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National Trust launches appeal to save home of philanthropist car maker

National Trust launches appeal to save home of philanthropist car maker

The National Trust has launched a campaign to raise £600,000 to save the home of William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, who made motoring affordable for the British masses.

The Morris Motor Company was started in 1910 when bicycle manufacturer Morris turned his attention to cars. Morris became very successful and wealthy, giving away over £30 million (the equivalent of £11 billion in today’s money) to support education, hospitals and medical research. However, he lived without ostentation, and this is reflected in the simple furnishings of Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire, his home from 1933 until his death in 1963. He left the house to Nuffield College in Oxford, which he founded. The College has carefully preserved the house and until recently it has been opened to the public by volunteers from the Friends of Nuffield Place on a limited basis.

Set high in the Chilterns, the house is also a rare survival of a complete, upper-middle class home of the 1930s. It retains the majority of the furniture and contents acquired by Lord and Lady Nuffield when they took up residence, as well as having several rooms still decorated in the 1930s style.

Nuffield College has now offered it to the National Trust. However, in order to open this unique house to the public, and secure its future, the Trust needs to raise £600,000.

Richard Henderson, National Trust General Manager, said that Lord Nuffield’s home “is a wonderful time capsule without any of the ‘show’ of a multi-millionaire and reveals so much about the man who changed many people’s lives for the better. We are determined to open the house as soon as possible and to celebrate Lord Nuffield’s remarkable story.”

Many of Lord and Lady Nuffield’s possessions are still where they left them, offering an glimpse into their world. Robes worn to official functions, personal letters and books, and framed cartoons and photographs can be seen throughout the house. Much of the original decoration and most of the furnishings also remain making it a perfect example of a complete 1930s country home.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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