11 things you (probably) didn’t know about National Trust

No Comments | November 06,2018 | by Site Administrator

The New Keith Brymer Jones National Trust Collection was inspired by the outstanding natural beauty and rich history of Britain. A range of six mugs in subtle shades that reflect the land, sea and skies around the UK. It seemed a fitting way to celebrate the partnership between Keith Brymer Jones and National Trust with a few lesser known facts about one of the largest and most significant of the UK’s charities… so here are 11 things you (probably) didn’t know about them,

1: National Trust is one of the UK’s largest non-profits and is a registered charity.

It was originally founded in 1895 but became the fully fledged not-for-profit after the National Trust Act of 1907. 120 years later, it has become one of the UK’s largest charities, caring for historic properties and areas of beautiful countryside.

2: They used to be called “National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty”

But they changed it because, well, it’s a bit long to fit on a business card and it was hard to type NationalTrustForPlacesOfHistoricInterestOrNaturalBeauty.com into your browser.

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3: It isn’t just country houses.

While the National Trust owns or manages over 300 historic houses and gardens, ancient monuments, nature reserves and parks, they also take care of  775 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of land (much of which is of outstanding natural beauty).

It it quite a job to look after them all and it has to work like a well-oiled machine, ensuring it generates enough money to maintain all the building, monuments & land that it is responsible for.

4: You can rent amazing holiday cottages from the National trust

With so much land in their care, the trust has quite a few smaller, less precious buildings in it’s care. These include lighthouses, windmills, barns, cottages and other quirky buildings that they can rent out as short term holiday rentals to bring in some funds.

By law, they are not allowed to pay anyone dividends on their profits, so the money raised gets rolled back into the trust so they can use it on their conservation projects.

The Trust also has bunkhouses that can sleep from 2 to 16 people in basic but often incredibly remote, picturesque locations, making them ideal for walking holidays or an unusual weekend escape.

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6: You can go glamping & camping with the National trust

From the Cornish coasts to the Lake District, from Northern Ireland to the Isle of Wight… the National Trust has set aside areas to be used for camping & glamping. Pods, Yurts, Safari tents… bring your campervan or find a spot to park your own tent and get back to nature in stunning locations.

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7: You can even live in a National Trust Property

Well, don’t get too excited, we’re not talking Waddesdon Manor here – although they do manage some properties where the original owners still live. Most of the homes the National Trust rents out to long term residents are relatively normal, family homes that came with the land they manage. They might be traditionally built or in places of outstanding beauty, but they could also be humble, farm or factory workers’ lodgings that can still provide a perfectly good home to someone. As with the holiday lets, the rent they bring in funds their conservation work.

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8: It’s got powers

The National Trust Act of 1907 granted them statuary powers to protect areas of outstanding beauty or historic significance. The trust can, up to a point, prevent compulsory purchase orders that put properties of historic or cultural value at risk, although Parliament can always overrule them.

Much of the land is held “inalienably” which means it is held by the National Trust forever, for the benefit of the nation.

9: Scotland has its own National trust.

National Trust only covers England, Wales & Northern Ireland while National Trust for Scotland performs a similar conservation role North of the border. The National Trust for Scotland preserves some of the last remaining true wildernesses in the UK, historic buildings and also has 11,000 archeology sites.  As an added bonus, you can book a holiday in a castle or hire one out for a wedding or event through National Trust for Scotland.

10: It has one of the world’s largest collections of art & antiques

When you add-up all the books, tapestry & paintings, the furniture, ceramics and other curiosities, there are over a million items in their collection. You would expect to find Chippendale furniture and  Jacobean portraits in their collection, but might be surprised by other items including mechanical arms, prosthetics & early scientific tools and decorated papers.

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11: It was founded by a woman (and two men).

Octavia Hill was a social reformer, political activist and one of the three founders of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty. Born in December 1838, she worked with people living in built-up, industrial areas in some of the worst conditions in the country. Back in the 19th century it was quite common for cities like London to become engulfed in a ‘real pea-souper“, a fog so thick with pollution from industry that it was impossible to see and breathing was difficult. For the poor, there was little escape from this pollution and Octavia Hill recognised that it was essential they have “a few acres where the hill top enables the Londoner to rise above the smoke, to feel a refreshing air for a little time and to see the sun setting in coloured glory which abounds so in the Earth God made“.


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