The National Trust, which protects—and makes accessible—over 350 historic houses, gardens, and monuments for the benefit of the public, is a charity, totally independent of Government. The Trust relies for its income on membership fees and donations. It is now one of the most successful organizations dedicated to the protection of the environment and national heritage, with over 3.6 million members and 55,000 volunteers.
The Trust was founded in 1895 by three philanthropists, Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter, and Hardwicke Rawnsley. Concerned about the impact of uncontrolled development and industrialization, these three Victorians founded the organization to act as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened countryside, coastline, and historical buildings.
This five-volume collection brings together for the first time the most important texts written by or about the three founders. These major works are reproduced as facsimile reprints of the contemporary editions with many illustrations, and are supplemented by useful introductions newly written by the editors.