The National Trust, 125 years old today

On this day in 1895 three Victorian philanthropists, Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley met and founded the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty. Octavia Hill had campaigned about the poor availability of open spaces for poor people and developments on suburban woodlands. She had helped to save London’s Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields from being built on and first coined the phrase the “Green Belt”. Sir Robert Hunter was a solicitor for the General Post Office and has acted for Hill on much of her work. He drafted the National Trust Bill, which was enacted by Parliament in 1907, giving the Trust the status of a statutory corporation. Living in the Lake District, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley was an enthusiastic campaigner for local and conservation issues. Together they founded an organisation which is now the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom and one of the largest UK charities by both income and assets. Its aim is to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty for the enjoyment of the British public.
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