The Long Weekend: Life in the 1920s English Country House

Thursday 6 October / 6–8pm


With Adrian Tinniswood

‘Fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book… Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downtown Abbey never was.’ Rachel Cooke, Observer

Step into the fascinating surroundings of the English Country House during the 1920s with expert guide Adrian Tinniswood. Enjoy the company of prestigious guests, from aristocrats and politicians to artists and socialites, in a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Between the First and Second World Wars the idea of the English country house was revitalised. The rural ideal shared by aristocrats and plutocrats alike was given new life by the sleek lines of architectural Modernism along with advances in heating, lighting and plumbing. Lifestyles were changing, and the desire to adapt the country home for leisure, fun and hospitality was matched by the rise of the interior design profession.

Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, Tinniswood outlines his research for the new book, The Long Weekend, which provides a definitive social history of English stately homes in the interwar years. Combining scholarship, narrative and anecdote, Tinniswood shows how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream.

The event starts at 6pm with a cocktail in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the exhibition 1920s Jazz Age Fashion & Photographs; the talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including the chance to ask questions at the end. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk. It is followed by a book signing. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.

Adrian Tinniswood OBE is a writer and historian. He is the author of twelve books on architectural and social history, including The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars (Jonathan Cape, 2016) and The Art Deco House: Avant-Garde Houses of the 1920s and 1930s (Mitchell Beazley, 2005). He is an adviser to the National Trust, and a Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Buckingham.

Price £15 / £12 students includes a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.

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