Playlets to mark 50 years of estate passing into the hands of trust

The gardens at Wallington Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman
The gardens at Wallington Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Fifty years of the National Trust’s ownership of Wallington is being celebrated with a series of special events.

In 1936 Sir Charles Philip Trevelyan announced his intention to gift the entire Wallington Estate to The National Trust.

The gardens at Wallington Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman

The gardens at Wallington Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman

This caused quite a stir with the press at the time as he was one of the first to bequeath an entire country house estate to the organisation, although it didn’t become the property of the trust until 1968.

Award-winning performing arts company November Club has now been commissioned by the trust to create a series of pop-up theatre performances across the house and grounds every weekend this month.

Cinzia Hardy, Artistic Director at November Club, said: “The inspiration for this piece came from all of the press articles we uncovered from the time, after Sir Charles made the announcement he was gifting the Wallington Estate to the National Trust.

“No one had given a gift to the trust of this size before and it caused quite a scandal.

“We have a group of timeless journalists who have descended upon Wallington, each with their own angles and in search of details to write their special features.”

Visitors to Wallington will encounter the journalists both indoors and out. Maps are available at the Visitor Centre to find their locations and performance times, as well as a press station to review articles from the 1930s.

The playlets last about five minutes each and will be performed throughout the day. Be sure to look out for the musical numbers Inalienability and Memorandum of Wishes, with a musical finale in the Central Hall at 4.45pm.

When addressing tenants in August 1936 on the decision to leave Wallington to the National Trust, Sir Charles Trevelyan said: “I have made my Will in which at my death I bequeath Wallington House and grounds and the Wallington Estate to the National Trust. I do not ask for your approval or disapproval. Do not be hasty in giving either.

“Of no time in the world’s history is it so true as today that ‘the old order changeth, giving place to new’.

“I am certain that what I am doing will be helping to preserve a great deal of what is good and beautiful in our national past, while ensuring to the people a larger share in the land and wealth of our country.”

The playlets will take place every Saturday and Sunday throughout June, from 11.50am to 4.45pm. For more information about the November Club see www.novemberclub.org.uk