United by a common belief that nature, beauty and history are for everyone, our three founders, Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsely, set up the National Trust in 1895 so that natural and historic places could be protected for future generations.
By the end of the 19th century, rapid industrialisation was threatening to sweep away the country’s heritage and destroy its remaining natural landscape. Between them, our founders campaigned against this threat, raising awareness, amassing support and laying the foundations for an organisation to look after special places for everyone, for ever.
As individuals they were very different personalities and they all left their own unique mark on our fledgling organisation that can still be felt today.
Thanks to the vision and wisdom of our founders we’ve been able to grow and now look after more than 250,000 hectares of farmland, 780 miles of coastline and 500 historic places, gardens and nature reserves.
125 years on, their mission is just as relevant today and thanks to the generous donations of our supporters and the hard work of our staff and volunteers we are continuing the work that our founders started and will continue to do so for everyone, for ever.