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The National Trust has recently celebrated its centenary. Set up by three far-sighted Victorians in 1895 to protect places of historic interest or natural beauty, it has over the past hundred years grown from a tiny group into one of the world's leading conservation organisations. The Trust now looks after over 500,000 acres of coast and countryside in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 200 historic houses and 150 great gardens, with the support of over 2.4 million members, and a huge number of volunteers who put in over a million hours of help each year.
The National Trust is full of surprises, for as well as the houses, gardens and countryside, it looks after all kind of oddities, such as Gondola, a Victorian, Venetian-style steam yacht that plies Coniston Water in Cumbria, and the rock houses of Kinver Edge in Staffordshire, until recently home to a cave-dwelling community.
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In this revised and updated second edition (the first edition appeared in 1990), collaborators Greeves, an author of books on London and English country houses, and Trinick, a National Trust employee, cover most of the National Trust's gardens, historic homes, and coastland in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their arrangement is practical and easy to use; the entries are arranged in alphabetical order, and several maps pinpoint their locations. Each entry provides the historical background and a detailed description of a property; more than half include a color photograph. The book also contains a listing of properties not described in the text. What the work lacks, however, is information on visiting hours, admission costs, and handicapped access. For that, you have to go to the National Trust Handbook (Trafalgar Square, 1997). Nonetheless, the guide is useful to those planning a tour through the British countryside. Recommended for public libraries.?Kathleen A. Shanahan, American Univ. Lib., Silver Spring, Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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