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16 Sept 2021

90 years of the Trust in 3 minutes


Throughout our 90 years, the National Trust for Scotland has met the challenges of each decade with pioneering innovation and passion. Our founders would be amazed to see the breadth of our work today. So where did it all start?
The Trust was founded in Glasgow in 1931, to care for and preserve ‘Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty’. Crookston Castle was our very first property, with many more to follow, and so we began our journey of caring for Scotland's magnificent heritage: from coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness.
After the Second World War, interest grew in safeguarding our most precious places for future generations. By the war's end we looked after 40 natural and cultural heritage properties, becoming Scotland's leading conservation charity.
Ben Lawers was our first nature conservation site. We restored natural flora, conserving peat bog and rare plants, and managing erosion.
In 1957 we began caring for St Kilda, home to nearly a million seabirds, and ensure that the stories of its final residents are never forgotten.
In the 1960s we found innovative ways to conserve the character of entire villages and pass on horticultural skills to the next generation, creating jobs and preserving expertise.
Increasing membership allowed us to save some truly remarkable historic buildings and important archaeological sites.
More unique places came into our care in the 1980s, including the Hill House in Helensburgh and the oldest commercial letter presses still in operation in the UK, at Robert Smail's Printing Works.
In 1995 we became guardians of Mar Lodge Estate, home to four of the UK's five highest mountains and iconic Scottish wildlife. Our efforts continue to regenerate the native Caledonian woodland, and protect the populations of black grouse and capercaillie. Today we are proud that it is the largest National Nature Reserve in the British Isles.
New visitor centres made historic sites accessible to an ever-widening audience, and we celebrated the life and work of Scotland's Bard, at the dynamic new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
We have never stopped evolving, and are committed to taking a brave and creative approach, with help from our loyal members and generous supporters.
We took the radical route of protecting the Hill House by building a ‘box’ around it. Our conservation teams look to the future with bold work here, and at places like Gladstone's Land, the House of Dun, and Canna House.
We have an important opportunity to contribute to Scotland's future. Our world is fragile. We take seriously our role in tackling climate change and threats to biodiversity. 2020 showed us just how quickly situations can change. With your help, whatever the circumstances, we will ensure that Scotland's national treasures continue to be protected for generations to come.
None of this would be possible without you. Join with us to look forward to an exciting future for Scotland.

2021 is the 90th anniversary of the National Trust for Scotland. A lot has happened over those years, and we invite you to take the a few minutes to view our animated timeline and see just how many amazing places we care for on behalf of the nation.