2011-7-22 18:15:49 Lucy
Lesson45 Stately Homes
It was believed that in the old days the rich were very rich and the poor were very poor. Is it really different now? Some of the aristocratic families of Britain still have a lot of money, and some still live in magnificent #stately homes# built by their families hundreds of years ago.
Castles with strong walls and towers may be almost a thousand years old, but most stately homes date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and many are filled with wonderful collections of paintings and furniture. Even for the richest, life in these old houses is expensive. There are roofs to repair, hundreds of rooms to clean, and miles of parkland to look after. To make money, owners of stately homes often make their parks into playgrounds. They set up zoos, safari parks, model railways, and small museums — anything that people will pay to see.
Not everyone is lucky enough to keep their old home. Many of the people who once owned the castles and palaces of Britain cannot afford to look after them now. Luckily, the buildings still stand, full of wonderful antiques and art treasures.
A large number of them now belong to the National Trust, a private organization which buys historic buildings. The old owners often still live there, and keep the atmosphere of a beautiful private home, but the houses are open to the public too. In this way everyone can enjoy the great cultural treasures of the past.