There is, of course, no argument about taste, and Ms Pavord is entitled to regard Max Gate as a disappointment, 'plain' and 'lacking aesthetic or architectural interest'. But visitors will not be going there for aesthetic or architectural reasons, and she is wrong to describe it as badly built. It is an interesting and substantial piece of Victorian architecture, which has already provided a good home for more than a century and will continue to do so when many of our 20th-century buildings have either fallen or been knocked down.
Max Gate will be visited by thousands of Hardy admirers from all over the world because it was his home for half his life, because he wrote there three of his greatest novels and almost all his great poetry. There are at least 30 or 40 poems that refer to the house and garden, and it is for such literary associations that next year people will come to Max Gate.
Chairman, Thomas Hardy Society