A statue in the garden at Hidcote. The Royal Oak Foundation assists the National Trust in its efforts to preserve and maintain historical gardensMarsden Rock Surf at Tyne and WearChurch tower near Croft Castle. The Royal Oak Foundation makes it easy for Americans to visit the castles, gardens and areas of natural beauty protected by the National Trust.Butterfly on a plant. The National Trust preserves wildlife.

Royal Oak Foundation  |  New & Noteworthy


Acquisition of Londonderry Family Library at Mount Stewart Completed

The National Trust announced that it has secured the important Londonderry family library at Mount Stewart, which will remain in its historic home. The Royal Oak Foundation is pleased to have provided principal funding for this important project together with the B.H. Breslauer Foundation.

"The Mount Stewart Library contains a wide range of important books that would not normally be available through public collections in Northern Ireland," Sean Sawyer, Royal Oak’s Executive Director explained. “This will open up some very important pieces of history to further research and will enable the information to be made accessible to a broader public.

"For this reason we were very pleased to get involved with this important project and, together with the Breslauer Foundation, provide significant funding to help secure the legacy of this historic collection at Mount Stewart."

Additional funding for the library acquisition was provided by the Northern Ireland Museums Council, Friends of the National Libraries, and several private donors.

The funds will allow the library to be preserved in a variety of mediums. As part of the long term plan for the library, the National Trust plans to fully catalogue the collection, placing the information online, and to explain and interpret the collection through regular exhibitions at the house.

Jon Kerr, General Manager at Mount Stewart said: "The library gives a unique insight into the reading and book-buying habits of a powerful and influential family from the eighteenth to the twentieth century."

"It is possible through the books to trace the history of this famous house and its owners including Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, who created the famous gardens."

"The library contains thousands of books on a wide range of subjects, ranging from Lady Londonderry’s truly magnificent collection of Irish books and her many books on gardening, architecture, archaeology and mythology which clearly relate to the creation of the inspirational garden you can see today at Mount Stewart."

In 2012 the National Trust embarked on a £7million conservation project at Mount Stewart House which will secure the legacy of this special building for future generations.

The Londonderry library will be appreciated in its original setting in 2015, when the house at Mount Stewart House fully re-opens after the restoration project.

This important project is a demonstration of the excellent conservation standards of the National Trust and includes vital repairs and improvements to the structure and services in the house.

To learn more about the Mount Stewart grant and other projects supported by Royal Oak, visit: www.royal-oak.org/grants


Royal Oak’s Campaign for Knole Concludes with Over $1,240,000 Raised

Scarlett Millar, Development & Communications Manager
West Front of Knole, Kent
West Front of Knole, Kent

Royal Oak thanks all our members and supporters across the U.S. who have made the Campaign for Knole our most successful fundraising project for a single National Trust property to-date. Since the launch in early 2012, gifts totaling $1,242,935 have been received to support the conservation of Knole’s Ballroom and its contents. This includes a major grant of $100,000 received from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation in December 2013.

We have seen an outpouring of enthusiasm and passion for Knole and its many layers of history. Royal Oak supporters’ commitment to fund the restoration of the Ballroom is a key element in the larger, decade-long conservation and reinterpretation. Royal Oak’s support also played a significant role in securing the essential £7.75 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project.

Royal Oak’s major donors to the Campaign for Knole have also shown support for Knole by participating in the campaign’s special events. These included our Royal London Weekend in February 2012, during which HRH The Prince of Wales was presented with the Keystone Award at Buckingham Palace and last September’s Magnificence Preserved Weekend in London, which culminated with a historic dinner in the Great Hall at Knole hosted by Lord and Lady Sackville. Royal Oak extends a special thank you to the Sackvilles and to the National Trust’s brilliant team at Knole, led by Property Manager Stephen Dedman and Fundraising Manager Victoria Phillips, for their extraordinary support for our campaign throughout the last two years.

Knole's ballroom
Knole's ballroom

Work has already started in the Ballroom, with much-needed repairs to the exterior stonework and window frames complete. However there is still much to be done, including installing insulation and underfloor heating elements to protect the room and its important contents from further damage. The conservators are currently working on plans to manage the building work in the Ballroom. As it is one of the earliest parts of the building, they must be extremely cautious and approach lifting floorboards and removing paneling with great care. The uncovering of the original Tudor wall surfaces will be a dramatic moment, and Royal Oak will keep you informed of the progress of the work here and throughout the house.

The Campaign for Knole has been a significant achievement for Royal Oak. The Foundation is very grateful to all donors to the campaign for helping to build a brighter future for Knole and recovering this forgotten palace, one of Britain’s most astonishing treasures, for all of us.


40 Years of Giving: Property-Specific Grants to the National Trust

National Trust Grants Map

As part of our celebration of Royal Oak's 40th Anniversary, we have compiled a map of property-specific grants to the National Trust provided by our supporters over the past four decades across a range of categories. Access an interactive map by clicking on the image above.

We thank our members and friends for their support for the places of great historic and natural significance under the Trust's stewardship.


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