Speed, Style, and the English Country House: Auto, Horse & Airplane Racing at England’s Historic Houses

Fast living surrounded by bright young things – that’s the image we have today of the Interwar Years, when, between 1919 and 1939, fast cars, fast women, lots of alcohol, and an abundance of glamour and glitter was the order of the day for England’s upper classes.

However, there is much more to the story. This lecture goes back hundreds of years, beginning in the 17th century, when the turf ruled the aristocratic taste for racing and horses were de rigueur for the fast set. From Goodwood House in Sussex, home of the Glorious Goodwood festival (Thoroughbred horse racing), one of the highlights of the English social season, to Higham Park in Kent, one of the first centers of auto racing in the early 20th century, the lecture covers horse, auto, and airplane racing.

Stories of lions, murder, and movies, all mixed carefully with soaring ambition and stunning houses filled with sublime art comes together to reveal fantastic stories that have left a residue for us to marvel at today. From James Bond’s ancestry to the Flying Duchess – it’s a world that would be recognized by King Charles II and Evelyn Waugh. What could be more deliciously English?!

If you’d like to see a virtual presentation on YouTube that Curt gave of this lecture in August of 2020 for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, click here.


Because I've enjoyed Curt's lectures so much, I've signed up for his three-part series on British country houses. I can't wait...