THE NATIONAL TRUST has come under fire in recent days for asking its volunteers to undergo diversity training.

The organisation was trending on Twitter this morning (14 April) after people reportedly cancelled their memberships after being asked to take part in the ‘everyday inclusion training’ when they return for work after lockdown.

British politican, David Kurten, took to Twitter to write: “I'm very glad I cancelled my National Trust membership a few months ago and I'm not paying for any more of their 'diversity training', 'unconscious bias' and 'decolonisation' rubbish.”

Another person wrote: “As a National Trust member I'm happy to hear they are focusing on inclusion, diversity and the reality of the UKs colonial history.”

A third said: "The woke must always be challenged.

"The Government must act to tackle these far-left woke institutions."

However, National Trust have spoken out about claims that they are ‘forcing’ volunteers to undergo the training and that the diversity training is nothing new in the organisation.

They said: “We are not forcing our volunteers to undergo everyday inclusion training as soon as they return.

“We have been offering inclusion training for several years, and is similar training to that offered by thousands of other organisations across the country.

“Our everyday inclusion training, which is delivered in-house, covers a broad range of diversity and inclusion issues including age, disability, sexual orientation and religious beliefs, and we’re pleased that nine out of 10 volunteers rated the training as good or excellent.”

The National Trust’s buildings and collections with links to colonialism and racism

The National Trust has been very open about its collections and buildings and the involvement they had in racism and colonialism- as such, it’s no surprise that diversity training is at the heart of their company in the modern day.

It is estimated that from the late 1600s to the early 1900s, one-sixth of Britain’s country houses were purchased by merchants whose fortunes depended on colonial trade.

In September 2020, they published a report titled 'The Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust' .

It details the connections 93 historic places in their care have with colonialism and historic slavery. This includes the global slave trades, goods and products of enslaved labour, abolition and protest, and the East India Company.

Here are some of the North West National Trust buildings with links to colonialism and racism:


Rufford Old Hall, Ormskirk
Lancashire Telegraph: ©National Trust Images/John Millar©National Trust Images/John Millar

Have you ever paid a visit to this Ormskirk house?

The Tudor built in around 1530 for Sir Robert Kesketh and the Kesketh family lived here for around 500 years.

Lucy Rigby married Robert Hesketh in 1641- and this marriage is linked to the early colonisation of North America.

Lucy’s father, Colonel Alexander Rigby, purchased the ‘plough patent’, which gave him control of the independent province of Lygonia in New England, an area in the southern part of present day Maine.

This patent was designed to encourage English people to relocate and settle here and earn money through farming and forestry.


Allan Bank, Ambleside

Lancashire Telegraph: ©National Trust Images/James Dobson©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Have you ever visited this Grade II listed two-storey villa?

The Cumbrian National Trust site is in the heart of the Lake District.

Poet William Wordsworth said it was an ‘eyesore’ when it was being built- but ended up moving here with his wife and three children in 1808.

William and his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth were renowned for their opposition to slavery and often spoke out about it.

However, their brother, John Wordsworth, became Commander of the East India Company ship Earl of Abergavenny in 1801.

East India company ships were renowned for the exploitation of trade with  East and Southeast Asia and India.

He captained two successful voyages to China, in which the family invested.

According to the National Trust report: “Wordsworth’s third voyage would have made the family a considerable sum, but the ship sank a few days into the journey, causing the death of John and many others.”


Dunham Massey

Lancashire Telegraph: The Milk Room at Dunham Massey ©National Trust Images/Andreas von EinsiedelThe Milk Room at Dunham Massey ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

There are over 400 years of hidden histories at Dunham Massey.

It was once home to two historic families, The Booths and the Greys.

However, the stunning grounds also have a family link to South Africa’s colonisation.

George Booth, arried Mary, daughter of the East India Company merchant John Oldbury.

A statue and sundial of a kneeling black male figure personifying Africa was installed outside the house in the eighteenth century.

In 2020, the Trust removed the statue of a black male in the forecourt of the Dunham Massey Hall.

 Hare Hill

Lancashire Telegraph: ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Hare Hill dates right back to the 18th century when William Hibbert purchased an area of land from the Leicester family and created his country estate called Hare Hill.

According to the National Trust report, The Hibbert family accumulated substantial wealth through trading enslaved people and the goods produced using enslaved labour across three generations.

William and William Tetlow Hibbert were partners in the family business, based at the West India trading house in London.

It owned ships and quays, and organised the transport, insurance and distribution of commodities produced through enslaved labour, particularly sugar

Hibbert’s uncle also owned a slave-factorage business in Jamaica.

Over their lifetime, The Hibbert family were estimated to have received around £103,000 from these ventures (modern equivalent of almost £7 million).

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal

Lancashire Telegraph: ©National Trust Images/James Dobson©National Trust Images/James Dobson

This is regarded as one of the best preserved textile factories of the industrial revolution.

The Grade II listed building was built in 1784 and founded by Samuel Greg.

He used the river to power the mill and it cost Samuel £3000 to build and equip the mill.

However, the National Trust document states that part of his wealth and earnings to make the mill were funded by his family’s businesses that related to slavery.

His uncle, John Greg, had been the first Government Commissioner for the sale of land in the West Indies and Samuel’s father, had interests in four estates in Dominica and St Vincent.

Samuel and his brother inherited Hillsborough plantation; record show that slaves were purchased for this plantation and used to work the fields between 1817 and 1829.