; those that remained had to adapt to survive. While a château or a schloss can be a fortified or unfortified building, a country house is usually unfortified. If fortified, it is called a castle.
Confusingly, there are no written terms for distinguishing between vast country palaces and comparatively small country houses; all descriptive terms, which can include castle, manor and court provide no firm clue and are often only used because of a historical connection with the site of such a building. Therefore, for ease or explanation, England’s country houses can be categorised according to the circumstances of their creation.
Today, many country houses have become hotels, schools, hospitals, museums and prisons, while others have survived as conserved ruins, but from the early 20th century until to the early 1970s, thousands of country houses were demolished. Houses that survived destruction are now mostly listed as buildings of historic interest, Grade I or II and can only be maintained under Government supervision-and only the most faithful, most accurate, and most precise restoration and re-creation is permitted. This is, however, also usually the most expensive. This system does, however, ensure that all work is correctly and authentically done. The negative side is that many owners cannot afford the work, so a roof remains leaking for the sake of a cheap roof tile.
Although the ownership or management of some houses has been transferred to a private trust, most notably at Chatsworth, other houses have transferred art works and furnishings under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme to ownership by various national or local museums, but are retained for display in the building. This enables the former owners to offset tax, the payment of which would otherwise have necessitated the sale of the art works, for example tapestries and furniture at Houghton Hall are now owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Increasing numbers of country houses hold licences for weddings and civil ceremonies. Another source of income is use as a film location and Corporate entertainment venue. While many country houses are open to the public, they remain inhabited private houses, and in some cases, by the descendents of their original builders.
[caption id="attachment_2621" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Olympic Park. Aerial view of the Olympic Park looking South East with the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Media Press Centre (MPC) in the foreground. Picture taken on 14 Jul 11 by Anthony Charlton."][/caption]The 2012 Summer Olympic development is a process running from 2005 to 2012, following the successful London bid...
[caption id="attachment_6279" align="aligncenter" width="590"] 'strand east' in london is a 26-acre urban planning project by IKEA, expected to be completed around 2018[/caption]inter IKEA holding services, property owners of the retail company, has just submitted a planning application to city officials for strand east, an intended five-quarter urban planning project in stratford, east london.