Our history: 2000s

The National Trust was founded on 12 January 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley. Over the last 120 years we’ve become one of the UK’s largest charities, caring for historic properties and areas of beautiful countryside. Take a look below to learn about some of the key moments in our past, and the people who have supported us.

2000: The start of something new

We embark on another major structural review to enable us to work more effectively with other conservation bodies and to improve our internal processes.

A Christmas dinner with a plate of turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes laid on a table with crackers, cutlery and Christmas decorations

2001: Farming forward 

Our Farming Forward initiative is launched, at the time of the foot & mouth crisis, reaffirming our commitment to preserving both natural beauty and a viable economy in rural areas.

Tyntesfield House Aglow

2002: Money well spent 

The Victorian country house, Tyntesfield, near Bristol, is put up for sale. Within 100 days we raise £3 million from over 50,000 individual donors and secure a grant of £17.5 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The north facing entrance to Red House

2003: Arts and Crafts 

We purchase Red House: once owned by the Arts and Crafts designer William Morris, who was a friend and supporter of Octavia Hill.

Heelis, the Central Office for the National Trust at Swindon, Wiltshire

2005: A new home 

We move to our new central office Heelis in Swindon, bringing staff from four central offices under one roof for the first time. A small office in London remains.

2007: Membership keeps on growing

We celebrate membership figures hitting the 3.5 million mark.

Volunteer stoking a bonfire

2008: Volunteering milestone 

The total number of volunteers working for the Trust, donating what Octavia Hill called gifts of time, exceeds 50,000.

The estate gardens at Seaton Delaval Hall with manicured lawns

2009: Seaton Delaval saved for the nation 

Following a massive appeal that raised over £3 million from thousands of people, charitable trusts and companies across the country, Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland is saved for the nation.

Visitor reading the National Trust handbook

2011: Another membership milestone 

Our membership reaches 4 million.

The Director-General of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh

2012: A new Director General 

Dame Helen Ghosh takes over from Dame Fiona Reynolds in late 2012 as our new Director-General.