The National Trust for Scotland (or to give it its full Sunday name, The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty) was born in what was literally a smoke-filled room in Glasgow. It wasn’t just any room however: it happened to be owned by Sir John Stirling Maxwell, Bart., K.T. and was located within his sumptuous ancestral home, Pollok House.
Sir John had invited a number of like-minded guests to join him in Pollok’s Cedar Room, used as a smoking room. This group had previously been associated with the Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland (APRS) and in equal parts were inspired by the vision of Octavia Hill and the 1895 foundation of the National Trust but frustrated by the latter’s lack of involvement with Scotland.
Sir John in particular was vehement in his view that Scotland needed its own National Trust and his Cedar Room gathering provided the impetus to turn this desire into reality.
By May 1930, the APRS had determined it should press on and find ways and means to establish a National Trust for Scotland. They offered their Honorary Secretary, Frank Mears, and offices at 3 Forres Street, Edinburgh to be put to the task and by 10th November 1930 an eminent group chaired by the 8th Duke of Atholl had been constituted as the first provisional council of the Trust.
The National Trust for Scotland was duly incorporated on 1st May 1931 and was eventually enshrined in legislation through an Act of Parliament in 1935.