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Thursday31 July 2014

Landmark moments

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A look back at BD’s interview with Landmark Trust founder John Smith in 1965

Luttrell Tower

Luttrell Tower, Hampshire

Date August 1977
Subject Landmark Trust
Location Luttrell’s Tower

In the week that we review Witherford Watson Mann’s reworking of Astley Castle for the Landmark Trust, we look back to when BD interviewed John Smith, who founded the charitable trust in 1965 to restore and preserve “buildings either too small or too desperate for the National Trust to take on” — for example, Luttrell’s Tower in Hampshire, pictured right — as places for “mildly improving holidays”.

Smith, who gave his recreation in Who’s Who as “improving the view”, said the biggest challenge in preservation was not money or the state of the built fabric, but “persuading the people who control the building to let you preserve it”.

“As a general principle, we are not interested in any building that anyone else wants,” he said. “Landmark isn’t stamp collecting; it’s a safety net.”

He explained its philosophy was to replace as little as possible and go for an unglossy appearance — an approach that extended to furnishings: “We actually prefer rugs and carpets to be a little bit worn.”

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