Why save Nuffield House?

morris minor

The National Trust launches campaign to save Morris Minors inventor’s home.

The National Trust has launched a campaign to raise £600,000 to save the “time capsule” home of the man who made motoring affordable for the British masses.

The Morris Motor Company was started in 1910 when bicycle manufacturer William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, turned his attention to cars.

Three years later the two-seat Morris Oxford ‘Bullnose‘ was introduced, helping change the lives of thousands of ordinary people with the dawn of low cost mass-produced vehicles.

As his fortune grew, Lord Nuffield became increasingly aware of the contribution he could make in a pre-welfare state.

As Britain’s greatest ever philanthropist, he gave away over £30 million (the equivalent of £11 billion in today’s money) to support education, hospitals and medical research which continue to benefit millions of people around the world.

Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire was 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.

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

Richard Henderson, National Trust general manager, said: “Despite Lord Nuffield’s extraordinary philanthropy and achievements, he remains relatively unknown. His 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. But we need to raise the funds to get the necessary visitor facilities in place and we hope our supporters will help us to meet our target.”

Despite considerable personal wealth, Lord Nuffield lived a modest life and the house and its contents reflect the simple, unassuming home that he shared with his wife.

Many of Lord and Lady Nuffield’s possessions are still where they left them, offering an intimate 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.

Lord Nuffield’s love of mechanical things can be seen in his bedroom which hid a miniature workshop with his collection of hand tools. It was here that he would relieve nights of insomnia by doing delicate metal work.

Kevin Minns, chairman of the Friends of Nuffield Place and great great nephew of Lord Nuffield said: “This wonderfully generous offer from Nuffield College has given the National Trust the opportunity to preserve the legacy of William Morris, Lord Nuffield and save Nuffield Place once and for all.”

The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity with over 350 historic houses, 160 gardens, 1,100 kilometres of coastline, 254,000 hectares of land of outstanding natural beauty, six World Heritage Sites, 28 castles and 60 pubs, and many places to visit.

 

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