Page 4: The partnership
The National Trust is a charity. It was established in 1895 to hold ‘Lands of natural beauty and sites and houses of historic interest to be preserved intact for the nation’s use and enjoyment.’ Today it protects the ownership of some 570,000 acres of countryside of outstanding natural beauty and protects a further 78,000 acres. It also owns more than 500 miles of coastline and more than 300 buildings and gardens of historic and artistic importance. The Trust is independent of Government and relies upon the generosity of those who donate it properties and the money to maintain them and on more than 2.4 million subscribing members as well as friends and supporters everywhere.
One of the Trust’s greatest achievements has been its ability to maintain an acceptable balance between access and conservation. Today, more than 11 million people visit the Trust’s houses and gardens each year and millions more enjoy its open spaces. However, the principle that preservation must take precedence over public access still stands. Preservation permits access, whilst without preservation access becomes impossible!
Uppark is a fine late 17th century house, situated high on the South Downs with magnificent views towards the Solent. In 1989, the house was largely burned down following a major fire. Royal SunAlliance’s connection with the house dates back to 1753 when Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh first insured the property and the original certificate still exists. Sun Alliance was also the main insurer for the National Trust when the decision was taken to restore the house to its condition on the day before the fire. The house was re-opened in 1995.
Sun Alliance concentrated its sponsorship on the site’s Exhibition & Visitor Centre, which chronicles the painstaking process of putting the house back together over the six years following the fire. Since 1995, all visitors to Uppark pass through this building adjoining the car park which is known as the Sun Alliance Exhibition & Visitor Centre.
The insurance and sponsorship connections are shown on signposts, on promotional leaflets and printed acknowledgements in members’ magazines running into millions. Exclusive days for staff were organised in 1994 and 1995 and a free entry voucher was printed in their staff magazine. Royal SunAlliance may also hold receptions at Uppark with a waived facility fee and have the use of an agreed number of photographic images of the property.
Croome Landscape Park
Croome Landscape Park in Worcestershire is a perfect example of the classic eighteenth century English landscape garden. It is the first major work by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The monument to ‘Capability’ Brown, erected in 1809.
Royal SunAlliance who, until recently owned and managed the Croome agricultural estate, has entered into a ten-year partnership with the National Trust, during which they will contribute towards the restoration of the landscape and buildings, which include the Temple Greenhouse and Lake Temple, designed by Robert Adam. The restoration will take many years and will be complete only when some 1,400 park land trees, to be planted in a re-creation of the original design, reach maturity.
The Croome project represents a major development of Royal SunAlliance’s relationship with the National Trust. The presence of Royal SunAlliance in Bristol and historic associations with Croome were key factors in the sponsorship deal. The benefits are similar to those enjoyed at Uppark, with a branded exhibition and extensive print and employee benefits. The sponsorship has helped Royal SunAlliance with its corporate positioning.