Attingham celebrates 70 years of the National Trust in 2017
2017 marked 70 years of the National Trust at Attingham Park.
A gift for 'public benefit'
Attingham was built in the 1780s by Noel Hill, the first Lord Berwick. Five generations of the Berwick family lived at Attingham, the setting for astutely accumulated fortunes, overspending and financial ruin, love and neglect, and revival and rediscovery.
Attingham was given to the National Trust in 1947, upon his death, by Thomas, 8th Lord Berwick. Thomas inherited Attingham in 1897 and he and his wife Teresa lived there from the 1920s onwards. After Thomas’ death in 1947, Teresa continued to live at Attingham until her death in 1972.
Attingham was gifted to the Trust by the Berwicks so that ‘Some day others could finish what we could not…’ (Teresa, Lady Berwick, 1951) and the Berwick’s love for Attingham is clear to see in the papers and photographs they left behind (now in the archive of the property), their careful work to preserve the history and collection of Attingham while in their care, and ultimately, in Thomas’ decision to leave Attingham to the National Trust ‘for public benefit’.
When Thomas inherited Attingham it was in a poor state, let out to tenants, and unloved. Between them, Thomas and Teresa set about slowly and lovingly restoring Attingham Hall’s interiors as far as they could on limited means, and the National Trust has continued their work. The efforts of Thomas and Teresa and the generations of National Trust staff and volunteers who have carefully cared for and conserved the estate, have ensured the continued preservation of Attingham as one of the most complete late Georgian country house estates in England today.
In the Mansion
To mark the anniversary in 2017 visitors to the Mansion found a display with information about the early days of the National Trust at Attingham. Historic photographs and information from when Lady Berwick still lived there from the 1940s – 1970s, when it was the home of the Shropshire Adult Education College in the 1950s, as well as highlights from memorable events, and vital conservation and restoration work that has taken place over the last seven decades, were all included. Visitors were asked "Put yourself in our shoes, what choices and decisions would you have made for Attingham?"
Find out more about Teresa
Attingham's archive of Teresa's (1895-1972) papers and photographs are carefully stored and looked after by Shropshire Archives. All of Teresa's archive is available to search online on the Discovering Shropshire's History website here