The head of the National Trust has vowed to continue to “decolonize” her country houses one by one, despite a massive backlash in which she received death threats for the organization’s “wokeism”.
The trust was acquitted of charity violation last year on the basis of a report detailing the links between 93 of its properties and historical slavery and colonialism.
Winston Churchill’s former home, Chartwell in Kent, was among the properties on the list because the Prime Minister was once Secretary of State for the Colonies during the war.
The move sparked a violent backlash in some circles, including from some MPs and colleagues, and the Trust faced allegations of “wokeism” and jumping on the bandwagon of Black Lives Matter.
Following complaints, the Charity Regulator opened a case to investigate the concerns of the critics, but concluded that the National Trust had acted in accordance with its charitable purposes and that there was no reason for government action against it.
Now Hilary McGrady, the Trust’s director general, told the Guardian that the organization was still uncovering the story every day and that a fuller, more detailed picture would need to be drawn in order to continue its colonialism review.
Hilary McGrady, head of the National Trust, has vowed to continue to “decolonize” her country houses one by one despite a major backlash including death threats for the organization’s “wokeism”.
The National Trust has vowed to gradually “decolonize” its country houses despite massive backlashes. Pictured: Chartwell
Winston Churchill’s former Chartwell home in Kent was on the list because the Prime Minister (pictured) once held the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies during the war
The next step is, property by property, too [ask if] we need to do more research. And how would we weave that into the story so that we get a full story of the place? It will take a long time to be honest.
“Nobody’s going to force this down your throat. Nobody is trying to get you to read this stuff. There is no point in trying to preach and most certainly not judging.
“We’re trying to provide layers of information; we don’t take anything away. We are increasing the complexity of the information available. But if [people] come along and go for a walk in the garden and have a nice cup of tea, that makes me very happy. ‘
Ms. McGrady also revealed how she had received anonymous death threats about the report, which some viewed as a politicized assault on the legacy.
However, she brushed the intimidation aside and insisted that “it goes with the territory”.
Following the charity commission’s conclusion last year, leading historian and journalist Professor Simon Heffer told MailOnline that he was “amazed” that the regulator had not censored the body.
He added the organization had made a “political decision that the British Empire was an evil construct” and said its September report showed “stunning ignorance” and a “complete absence of nuance” in the results.