The Making of Downton Abbey: Setting the Scene

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Wednesday April 18, 2012


Riverside Public Library

The soap opera began hundreds of years before Edith wrote her letter to the Turkish Ambassador! Yet the aristocratic way of life that had evolved at places like Downton Abbey was nearly ruined by the time we first meet the Crawleys in 1912. How did a few families come to own so much English property? Why did Robert’s family need him to marry an heiress like Cora? And why do places like Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in real life) look the way they do? Learn about the landscape designers, land ownership patterns, and inheritance laws that
produced great estates like Downton, and why radical changes were inevitable.

Landscape historian BARBARA GEIGER specializes in late 19th and early 20th century places. She teaches in the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a popular lecturer and tour leader in the Chicago area. Low-Key Genius: The Life and Work of Landscape-Gardener O.C. Simonds, Geiger’s biography of this highly significant designer, was published spring 2011.

For more information contact us:
Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, Riverside, IL 60546, 708-442-6366,