It’s time we restored trust in the National Trust

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By Milly Skriczka.

I rejoined the National Trust having recently retired, I now have the time to visit our most beautiful and cherished houses and gardens.

The National Trust, a benevolent charitable organisation with no state funding, and largely supported by volunteers, has always appealed to me as a Conservative.

But I find it’s not the National Trust I was a member of years ago. It seems to have strayed from its historical mission to “protect and care for places so people and nature can thrive” and started to allow a narrow political dogma into its daily operations.

It seems to have strayed from its historical mission to “protect and care for places so people and nature can thrive” and started to allow a narrow political dogma into its daily operations.

My continuing involvement should not be viewed as support, but as an angry statement of defiance. I rejoined as a member for one reason: to cast my vote at the AGM for the changes we need to end the culture of woke which has dominated the management culture of the National Trust for far too long.

I am not an advocate for hunting, but the National Trust banned all hunting, including drag hunting, from its land, even when that land was given with covenants to allow such activity. 

The National Trust started redefining the history and legitimacy of landowners based on a modern-day interpretation of right and wrong.

A generation ago the will was there to restore Uppark beautifully after a devastating fire. Now the National Trust proposes to leave the fire-gutted shell of Clandon Park as an expensive tarted-up ruin. This is the clearest possible indication of the growing apathy towards our historic houses in the National Trust and how they have lost confidence in their core purpose.

The “Colonial Countryside Project” was a clear political project to undermine British history to suit a specific left-wing revisionist interpretation. Lifelong volunteers have been treated badly and walked away; tenant farmers have farming policies imposed on them without consultation; farmhouses taken from the rural housing stock to become expensive let holiday cottages. The list goes on.

Then most recently, the National Trust has joined forces with similar organisations to try to bully the government on Net Zero, as Andrew Tettenborn recently highlighted in his excellent article in The Spectator.

Then most recently, the National Trust has joined forces with similar organisations to try to bully the government on Net Zero, as Andrew Tettenborn recently highlighted in his excellent article in The Spectator.

The National Trust and the heritage and history it is responsible for preserving is too important for us to abandon and leave in the hands of those who don’t love and respect it as we do. That is why I have signed up to the Restore Trust campaign, and I hope you do too.

Restore Trust is a voluntary group campaigning to ensure the National Trust stays true to its original mission and to give members a greater say in how the Trust is run. Its first step is to seek a more balanced membership of the National Trust Council (elected annually in September). At present, the National Trust Board “endorses” candidates it wishes to see elected, thus perpetuating a self-serving oligarchy. Those who oppose this status quo are marginalised and disadvantaged in the ballot. Can you imagine a situation where the Officers of the local council openly endorse candidates for election who are then expected to hold those same officers to account for their actions! This is deeply undemocratic and must change.

In recent years hundreds of thousands of people have resigned from the National Trust. I don’t want them to follow a conservative agenda, I want them to return to their original purpose of protecting our heritage and making it available for future generations. And that requires the National Trust to love and care for our heritage as much as we do.

And that can be best achieved by them being free of all party politics.

Please join me in supporting the work of Restore Trust by signing up here

It doesn’t matter if you are a member of the National Trust or not – many of your friends and contacts will be, and we need you to help spread the message. 

16 COMMENTS

  1. You may be interested in the text of my letter to The Spectator magazine, written in response to an article published there 1st August. My comments have received some support.:

    As a long-time member of the National Trust I am seriously considering my contiued membership. With the various antics at much loved properties being turned into simplisitc propaganda-fests for the latest woke fashion, to the unpleaasant way they behave towards volunteers who dare to question the direction of travel.

    As a member, I have not been asked for my opinion of what is good for the environment nor, even, what is good for the hard-pressed finances of the people who visit NT properties.
    I have just visited the NT website; there does not appear to be any access to what has been said in my name.

    But this is becoming so typical of this anti-democratic body. It gerry-mandered last year’s AGM, to prevent meaningful proposals from ordinary members from being passed.

    I have also checked the website of ‘Restore Trust’, but no mention of the NT’s letter to the government or their views of what members should do. Only exhortations to join the National Trust and hope that members’ opinions will be smiled upon by the fat cats who now run the organisation.

    I think there is only one option, remove our funding, demand the government remove funding from what has now become a political organisation, and stop visiting the properties.

    Voting with our feet seems the only option.

  2. I heartily agree with Milly Skrikza’s views ans am angry about the NT straying from its duties to protect and conserve. It is NOT its job to “decolonise” its properties and artefacts. Nor the history of owners tenants and benefactors. I strongly resent its assumption that, along with millios of other members, I approve of attempting to influence Government regarding the impossible snd ridiculous concept of Net Zero and all its ramifications.

  3. Hi, I’m reluctant to rejoin as I wouldn’t know who to vote for. I certainly wouldn’t want to help someone back in who has a woke ideology and wants to destroy our history even further. Please give more details to help the public make an informed decision.

  4. I agree with Lin – much as I would like to make an informed choice that is in keeping with Restore Trust’s aims, unless RT make that choice clear, the risk of getting it wrong is just too great.

  5. I am a member trying from inside to stop the trust poking it’s nose into things that other people have on their agenda,stick to doing what you used to do best and look after things put into your trust and keep your beak out of anything else ,anyone who doesn’t want to do this can sod off national trust is not a woke organisation.

  6. The trust lost the plot. Misguided woke views have ruined the National trust. I would re- join if it reverted to previous aims but unless I’m confident that is the case I will not waste money in the hope that they see sense. The number of people that gave up membership should have made them realise the anger felt .

  7. The National Trust was left properties to preserve and cherish for present and future generations.
    History cannot and should not be changed as this is how we learn to behave to each other, to enable us to improve the world we live in.

  8. ‘Restore Trust’ is a commendable group of NT members trying to restore the National Trust to the values and standards that made the Trust a much-loved and admired component of our national culture.
    If sensible people walk away from the National Trust, that leaves the woke infiltrators safe in control and the legacy of past generations of donors and members will be squandered and tarnished. We have to fight back against what is happening.
    Over the past two years ‘Restore Trust’ has given clear guidance to concerned NT members over which candidates we should be wise to support in the annual vote. I expect that it will do the same this year. Given the bureaucracy that is entrenched in the apparatus of the National Trust, this will not be an easy fight to wage – but we should remember the Soviet Union once looked supremely strong and then suddenly the rotten dishonest structure came tumbling down.

  9. I seem to have lost the plot! Conservative post? What has that to do with the appalling way the National has behaved? I would rather claw my eyes out than be associated with the conservatives, but I believe that the National Trust has a duty to preserve the built heritage, and see it as no part of their remit to preach to me about gay (or any other) rights. As for leaving a property as a ruin, when it was insured, presumably to renew it after such an event, well, words fail me! There should be NO political dimension to this at all. The trust should just get on with what it was founded for. It’s simple- THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS DOING ANYTHING OTHER!

  10. We’re can we vote? And if I can’t then surely me and many others let it be known we will withdraw our support until it reverts to its proper purpose

  11. Give us a list of people to vote for and a list of people who we can write to complain about.
    I agree with the Restore Trust ethose but this post gives little substance on which to bite.

  12. So you’re campaigning for a non-Political agenda, yet you link straight to the Conservative Post?

    Restore Trust IS political and wants to infiltrate the Trust as a trojen horse for its own political power and influence.

  13. Dear Restore Trust, As requested by Steve White, I would also like to see a list of those supporters of Restore Trust who will be standing for election at the Trust’s annual elections in September. Best wishes, Peter Whiteley. p.s. I have been (and will remain) a member of the National Trust for some time and will be shortly making another donation to Restore Trust.

  14. I totally agree that the National trust has completely lost it’s way and sense of purpose.
    The Trust was instigated, purely and simply, to preserve building, land, fixtures and fittings etc. for the benefit of future generations.
    In taking on it’s latest, totally political, role it is exceeding it’s remit and certainly not acting in the interests, or the interest of, it’s members.
    I have, with a degree of reluctance renewed my membership this year to ensure that my word is recorded.
    Assuming the worst, naturally, of the group currently in charge I anticipate resigning after the next meeting.

  15. I very much agree with the comments above. I pay for my two sons and their families plus myself for yearly membership to the National Trust,but am seriously considering withdrawing this next year.

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