Jewish Country Houses: Objects, Networks, People

Jewish Country Houses – Objects, Networks, People is led by the University of Oxford with Durham University and the University of Cardiff, in partnership with the heritage sector, including the National Trust. The project focuses on a hitherto unidentified group of country houses in the UK and continental Europe owned, renewed and sometimes built by Jews and those of Jewish origin. Some are now museums of international importance, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year; many more have been demolished or repurposed. A few are modern ruins, hovering between memory and oblivion.

This project is the first of its kind to attempt to write these houses and their owners back into British, European, and Jewish history and to establish their importance as sites of European – and Jewish – memory.

In December 2019, David Feldman, Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism gave the keynote lecture on ‘Antisemitism, Jews and History’ at a workshop for heritage professionals entitled ‘Jewish Stories and the National Heritage’ held at the National Trust property Polesden Lacey in Surrey. David Feldman’s lecture is included in Jewish Country Houses, A Resource Pack for UK Heritage Professionals (May 2020).

This four-year research project commenced in October 2019 and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Project team: Abigail Green, University of Oxford (Principal Investigator); Juliet Carey, Waddesdon Manor; Silvia Davoli, Strawberry Hill House; Jaclyn Granick, University of Cardiff; Thomas Stammers, Durham University.

Image credit: South Front, Waddesdon Manor. Photo Studio 8 © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

Professor David Feldman, Director – 1

The relationship between antisemitism and other forms of racism and exclusion is not only a historical question. It is an urgent issue for today.

Professor David Feldman, Director

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