National Trust widens appeal with eclectic acquisitions

A A A

A mountain, a modernist house, a stately home and an ancient back-to-back terrace - these are the symbols of the new and expanding appeal of the National Trust, which yesterday announced its property openings for 2004.

The eclectic mix of new visitor attractions represents the policy of Fiona Reynolds, the director-general, who has set out to widen the Trust's range of interests over the past three years. Ms Reynolds has managed to retain core supporters while appealing to people outside the Trust's once solidly middle-class base. She has presided over the acquisition of a 19th century workhouse, John Lennon's childhood home, grand aristocratic mansions and most of Snowdon.

Her influence was evident in the list of new openings she announced yesterday. There is a unique modernist house, The Homewood in Esher, Surrey, influenced by Le Corbusier and designed in 1938 by the British architect Patrick Gwynne. The house, all straight lines and plate glass, can be visited by guided tour only on Fridays, starting in March.

There is also a piece of what one might term industrial revolution-domestic architecture, the last remaining terrace of back-to-back houses in central Birmingham. These small houses, built around courtyards rather than in the streets of the North, were where craftsmen and their families lived and are being restored at a cost of nearly £2m and will open in July.

One of the more curious acquisitions is the home in Liverpool of E Chambre Hardman, the city's society portrait photographer of the mid-20th century. The Georgian house in Rodney Street, containing Mr Hardman's140,000 images of Liverpool and its people, will open on 15 September.

The countryside is represented by Divis Mountain and Black Mountain, the backdrop for Belfast. They have been property of the Ministry of Defence for many years and closed to the public, but it is hoped they will open later this year under Trust stewardship. They offer stunning views of the city.

And more traditionally minded Trust members will be pleased with the re-opening of Wallington, a Palladian country house from 1688 near Morpeth in Northumberland with beautiful interiors and grounds.

Ms Reynolds's tenure of office has coincided with a remarkable surge in membership of the Trust, the biggest conservation body in the world. The organisation has swollen to 3,314,284 members, up 470,000 in two years, paying subscriptions that range from £36 for a single adult to £65 for a family.

Jon Barton, the Trust's director of communications , said people were joining at one point last year at a faster rate than babies were being born in Britain. Membership shot up from one million in 1980 to three million in 2002. The rise was steady in the 1980s and 1990s, but has increased sharply since 2001, when Ms Reynolds took over. She thinks the membership surge may be due to something more than just a broadening of appeal or a reaction by a public increasingly interested in heritage and history opposed to information delivered electronically. She said: "We offer the real thing."

The Trust has more than 300 houses, 165 gardens, 73 parks, 600 miles of coastline and 600,000 acres of countryside.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee