In this article the National Trust discuss the huge impact the war had on British country houses.


The First World War had an enormous impact on British society, heralding the end of traditional country house life.  Servants and family members were called up to fight in the war, with many tragic deaths.  The loss of aristocratic heirs during the war and the crippling impact of death duties led to many families selling their estates. 
The war also brought about a significant social change in the shape of a servant crisis, with many people previously employed in domestic service finding that they could get paid more working in factories.
By the end of the war in 1918, country houses were no longer the epicentre of local power that they had been previously and the landowners were losing their prestige.  So began an era of country houses being demolished and estates changing hands and in many cases being split up.
“The impact of the First World War on country houses was far reaching.  Many great houses and estates in our care were affected in some way by the war, as were the families and servants who lived and worked in them.  This summer we are commemorating the lives of those who were there on the battlefield and on the home front and sharing their stories,” said Catherine MacCarthy, Head of Conservation at the National Trust in the Midlands.