Our history: 2000s

The National Trust was founded on 12 January 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Over the last 125 years we’ve become one of the UK’s largest charities, caring for historic places and areas of beautiful countryside and coastline. 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.

Freshly baked rhubarb and stem ginger scones on baking tray, fresh rhubarb on the side

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.

The house at Tyntesfield in Spring

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.

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.

2011: Another membership milestone

Our membership reaches 4 million.

Tredegar House

2012: Leasing Tredegar House, Wales 

We take over the care of Tredegar House, the seventeenth-century ancestral home of the Morgan family, and embark on a series of extensive projects to conserve the building.

Exterior of Clandon Park House during fire

2015: A devastating fire 

On 29 April 2015 a fire, caused by an electrical fault, ripped through Clandon Park, Surrey. We managed to save over 400 items from the collection and, following a 14-month salvage operation, we’re now working on rebuilding the house. You can now come and see how the work is progressing.

The hydro turbine at Hafod y Llan farm in Snowdonia

2015: 10-year strategy launched 

We launch our 10-year strategy ‘Playing our Part’, to meet the needs of the 21st century. It includes a pledge to reduce energy use by 15% and source 50% of energy from renewables by 2020/21.

A cliff top view of the White Cliffs of Dover

2017: White Cliffs saved 

Thanks to generous donations, £1 million was raised, allowing us to secure 700,000 square metres of land just behind the White Cliffs of Dover, thus preserving their future.

Lambs at Ickworth jumping

2017: A gigantic leap 

We reach another milestone with our membership jumping from 4 million to 5 million in just 6 years.

National Trust Director-General Hilary McGrady at Sutton House, Hackney, London

2018: A new Director General 

Hilary McGrady takes over from Dame Helen Ghosh in 2018 as Director-General.

Cup cake with candles for a birthday party

2020: Anniversary celebrations 

We celebrate our 125th anniversary with a programme of events across the country.