Downton Abbey: House Popular?

A really interesting story in Times Higher Education recently as to the popularity of Downton Abbey – and how the house itself – the ultimate British status symbol – has contributed to its popularity.

The success of Downton Abbey is a tribute not just to Julian Fellowes’ ability as a dramatist, but to the enduring popularity of his subject: the country house. Highclere Castle, playing Downton Abbey, is the real star of the show. The British are in love with the “big house”, the centre of a landed estate, and for centuries the dynamic heart of whole societies and economies in rural Britain.

The wealth and status of British landowners over the centuries and the impact of primogeniture in keeping estates intact has meant that Britain has a wealth of these magnificent properties, from mellow mansions nestling in the English shires to the palaces erected by Scottish dukes and earls in the border counties, and every year millions of us visit them.

Read full story.