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Places where people helped change the world

Black and white photo of the Churchills at breakfast in August 1927, at Chartwell, Kent. Photograph by Donald Ferguson, for the painting by Winston Churchill
The Churchills at breakfast in August 1927, at Chartwell, Kent, photographed by Donald Ferguson | © National Trust Images/ Anthony Lambert

Many of the places in our care were once the homes of visionary thinkers, who helped transform and shape the modern world through science, engineering and popular culture. Find out more about their lives and where they made history.

The birthplace of photography: Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
William Henry Fox Talbot was a British scientist who created the first photographic negative at Lacock Abbey in 1835. He'd become frustrated by his inability to paint and draw and wanted to find a way to 'fix images'. He wrote: ‘How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durable and remain fixed upon the paper! And why should it not be possible?’Discover the history of Lacock Abbey
A modern positive image made via a calotype paper negative by William Henry Fox Talbot of his family outside the entrance to the Cloisters, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
A modern positive image made via a calotype paper negative by William Henry Fox Talbot of his family outside the entrance to the Cloisters, Lacock Abbey | © Photographer
Invention of the long range radio and revolutionising travel: the Lizard, Cornwall
Guglielmo Marconi made the first shore-to-ship radio broadcasts at the Lizard Wireless Telegraph Station in 1901. His tiny wooden station building overlooking Bass Point, about a mile from Lizard Point, has been restored to look exactly as it did in 1901.Learn more about the Marconi radio stations
Guiding Britain through the Second World War: Chartwell, Kent
Sir Winston Churchill, who lived at Chartwell, Kent, led Britain to victory in the Second World War and is one of the most iconic political figures of the 20th century. The house is still decorated in a 1930s style and has rooms full of treasures, curios and other artefacts relating to his life.Explore the history of Winston Churchill in 50 objects
First woman MP to take her seat: Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Nancy Astor was the first woman MP in Britain to take her seat when she was elected to serve the people of Plymouth in 1919. Her influence went on to spread far and wide. During her life Cliveden became one of the centres of European political and literary life. Her guests included Lloyd George, Sir Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Ghandi and Charlie Chaplin – and all enjoyed lavish hospitality.Meet more people that made Cliveden
Oil painting on canvas, Nancy Witcher Langhorne, Viscountess Astor CH, MP (1879-1964) by John Singer Sargent, RA (Florence 1856 - London 1925), at Cliveden
Oil painting on canvas, Nancy Witcher Langhorne, Viscountess Astor CH, MP (1879-1964) by John Singer Sargent, RA (Florence 1856 - London 1925), at Cliveden. | © National Trust Images/John Hammond
Where gravity was discovered: Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire
Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential scientists of all time. The physicist and mathematician is well known for his work on calculus, the laws of motion and, of course, gravity. At his family home, Woolsthorpe Manor, grows the 400-year-old apple tree said to have inspired the scientist’s curiosity when he saw the apples falling down. This made him wonder, why do they do that?Discover the history of Woolsthorpe Manor
The places where music changed for ever: The Beatles' Childhood Homes, Liverpool
Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road are the childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney. What happened within their walls created one of the most iconic bands in music history. Upstairs in their bedrooms, two boys would find an escape from grief and hardship in music. Their shared passion led them to meet, and out of chaos came creativity and a lifelong musical partnership.Learn about The Beatles' Childhood Homes
John Lennon's childhood bedroom at Mendips, Liverpool
John Lennon's childhood bedroom at Mendips | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor
The revolutionisation of marine navigation: Nostell, Yorkshire
John Harrison lived close to Nostell as a child, where his father was the carpenter at the property. Growing up to become a carpenter and clockmaker, John went on to invent the marine chronometer, a remarkable device that allowed sailors to calculate longitude while at sea. The marine chronometer revolutionised navigation and greatly increased the safety of long-distance sea travel.Discover more about John Harrison's longcase clock
Octavia Hill (1838 - 1912) (after John Singer Sargent) by Reginald Grenville Eves, RA (London 1876 ¿ Middleton in Teesdale 1941)

People in history

Discover some of the social history behind the places we care for and uncover fascinating facts about the people who have lived in them.

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The house in spring sunshine at Lacock, Wiltshire. The ha-ha is visible in the foreground and there are trees without leaves framing the picture.
Place
Place

Lacock 

Country house with monastic roots, once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the photographic negative

near Chippenham, Wiltshire

Fully open today
A lifeboat station on green, rocky cliffs with slipway heading out into the sea
Place
Place

Lizard Point 

Dramatic cliffs shaped by the Atlantic. The Lizard features white beaches, turquoise seas and unique nature.

near Helston, Cornwall

Fully open today
A view of the path through the Golden Rose Avenue with flowers in bloom on either side at Chartwell, Kent
Place
Place

Chartwell 

Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill

Westerham, Kent

Fully open today
View of the Parterre in Spring at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Place
Place

Cliveden 

Glorious gardens and woodlands overlooking the River Thames

Maidenhead, Buckinghamshire

Fully open today
View of the Manor House from the orchard, where Isaac Newton's tree is beginning to blossom
Place
Place

Woolsthorpe Manor 

Isaac Newton changed the world here

Grantham, Lincolnshire

Partially open today
View of Paul McCartney's childhood bedroom at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool
Place
Place

The Beatles' Childhood Homes 

A combined tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool

Woolton and Allerton, Liverpool

Fully open today
Lady walking in front of the house at Nostell with 2 children and baby in a pram
Place
Place

Nostell 

Georgian treasure house, landscaped gardens, parkland and stables courtyard.

near Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Fully open today
Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, also known as Bess of Hardwick' by Rowland Lockey. Hanging in the Long Gallery at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
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Article

Remarkable women in history 

Learn about remarkable women in history linked to the places in our care, from the political player who helped make Charles II king to the archaeologist who helped discover a 7th-century Saxon ship burial.