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  • National Trust Vs Right Wing Restore Trust
  • Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    If we’re just talking about ‘facts’, why are we not told that the vast majority of African slaves were actually enslaved by other Africans?

    I’m aware of it, in the same way that I’m aware of the fact that an estimated million people from the south of England, Ireland and even Iceland were captured and soled into slavery by North African and Mediterranean pirates.
    Similar happened under Roman rule, and even the Vikings.
    The information is there for those who choose to read it.

    rather the BLM movement is trying to address inequality.

    Sadly, communism isn’t the answer.

    Ah, yes, the sort of response I’d expect from someone who might well be described as extreme Right Wing, or a Republican if in America – people to whom anyone to the left of Atilla the Hun is Stalinist.
    I’m sure that CakeFace will be appalled to learn that, not only do I support BLM, as well as LBGTQ+, I’m also Antifa, that is, I’m Anti- Fascist, but I’ve never even voted for Labour in my life, I used to vote for the local Conservative candidate, more recently Liberal, which makes me pretty Centrist. But from the perspective of where Cakehole is looking, that makes me a veritable Stalinist as well.

    You use cultural Marxist terms but seem surprised that BLM is communist?

    No, it isn’t it’s a Humanist concept. But you’re too ignorant to understand that.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    While I agree that the aims of Restore Trust are, on the face of it, reasonable. the people using it to gain an entry onto the board are not. One is the current head of a climate-denying lobby group, and other fiances the same sorts of organisations, one is a violent fundamentalist Christian who supports marital rape and wants to criminalise homosexual marriage and their rights.

    None of the folk standing for election under the banner of Restore Trust feel that it’s in their interests to mention their links to that organisation in their personal bios in the AGM booklet accompanying the election, which is, you have to admit, a wee bit odd, if the aims of Restore Trust are so reasonable.

    Premier Icon gallowayboy
    Full Member

    As @sparksmcguff alluded to, a lot of the dissatisfaction stems from the trust having to foot the bill for a vast estate of mostly old, mostly rural often remote buildings. Some of them are suited to being successful visitor attractions with inventive interpretation, a lot are money pits. Any large scale maintenance has to be project funded, so the property effectively burrows the money internally, and has to show a return on it. So the problem either doesn’t get fixed or the property extends the car park, increases the cafe seating area or develops a full on wedding offer to try to balance the books. The trust constantly tries to find efficiencies through reorganisation and creative budgeting, but the problem of the leaky roof or the rotting windows or the huge heating bill never go away. They can’t get rid of a building or property as they are bound to look after them “in perpetuity”. Wages are low, budgets tiny, staff turnover is high, and committed and dedicated staff and volunteers get disaffected and cynical. And a significant number of long term members who love these places do as well because they don’t see the changes on the ground having much effect on overall management. The lockdown turned off the revenue (including membership subscription, one fifth of direct debits were cancelled in the first two months) and brought forward a(nother) operational review. Which was, I think panicked and poorly implemented. I survived the axe, but after 13 years of trying to play my part in maintaining a sustainable visitor offer with no budget and shifting goalposts I moved on.

    What looks like on the face of it a gammony spat about slavery, rainbow lanyards and for god’s sake beanbags is the tip of a far bigger divisive issue (for the trust) of what do we want with our built heritage, and how are we going to pay for it.
    Edit. Some of the values and beliefs displayed by the so called restore trust reflect those of only a small number of volunteers and vocal visitors and Christ it wears you down having to deal with them on a daily basis.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    Thanks @gallowayboy

    how are we going to pay for it.

    I suspect it really comes down to this, the NT aren’t idiots, I’m sure they haven’t chosen this route for a laugh.

    It’s still a pretty depressing way forward. 🙁

    Premier Icon gallowayboy
    Full Member

    NT aren’t idiots, I’m sure they haven’t chosen this route for a laugh.

    No. Its not easy. It boils down to:
    1. Become more and more commercial, compromise historic accuracy, conservation principals and alienate a proportion of the supporters;
    2. Be less insistent internally on individual properties meeting costs;
    3. Be allowed, by govt legislation, to sell off certain properties which can never be managed to cover costs, alienate a proportion of supporters;
    4. Be funded from central taxation.
    Number 4 aint happenning. Number 3 is unlikely, but would allow the organisation to be more stable financially. There’s not really enough money for 2 to work.
    So as I see it they have been stuck with 1 for years, while costs soar through decaying building stock and increasing compliance costs and poor procurement choices.
    I’d do 3, but then i’d be double glazing and insulating all listed buildings and sod the historic fabric 🙂

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    Loving your insights.

    To my own surprise 3 is looking tempting, and with modern digital recording techniques you could store a 3D walk around of anywhere that was lost. However, I can see why 1 is the only game in town.

    Turns out a well meaning arsonist could do a lot of good. 😢

    Premier Icon jimfrandisco
    Free Member

    While I agree that the aims of Restore Trust are, on the face of it, reasonable. the people using it to gain an entry onto the board are not. One is the current head of a climate-denying lobby group, and other fiances the same sorts of organisations, one is a violent fundamentalist Christian who supports marital rape and wants to criminalise homosexual marriage and their rights.

    We’ve come full circle in this thread. But this says everything that any right minded NT member needs to know.

    Premier Icon gallowayboy
    Full Member

    ^this.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    Isn’t one of the problems is that a lot of these properties are of no significant architectural or cultural merit and were effectively stripped of furniture and fittings when given to the NT? Paying to walk round a half-empty building with a non-original interior that was once owned by people you’d never heard of who had got rich doing some dodgy deals isn’t actually a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Premier Icon csb
    Full Member

    Great insights @gallowayboy

    As a lapsed member (we stopped when they didn’t vote to stop upland shooting a few years back and instead joined NT Scot) I’m not sure why they aren’t more ruthless about what makes each of their places special and focus on that. It’s the landscape setting that is special in most cases, too many samey houses. Turn them into hotels.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    Isn’t one of the problems is that a lot of these properties are of no significant architectural or cultural merit and were effectively stripped of furniture and fittings when given to the NT? Paying to walk round a half-empty building with a non-original interior that was once owned by people you’d never heard of who had got rich doing some dodgy deals isn’t actually a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Based on a low sample count I think this is true, and I think that’s why they are often very ‘same-y’, they even smell the same. I don’t see any resolution to that though.

    Massive 19thC Stately Homes with non-original decor and no significant interesting back story are exactly the sorts of places I’d be (reluctantly) tempted to put in “group 3”.

    I suspect another problem is your use of the word ‘paying’. As the 10 year plan report spells out (a bit too bluntly) a vast number of people have memberships and aren’t really paying at all – or rather are paying a token amount.

    EDIT: I swear I didn’t read the post above before I wrote this.

    Premier Icon gallowayboy
    Full Member


    @csb
    If only it was as easy as that!

    I’m not sure why they aren’t more ruthless about what makes each of their places special and focus on that

    Been tried several times…..endless “spirit of place” workshops and consultations, visitor profiling etc. The problem is the subsequent strategies get watered down for cost reasons or subverted by competing views and interests. Its often the interpretation and presentation that looses out.

    too many samey houses. Turn them into hotels

    Your view, and mine to an extent, but there are many powerful voices which would say otherwise.
    Anyway, the thread has got a bit diverted, i’m going out on my bike!

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    too many samey houses. Turn them into hotels

    I’d vote for that. Rewild the grounds inc grouse moors. No pheasants. Allow trailbuilding. Bish bash bosh rainbow lanyards for all.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    I’d vote for that. Rewild the grounds inc grouse moors. No pheasants. Allow trailbuilding. Bish bash bosh rainbow lanyards for all.

    What date would you rewild to? If you’re suggesting Jurasic Park, I’m in.

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    What date would you rewild to?

    I’d just kind of leave it and see what happens. If it’s pigeons and feral cats so be it, but dinosaurs would be good.

    (Forgot we actually had our wedding do in an NT property: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/discover-sutton-house which if left would go pigeons etc.)

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    I’d be happy to see a lot of the “Stately Homes” either sold off or knocked down, and the grounds return to the commons (as lots of them were before being enclosed/stolen )

    The history of this country shouldn’t be all about the posh nobs after all, they’re a vanishingly small group of folk who’ve had a mostly pernicious and divisive effect on nearly everything they touch. It’s high time we had a reckoning

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    (Forgot we actually had our wedding do in an NT property:

    …and I’d forgotten I had my wedding reception in an NT property. (Barn, not a poncey stately home.)

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    From my link:

    One of London’s last remaining Tudor houses, Sutton House was originally built in 1535 by Sir Ralph Sadleir. By 1540 he was Secretary of State to Henry VIII and this was his family home.

    The house has seen many transformations: it was a Victorian school, a Men’s institute in World War One, a Trades Union office in the 1960s and 70s and a punk squat in the 1980s.

    Seems like an okay trajectory for most stately homes…

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Thanks to gallowayboy I see the dilemma now.

    Someone quipped earlier about ‘Disneyfication’ which, whilst a tad on the hyperbolic side, does describe the issue quite colourfully.

    Historical buildings should be maintained as exactly that. But there’s no money. So the NT has to attract visitors with, uh, attractions. Which a minority of people (who likely don’t pay a membership anyway) understandably complain about, but at the end of the day a business decision has to trump everything if they want to stay afloat. It probably sticks in the NT’s craw at least as much as the visitors.

    This reminds me of something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Full Member

    I used to live in a national trust property* and they really do know how to mismanage, over spend & rub tenants up the wrong way all at the same time.

    * a tiny 15th century house not a mansion 🙁

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    I’d be happy to see a lot of the “Stately Homes” either sold off or knocked down, and the grounds return to the commons (as lots of them were before being enclosed/stolen )

    Agreed. Not convinced we need to preserve every posh old house forever. Monuments to greed and privilege but hey they have nice gardens and a cafe.

    Premier Icon csb
    Full Member

    This reminds me of something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

    Oooh I see what you mean, another national institution managing an existential crisis but with more freeloaders.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Very clever Cougar.

    But it’s not just about money… the NT increasingly control spaces suitable for all sorts of recreation, not just looking around historically interesting buildings… and they should be opening them up to more people, not just their traditional base of old house sniffers (which includes me).

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    they should be opening them up to more people, not just their traditional base of old house sniffers

    Yeah. And this again is part of the problem. In improving appeal to one group you risk turning off another, ultimately you can’t please everyone so it becomes a numbers game. Long-time members might suddenly be getting sniffy because it’s no longer done the way they think it should be done, but the uncomfortable truth is that the organisation has to adapt or die.

    (Looks like the NT are having the same problem…)

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    In seriousness though, what do you do? Is it worth upsetting a few old lags in order to build Snodgrass Hall Adventure Playground in a couple of unused acres out back if it attracts young families in droves?

    Is that not a gateway, even? Get them through the door, give them ice cream and park to play in, then “hey, while we’re here, why not take a look around?”

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    Agree, and the loss of the CEO suggests that the pressure of being in the hot seat trying to square this circle is pretty unpleasent.

    I wouldn’t want the job.

    Premier Icon i_scoff_cake
    Free Member

    Interesting article in the Guardian about the anti-Woke pushback in the NT:

    Link

    Premier Icon i_scoff_cake
    Free Member

    and the grounds return to the commons (as lots of them were before being enclosed/stolen )

    Aren’t they more or less that now? The NT is a charity with acts of parliament to enable it. Anyone can spend time in and enjoy NT lands/properties.

    Should they be ‘true’ commons? Not sure I want to see kids tearing them up on motorbikes and travellers camping on them myself.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    Interesting article in the Guardian about the anti-Woke pushback in the NT:

    The Guardian is selling stories on *both* sides of an invented ‘woke’ squabble.

    Good click generation for them but nothing to do with what’s actually going on at the AGM on either ‘side’.

    Unfortunately I clicked, so I’m part of the problem. 😢

    Premier Icon i_scoff_cake
    Free Member

    The Guardian is like an inverse Daily Mail these days. Full of polarising and ‘click-baity’ opinion pieces catering to the ‘right on’ middle-class progressives.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    The Guardian is like an inverse Daily Mail these days. Full of polarising and ‘click-baity’ opinion pieces

    I fear all media has gone that way. And it’s our fault. This thread is only here because of the invented ‘woke war’ narrative. It’s generating clicks. If they’d done a reasoned explanation of the pressures on the NT and the resolutions none of us would have clicked.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Full Member

    The Guardian is like an inverse Daily Mail these days. Full of polarising and ‘click-baity’ opinion pieces catering to the ‘right on’ middle-class progressive

    What a load of cobblers

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Should they be ‘true’ commons? Not sure I want to see kids tearing them up on motorbikes and travellers camping on them myself.

    It’s not beyond our whit to manage though is it.. I mean it’s clearly a wrong to have so much of the UK essentially “off limits” to everyone, and it shouldn’t be a right to do what you please and be an anti-social tosser.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    Interesting article in the Guardian about the anti-Woke pushback in the NT:

    Whilst you are finding examples dont suppose you have any of the evidence you keep being asked for.
    I note the same with that piece. It never bothers to ask are the complaints valid or just some nutters getting upset.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    Is it worth upsetting a few old lags in order to build Snodgrass Hall Adventure Playground in a couple of unused acres out back if it attracts young families in droves?

    I guess it depends if those unused acres are part of a Capability Brown landscape.
    In several areas they are facing the classical beauty spot issue. If they make it capable of handling the crowds then a)it may well attract more and hence back to square 1 and b)the act of building the car parks and other facilities impact the beauty spot.
    Some areas will be better suited to it than others eg the one nearest to me would be crap for it. The roads to it are appalling and there isnt much space there.
    The different groups wanting different things are always going to put pressure on it. I knew someone who only had membership every other year on the grounds they supported the natural landscape side of things but werent a fan of country houses.

    Premier Icon inkster
    Free Member

    ” the natural landscape ”

    Opens up another can of worms….

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    Opens up another can of worms….

    Well we dont seem to be getting any good examples of the wokeness. Soooo:
    Rewilding vs green deserts.
    Round one seconds out.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Interesting article in the Guardian about the anti-Woke pushback in the NT:

    Couple of things spring to mind: 1. That “article” is in fact an opinion piece. 2. It doesn’t say let’s hide away some ugly truths or ignore our past lest it offend people “just having a nice day out”  it just says frame it better and review what you’re going to say before launching it on an unsuspecting audience who are being primed by culture-war hyperbole

    Premier Icon Houns
    Full Member

    The NT place I volunteer at is returning a small part of its land from a green desert back to how it was…. The backlash and sheer idiocy from some is unbelievable

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    The NT place I volunteer at is returning a small part of its land from a green desert back to how it was…. The backlash and sheer idiocy from some is unbelievable

    Years ago, when I lived nearby, I used to love visiting Hampton Court Palace grounds. There was a really wild patch at one end which felt fantastically different from anything around there, and I much preferred it. It’s probably not there these days. (And I know HCP isn’t NT!)

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