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Our little black book of enchanting places



Posted in NEWS By Maggie O'Sullivan

Happy 50th birthday to The Landmark Trust. For half a century, this admirable charity has been rescuing our dilapidated castles, cottages, fort and follies, and turning them into beautiful places for holidaymakers to rent. Actually, the trust’s Big Birthday is not until next May, but celebration plans have already been announced. There will, they promise, be open days, free charity stays, and an urgent appeal. And, most exciting of all, a special installation by Antony Gormley called LAND.

For LAND, Antony Gormley, above, is already hard at work, creating a single, life-size, standing sculpture for five Landmark Trust locations: Martello Tower, pictured top, in Suffolk, Clavell Tower, in Dorset, Lundy Island, in the Bristol Channel, Lengthsman's Cottage, in Warwickshire, and Saddell House, on the Mull of Kintyre. Says Gormley, who chose the sites himself, ‘The challenge is to make the verticality of each sculpture the focus, as a kind of rod or conductor for thoughts and feelings that might arise at a site.’ The sculptures will be installed by May 2015 and will remain for a year.

 LlwnCelyn, above, in the Black Mountains, won’t be getting a sculpture, but it will be getting something even better: a lifeline. The 15th-century manor house is one of the most remarkable medieval Welsh houses still in existence. It’s also in a terrible state of disrepair, held together by prayers and scaffolding for the past decade. So as part of its 50th celebrations, The Landmark Trust has launched an urgent appeal to raise part of the £4.2m needed to restore it, helped by the special interest of the trust’s patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. 

Next year will also see the opening of two more properties saved by The Landmark Trust:  
St Edward's Presbytery, in Ramsgate, a Grade I-listed Gothic Revival building designed by Augustus Pugin, and Belmont, above, an 18th-century seaside villa in Lyme Regis, where its former owner, John Fowles, wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Finally, there will be a little birthday gift for the rest of us. On May 16-17, the trust will be running a special Golden Weekend during which 25 properties, including Clavell Tower in Dorset, above, will be open to the public. Says Anna Keay, The Landmark Trust’s Director, “We are incredibly proud that over the last half century The Landmark Trust has been able to save some of Britain's most precious places and given so many people so much joy. We want to celebrate our birthday by sharing these incredible buildings with everyone...”

So put the date in your diary now. This is one 50th birthday you won’t want to miss.

Further information, The Landmark Trust

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