Wednesday 6th March

Mr Edward Harley, past president of the Historic Houses Association, gave a brilliant talk on the beauties and the problems of England’s historic houses. He explained the importance of the 1,500 houses still in private hands to Britain’s economy and cultural life, and explained how these houses have adapted to meet the challenges of modern society and the huge financial pressures of the 21st century. His talk was illustrated by about 100 magnificent photographs of these houses in all their glory, and also hard at work hosting everything from Brazilian-themed weddings to marmalade competitions and mud-races. It was a humane and courageous address, ending with the ringing exhortation to ‘Get up and fight to keep these houses going!’.

He was the besieged with questions from the audience on all aspects of his talk, from tax arrangements to the meaning of his coat of arms. Clearly the talk had been of great interest to the boys who had come to listen, several of whom will be members of the Historic Houses Association in years to come. JDH struggled to bring the meeting to a conclusion and get everyone to leave Marten Schools Library.

John Harrison