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Rescuing and Presenting Lost Heritage: Promoting Public Engagement with Marks Hall and the World of the Vanished Country House

This project brings together the general public, the local community, historians, archaeologists and heritage and horticultural professionals to understand and recreate the site of a great lost country house. Marks Hall near Coggeshall, Essex, is one of the lost mansions of Britain. It is a site that offers exciting opportunities for exploring the reconstruction of heritage and its educational and recreational appeal. During the twentieth century, Britain lost a third of its greatest country houses. Hundreds of mansions were pulled down because proprietors could no longer afford to maintain or repair them. Many houses were lost in the straitened decade of the 1950s, following wartime damage. Essex alone lost more than 100 mansions between 1946 and 1966.  The project will offer a virtual recreation including innovative conservation and planting. It will digitally recreate the original walls and architectural features, using hundreds of photographs, and integrate new displays, exhibits, holographic interpretations, university learning resources, community open days and archaeological digs, a new guide book and academic study of the whole project. A workshop and public policy forum on lost houses and historical memory will be held in May 2013, followed by an international conference on lost country houses in July.