Paperbacks: How We Built Britain, by David Dimbleby

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The Independent Culture

Who would have thought that inside the stolid figure of the author, Posh Spice is frantically trying to get out?

David Dimbleby declares that 17th-century Chastleton House in Oxfordshire, described by Pevsner as "blatantly nouveau riche, even barbaric", is "right up my street" and he goes into ecstasies about the ostentatious roof of Burghley House, built in a tradition continued by "pop star, tycoon, Russian oligarch or minor royal". Stunningly illustrated, this celebration contains many surprises – the Triangular Lodge visible from the St Pancras line in Northamptonshire is a coded declaration of Roman Catholicism.