Here at Staunton our close neighbours are the National Trust, owners of Calke Abbey and park. Recently they have come under fire on two counts, closing down their parkland when the virus struck, and re-examining their properties with regard to colonialism and slavery.
On the second count I think that they are well out of line, responding to the ‘woke’ agenda currently toppling statues and renaming buildings. Taking this line of thinking to its logical conclusion it is arguable that most great houses should never have been built. As to closing down their open spaces, and subsequently giving very limited access, I’m afraid this tends to be the default reaction of organisations run by committees in our ‘risk averse’ society. Individuals can still climb mountains and shoot the rapids, groups must play it safe or risk dire consequences. The National Trust and others played it too safe, but who am I to complain; Staunton stayed open and has seen an influx of visitors greater than at any time since the Ferrers Centre was opened forty six years ago.
All this said, we should never undervalue the enormous benefit that the National Trust brings to our country. Priceless buildings and landscapes are maintained, while Enterprise Neptune saved and opened up our coastline. Our church here at Staunton is in their care, and the cost of maintaining that helped to sink the last private owner.