The Last Country House

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One of the last great country houses to be built in this country is celebrated today.

The play imagines the building of Castle Drogo in Devon from the point of view of a fictional builder, Will, who worked on it for the twenty years of its construction.

Castle Drogo was the brainchild of two men: Edwin Lutyens, the greatest architect of his day, and Julius Drewe, the founder of Home and Colonial Stores.

Drewe came from an ordinary family but by middle age had made himself into the quintessential Victorian Gentleman.

His fortune came from imported tea.

He traced his ancestry back to medieval Devon and set about building a family seat there, the extraordinary fantasy Castle Drogo.

Work started in 1910, just as Lutyens was embarking on the most successful period of his career.

Built on a precipice high above Dartmoor it resembles a medieval fortress.

Inside it boasts every amenity the Twentieth Century could offer.

Despite rising costs, personal tragedy and a World War the building was finally completed in 1930, and there is no other building like it anywhere.

The play contrasts the pretensions of the self-made man with the simplicity and hard working nature of the builder.

'Who does history remember?' asks Will.

'The men who built it or the men who paid for it? Neither Drewe nor Lutyens knew anything about building, the place leaks like a bloody sieve.' In the end the play chronicles the passing of an age - an age when class distinction was all important, a distinction whose importance was in decline even as the dust clouds of World War One began to settle.

Robin Pirongs....Will David Timson....Lutyens Robert List....Drewe Directed by Peter Leslie Wild