Unearthing stories of passion and protest

An archive image of the people marching in the 1932 Kinder Scout trespass overlaid onto a modern day image of the landscape

To mark 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre, a turning point in our democracy, we are looking at the connections between our places and the rights and beliefs we hold dear today.

With a year of events, podcasts and exhibitions, you’ll be able to discover how places we care for, and the people associated with them, have been vital to the development of our democratic rights and home to mass social movements.

What we’re doing

Throughout the year we'll be telling the stories behind a variety of places; Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was sealed, Tolpuddle, where modern trade unionism was born and Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey, homes to key players in the Peterloo Massacre, one of the most bloody political protests in our history.

Also in focus is the Durham Coast; home to years of industry but now a blooming site of natural interest, and the Peak District's Kinder Scout, a rambler's dream and where a 1932 mass trespass started conversations over land access.

Why we’re doing it

Our Challenging Histories programme explores some of the more hidden aspects of our places. Each year we focus on a different theme that reflects national anniversaries and public debates.

People’s Landscapes, our theme for 2019, celebrates the places – including our historic houses and miles of coast and countryside – which served as a backdrop to social and political change. We’re telling the stories which resonate most closely with our places. As in previous years, they are thoroughly researched and told from a range of perspectives, exploring a side of history that deserves to be told.

We will also be celebrating the lives of our key founders; social reformers who, by establishing the National Trust, opened up our landscapes for all to enjoy.

Exhibitions and events

A touring exhibition, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, will celebrate past and modern champions of nature and conservation.

We will have Turner-Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller as the artistic advisor on a programme of events and exhibitions, working with four other artists to tell the stories of some very different places.

You can learn more about the Peterloo Massacre through the involvement of the owners of Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey, through the work of artist family Grace Surman, Gary Winters and their children Hope and Merrick.

Artist and musician Jarvis Cocker will mark the 1932 Kinder Scout mass trespass and celebrate his own childhood memories of visiting the Peak District by connecting with Sheffield communities, schools and youth clubs.

These commissions have been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with additional support from Art Fund. 

New podcast series

Our podcast series will tease out the more hidden stories behind these people and places of change.

A new guidebook, with an introduction from renowned Peterloo film director Mike Leigh, provides a timeline of landscape legislation. Exploring the development of green spaces, industrial history, the urban landscape and much more, the guidebook gives deeper insight into these places of protest, disorder and also, renewal.

The Jurors artwork by Hew Locke, at Runnymede in Surrey

People's Landscapes exhibitions, art installations and events 

Part of the People's Landscapes programme, many of our places are hosting exhibitions, art installations and events looking at the connections between our places and the rights and beliefs we hold dear.