What would Beatrix Potter
think of the National Trust
|Beatrix Potter most famous for her
illustrated stories of animals, was one of the major sponsors of the National Trust
leaving them 15 farms, cottages and 4,000+ acres of land in 1943, when at the
time they had only 6,500 members. So we thought what would she think of it if she was
magically brought back to life today.
father Rupert was a keen photographer and some of his family images can
Beatrix was around in a time when many
people cold sketch, and had the time for it, she was, in some ways, ahead of
her time and held strong views. So if we brought her back now, we
could imagine she would see the benefit of the internet as a means of
communication and would want to take photographs and use these to produce
sketches and stories from. I am sure she would want to visit some of the
National Trust properties, and use these in her stories, and having seen the National
Trust website, would be emailing them to get permission to
visit. In theory this is possible.
From NT website:-
|Q. Where can I take
welcome amateur photography out-of-doors at our properties. We regret
that photography is not permitted indoors when houses are open to
visitors. The use of mobile phones with built-in cameras is also not
However, at most properties special
arrangements can be made for interested amateurs (as well as voluntary
National Trust speakers, research students and academics) to take
interior photographs by appointment outside normal opening hours.
Requests to arrange a mutually
convenient appointment must be made in writing to the property
concerned. Not all properties are able to offer this facility and
those that do may make an admission charge (including Trust members).
photography and filming requests must be channelled through the
Broadcast and Media Liaison Officer. Telephone 01793 817400
So we set up an email address for Miss B
Potter, and selected 10 NT houses making sure they were properties that were
open to the public and had visitor counts over 50,000 a year, so would be ones run by
professional staff employed by the National Trust. Then we sent them the
I am a pensioner,
artist and write short stories and a little poetry, and would like to
base some of these on visits to impressive houses, at the moment this
is just for my own interest with no immediate plans to publish, so
need to keep down costs.
The way I like to
work with my drawings and paintings is to take photos and then back at
my home produce the art, this is far easier
than getting in everyone’s way when out and about. Looking on the NT
website FAQ page
I see that I
can take photos inside NT premises by arrangement. The photos are for
my own use only I will not be selling them.
I have a few
questions that I hope you can answer
What is the cost
to me in coming when you are normally closed to take photos
Is there any
restriction on using flash, I can take photos with available light
if there is
How far do I
need to walk, I am not as young as I once was and I need to carry a
tripod, camera, maybe flash and sketch and note pad.
What dates in
July are available.
B Potter (Miss)
So was Beatrix welcome, could she be one
of the National Trust says it is for, 'The National Trust for ever, for
everyone' or should it really say 'The National Trust for ever, for
everyone (exceptions apply)'.
Beatrix aged 15
|There was a possibility
with three of the ten of taking photos.
Manor, Buckinghamshire. A most helpful reply
offering a lot of help, photography possibly, no flash, but a lot of
Lanhydrock, Cornwall said they do allow access on
Mondays when the house is closed, no flash, Donations welcome.
Suggested use of picture library pictures instead.
said they may be able to help, but asked for a phone number to discuss it.
three were all helpful and we think Beatrix would be happy with the
service these offered, and would be putting the
Assistant Curator who
Manor on her Christmas card list, she was so helpful.
was helpful, although no photos was possible.
Sizergh Castle, Cumbria said no photos in house and
it has a resident family so no access outside of public opening times. Suggested a
visit when open and then let them know what rooms, photos required for
and they may be able to find some.
One more acknowledged the email.
Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire replied to say they have forwarded it to the house manager but he was off duty
until the end of the next week.
Beatrix would not have been at all
happy with the other 5 who did not reply.
So overall 40% of enquiries got a
helpful response. This may suggest that a secret customer
programme may be something that the National Trust should consider.
In some ways allowing each property to
self manage and come up with their response rather than a formulaic
one solution fits all is a good idea, but perhaps they need a way
of allowing those who can't or don't want to deal with enquiries to
bounce them onto a customer support team who could then at least make
sure peoples enquiries are answered. 50% of enquires not being
answered, I would suggest, does indicate that there is a serious
problem in this area that needs attention.