Friday, December 18, 2009

Living history

A former colleague and her husband left their comfortable, secure world of work and mortgage a few years ago and set off on series of great adventures. They track down a derelict historic building anywhere in Britain, find out all they can about its history and how it was built, learn the skills needed to restore it and then sell it before moving on to the next. Most of their projects last for about two years and I look forward to the progress report that comes in a Christmas card each year.

They have learned many of their skills on courses run by the National Trust and this year's Christmas card shows them in period costume alongside other volunteers at Buckland Abbey, the 700 year old house bought by Sir Francis Drake in 1581.

I'm sure that Lindsay (in the centre, wearing what she calls her posh frock) has a great deal of fun as she learns about the repair and maintenance of historic buildings. I cannot imagine that she regrets leaving the office behind, even when she is at the beginning of a project and may be living with few creature comforts. I wonder where next year's Christmas card will come from?


  1. Do you think they'd fancy a stint here? Plenty of scope for renovations if a little less illustrious. They wouldn't even have to buy it, I'm sure a mutually accepatble arrangement could be made...

  2. I've already tried that one, RO! My 350 year old cottage could use some expert loving care.

  3. How fascinating! Are these homes open to the public as living history museums, or are they owned privately?

  4. Jodi
    The National Trust houses are open to the public. The houses that my friend buys to renovate are not. She and her husband live purchase very run down period cottages and houses, live in them while they restore them and then sell them as private dwellings. It is haer work but they really enjoy it. I think I would find it very difficult to leave a house I had restored.

  5. I would find it very difficult to leave the house as well. I certianly admire your friends for preserving the past.


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