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Wallington Hall event

Exploring the legacy of Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan

Published on: 4 October 2018

Fifty years since the National Trust opened its doors to the public at Wallington, a special event at Newcastle University will examine the bequest and its importance.

The Wallington bequest

The home of Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, the 13,000-acre Wallington estate in Northumberland was the first of its scale to be given to the National Trust.  The gift was formally made in 1941 on the understanding that Sir Charles and his family could continue to live there and the whole property opened to visitors in April 1968.

 ‘Gifted to a Grateful Nation?’ will take a closer look at the handover through a short performance by the November Club theatre company capturing the moment when Sir Charles Trevelyan came to Newcastle to make his announcement on the BBC.

This will be followed by a discussion with a panel of experts looking at the contemporary importance of the Wallington donation and the management of historic sites.

Among the speakers taking part will be Jill Taylor-Roe, University Librarian, Newcastle University who will talk about the insights into Sir Charles’ decision and the handover that are revealed in the Trevelyan archive, which is now held by the University’s Special Collections and Archives team.

Also taking part will be Newcastle University PhD student Megan Wilson, who is researching ways to co-produce digital education and engagement content with children for them to use before, during or after visits to historic properties. She will give her perspective on the future direction of Wallington Hall, how research can create new directions for the property, and how children and young people can become more engaged in heritage. 

The panel members are:

  • Chair: Professor Tom Shakespeare, University of East Anglia
  • George Trevelyan CB, named after his grandfather who was the brother of Sir Charles
  • Jill Taylor-Roe, University Librarian, Newcastle University
  • Richard Wheeler, Gardens and Parks Historian at the National Trust
  • Megan Wilson, PhD candidate, Newcastle University
  • Michael Hall, editor of The Burlington and former architecture editor, Country Life magazine
Wallington Hall. Image credit: Special Collections and Archives, Newcastle University.

Exploring a legacy

The event has been jointly organised by Dr Annie Tindley, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History and co-funded by November Club, Newcastle University’s Humanities Research Institute and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. Dr Tindley explained: “The National Trust is one of the most important heritage organisations in the UK, and Wallington one of the largest ever gifts made to it. The event is our opportunity to explore the consequences – some expected, some unexpected – of this gift. As well as looking back at the past fifty years, the event will look ahead to the next fifty and beyond.”

Dr Tom Shakespeare, Chair of the panel said: "This event is about a creative exploration of the nature of the National Trust and bodies like it through our nation’s stories. How Britain thinks about its environment and heritage are critical issues, raising both interesting and difficult questions now and in coming years. I am delighted to chair a panel offering great expertise and sure to prompt a lively debate on the night."

Gillian Mason, Visitor Experience Manager, Wallington added: “‘Gifted to a Grateful Nation’ is the finale to a programme celebrating 50 years of the National Trust at Wallington. Working in partnership with November Club, the story of Sir Charles’ gift has been shared with visitors to the property through a series of installations, activities and pop-up theatre. Now ‘Gifted to a Grateful Nation’ holds a lens up to Charles’ decision exploring its ramifications, not just for Wallington but the National Trust and the management of heritage sites in general.”

Gifted to a Grateful Nation is on Friday 5 October, 6pm – 7.45pm at King’s Hall, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University. Tickets to the event are priced £5 and are available via ticket source:



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