Blenheim: Biography of a Palace

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9780670820276: Blenheim: Biography of a Palace

A popular biography of the greatest English house from its conception and building in the opening decade of the eighteenth century to the burial of Winston Churchill in the early 1960s. Using the vast Blenheim papers (now in the British Museum) together with local Oxfordshire documents and archives Marian Fowler has been able to trace the history not just of its famous inhabitants but also of the building itself and the thousands of servants and workmen who have kept it functioning over the years. There will be four long core chapters each taking a specific event at Blenheim (the first is a theatrical performance of a Dryden play put on by his grandchildren for the almost senile first Duke of Marlborough) and moving out from that to general description of the place and its inhabitants at that time. The four events will each be separated by about 60 years.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Canadian author Fowler animates history with her comprehensive account of a spectacular English landmark. Construction started on the Oxfordshire mansion in 1702, a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, victor at the Battle of Blenheim which inspired the name Blenheim Palace. Fowler records details of the vastness and richness of the "family home" as well as the daily lives of the occupants through the centuries. There are stories--some scandalous--of Blenheim's famous guests and hosts and the crippling costs of maintaining the proud edifice as the inheritors' fortunes declined with the British Empire. Only fees collected from public visitors allow the 11th duke to maintain the palace today. Each chapter in the portrait is engrossing, especially the moving re-creation of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral at Blenheim, where he was born. This lovely book calls to mind his WW II rallying cry: "There'll always be an England."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Marian Fowler
Published by Viking Adult (1990)
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