Europa Nostra strengthens its longstanding relationship with The National Trust at inspiring meetings and visits in and around London

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was influential in the founding of Europa Nostra 60 years ago, so it was timely for the relationship to be celebrated in this anniversary year.

On 13-15 June, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Graham Bell, Board Member, and John Sell, Chair of the 7 Most Endangered programme, met senior members of the National Trust for exploratory discussions on future collaboration.

The National Trust has been represented on the Council of Europa Nostra for many years, but other opportunities exist for reciprocal representation and working; while Brexit may have an impact upon the UK’s role in Europe, this vital relationship between Europa Nostra and the National Trust can and should continue undiminished. At a reception at Fenton House in north London, the Chair of the National Trust, René Olivieri, and Director-General, Hilary McGrady, welcomed the relationship with Europa Nostra.

The National Trust has been the inspiration and coordinator of a growing global network of national trusts through the International National Trusts Network (INTO), which is today chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds with whom the Europa Nostra delegation also met during their visit to London.

The Secretary General of the International National Trusts Network (INTO), Catherine Leonard, said: “The National Trust was a founding member of Europa Nostra back in 1963 and it’s a great pleasure to renew our cooperation in their 60th anniversary year. The National Trust, Europa Nostra and INTO all bring together people, nature and culture to deliver outcomes that not only protect heritage, but also play an important part in climate action and developing civil society across the world. There is much that we can achieve together and I look forward to championing this shared agenda”.

The meetings were followed by a highly symbolic visit to the home of Sir Winston Churchill, Chartwell in Kent, guided by Katherine Carter, Property Curator. Chartwell has been in the care of the National Trust since his death. The visit was symbolic because Churchill was an inspirational influence in the creation of post-war Europe. During the war he envisioned a Europe made stronger and safe by economic and political collaboration between all nations.

The Chartwell team were delighted to welcome representatives of Europa Nostra to the Churchill family’s former home. The National Trust takes great pride in being a founding member of the pan-European group of like-minded organisations, and it is therefore fitting that we were able to host them at the home of the man who did so much for the cause of post-war unification across Europe,” stated Katherine Carter.

2023 is the 75th anniversary of the Hague Congress in 1948 that marked the birth of the European Movement and laid the foundation in 1949 of the Council of Europe, and in which Churchill again set the tone that he would later call this ‘house of Europe’ – a ‘civil Europe’. Churchill’s son-in-law, Lord Duncan Sandys, was also prominent in this bridge between UK and Europe, establishing a ‘civic trust’ movement in the UK and following through on Churchill’s lead in Europe. These legacies remain vivid and relevant to Europa Nostra in this, its 60th anniversary.

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