On this day in 1894, the British National Trust organization was founded. Today this association is one of the largest owners of castles and palaces in the world, as it has in its possession about 200 historically important buildings in the area of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In addition to all that, the National Trust also owns approximately 255,000 hectares of land in these countries.
The annual revenues of the National Trust exceed 400 million British pounds. Of course, these earnings are from tourism, but even more, the income from membership subscriptions, because the National Trust has about 4 million registered members (it is one of the largest membership organizations on the world). Around 61,000 people volunteer for them each year, contributing 3.5 million free hours of work.
How did it all begin? On this day in 1894, three volunteers (Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter, and clergymen Hardwicke Rawnsley) established the National Trust as a non-profit association, which aimed to protect the historically important old buildings and the natural environment. The first land they received in property was a field in Wales. They obtained their first castle in 1900 – it was Kanturk Castle in Ireland. To this day they have collected two hundred castles, including the biggest house in England – Knole House with its 365 rooms – most of which are in their possession.