Letting in the Hoi Polloi: 1945-1970
During World War II, great country houses doubled as army barracks and hospitals. After the war, their owners faced mammoth repair bills and a new Labour Government, which seemed prepared to tax them out of existence. In order to gain National Trust grants, a number of aristocrats opened their doors to the public. The peers who once ruled England now wooed the masses. With interviews and archival footage, Letting in the Hoi Polloi chronicles the days when the Duke of Devonshire hosted a television tour of his home, Lord Hertford water-skied through flaming hoops to attract tourists to his estate, and over 400 ancestral homes fell to the wrecking ball. The tumbling of class barriers during the 1960s is also recalled by Lord Lichfield, who became photographer to the new aristocrats–pop stars, models, and sports heroes.