Duncan McLaren has posted his report on his visit to Barford House in Warwickshire following his trip to Piers Court. This was the house where Alastair Graham and his family lived and where Waugh made many visits even after Alastair took employment overseas. McLaren reports that there have been several improvements to the exterior walls and entrances to the property. He suspects this can be attributed to revenue from development of adjoining land but cannot determine whether there have been comparable improvements to the house and garden (in particular the temple) from that source. This is because he has not been granted access to visit the house and gardens.
He also develops an argument that Waugh’s landscaping improvements at Piers Court were inspired, at least to some extent, by the design of the Barford gardens and offers several pieces of evidence (including photographs and maps) to support this theory. In addition, he sends a report from a colleague relating to the protected building status of the house and temple:
I have done some research today. As a small correction, although possibly significant, to your Barford Revisited page, the Barford House itself and the Temple are not both Grade II. The house has the more significant Grade II* listing whilst the Temple is Grade II.
Another blogger (gerardcharleswilson.com/blog/) has posted a recommendation of McLaren’s earlier essay relating to Waugh and Orwell. He concludes:
Duncan’s writings are for the extreme Waugh lover. Prepare for a wild ride. He had received a letter from someone who mentioned a meeting between Waugh and George Orwell. Duncan’s imagination took flight. Enjoy.
UPDATE (7 June 2019): Duncan McLaren has added the following report regarding Barford House:
Tim Jones has been in touch with the Principal Conservation Officer at Warwick County Council, stating his concerns about the state of the gazebo at Barford House. He was told:
‘The Council does reserve the right to issue urgent repairs notices under S.54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as an immediate interventionary measure when we are concerned about the building’s structural stability and state of repair.
‘We have been in touch with the owner previously and visited the site last year. Some repair work was carried out by the owner following this, however we will be visiting the site soon to assess the structure’s current condition and whether repairs are still ongoing.’
Which is encouraging, especially combined with the observation that there appears to be lots of renovation going on around Barford House, presumably linked to the sale of new houses built on ex-Barford House land.