From the 1950s until quite recently, increasingly large numbers of country houses were being demolished because their owners could not afford to run them. An incredible statistic of one a fortnight in 1955 meant that country house sales were very common during this period where the contents of the houses were auctioned off prior to their being demolished. These sales were also very popular with local communities and dealers alike. The sale would take place over a few days and would take on the atmosphere of a country fair. Many people would make a day of it, and although pieces of antique furniture from these large houses were often too costly or too cumbersome for people’s homes, generally there was a souvenir from the big house that the local punter could afford to take away with them.
The tale of destruction of these large houses and stately homes is a tragic one and the legacy that is left means that houses of this stature are now quite thin on the ground. So the country house sale is no longer common as most of the ‘family silver’ has been sold off. However there has been a metamorphosis into something more virtual where the saleroom contents of a house are advertised live on the internet and the whole transaction of buying and selling can take place online.
For these buyers, this of course takes away some of the localness and the excitement of seeing the sale items in situ in order to create this global marketplace where anyone can join in.
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