On this day - 12th January 1895

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Octavia Hill painting 35180

The National Trust is born

The National Trust was founded on 12 January 1895 by Octavia Hill (pictured), Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley. Over the last 120 years it has become one of the UK's largest charities, caring for historic properties and areas of beautiful countryside.

The idea of the National Trust was born when Octavia Hill was asked to help preserve Sayes Court garden in south east London.

Within a few weeks of the National Trust being registered under the Companies Act, it was given its first place — five acres of cliff top at Dinas Oleu in Wales.

In 1896 the first building was bought — Alfriston Clergy House in Sussex for £10 (about £600 in today's money).

Then in 1899 came the first Nature Reserve, with the purchase of two acres of Wicken Fen, near Cambridge.

In 1902 came the appeal for funds for the purchase of Brandelhow on Derwentwater. Many contributed to the appeal including the daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Louise, and factory workers in the Midlands.

And today....

  • Each year 4.5 million cups of tea are served.
  • 39 pubs and inns are owned and run
  • There are over 61,000 volunteers
  • The National Trust looks after 778 miles of coastline.
  • There are over 5 million members
  • The Trust owns 49 churches, nine monasteries and eight billiard tables

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