Geri Silverstone –External Affairs Consultant heading up the National Trust’s Magna Carta activities.
As we get over the excesses of the Bank Holiday weekend and having consumed my body weight in cream and scones (I am contractually obliged to do so) my mind is turned to that very shortly we will be taking time out to enjoy our LiberTeas.
Giving you the Mandy Rice Davies defence (he would say that wouldn’t he) but in humble opinion there are very few organisations that say afternoon tea more than the National Trust. Which is why we are very proud to be associated with and partnering with Parliament in hosting LiberTeas and asking the country to take a moment on the 14th June to celebrate debate or reflect on our liberties and freedoms.
At first look it might puzzle some as to why the Trust is taking such an active involvement in LiberTeas and Magna Carta celebrations. However the National Trust that has been at the vanguard at fighting for liberties and freedoms. Ever since our founder Octavia Hill formed the National Trust in 1895, we have been passionate about standing up for others and for causes that nobody else was. And the Trust’s relationship to Magna Carta dates back to 1931 when Lady Fairhaven entrusted Runnymede meadows to us for their safe keeping and to prevent any future development on them.
There are over 20 National Trust properties taking part in LiberTeas. The reasons why these properties are getting involved are because liberty and freedom tell an important part to their story. They vary from the very little sites such as the chance to have a cup of tea underneath the Tolpuddle Martyr Tree in the Dorset village of Tolpuddle, when this wonderful sycamore tree back in the 1830s witnessed the birth of the Trade Union movement. Or if you fancy a bigger event then why not join in the Great Debate at Chartwell the family home of Sir Winston Churchill near Westerham in Kent. Where better to listen and argue with debating teams from the University of the Third Age and a local school than at the home of the greatest orator of the twentieth century.
If you do visit Chartwell I certainly would recommend a trip to the wonderful Mrs Landemare Tea Room. Georgina Landemare spent over 30 years rustling up tasty meals for the wartime PM. In the tea room named after her you can surround yourself by a fine collection of paintings all crafted by the great man himself and the chance to indulge in feasts similar to that Winston would have enjoyed.
So back to the subject of cream and scones. In my job I am not allowed to have favourites. Just like my children I love my properties and their cakes all differently but with an equal amount of passion. So why don’t you chose for yourself by having a look at our recipes and trying them out for yourselves. Perhaps there will be something there that takes your fancy which you can use for your own LiberTeas event.
For more information on the 15th June visit nationaltrust.org.uk/runnymede