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Charitable Activities

The HHA is not a charity. We do however work alongside the Heritage Conservation Trust and the Heritage Education Trust on charitable activities.

If you love Britain’s magnificent historic houses and gardens, you can help to safeguard them by leaving a legacy in your will. By leaving a gift in your will, you can support the HHA and your legacy, big or small, will help these houses live on in the future
Please read more about the process here.


Heritage Conservation Trust

The HHA supports the work of the Heritage Conservation Trust which assists historic houses and gardens open to the public. The HCT gives grants for three purposes:

  • The conservation, maintenance and restoration of works of art and objects of outstanding artistic, scientific and historic interest
  • Educational, access and training initiatives in and about historic houses and gardens
  • Research projects linked closely to the conservation of the historic or artistic contents of houses

The Heritage Conservation Trust (HCT) was created as a charity in 1990 on the initiative of historic house owners and during its life so far, has focused on the first of its purposes, assisting the restoration of paintings and drawings in some fifty historic houses, open to the public, with some £280,000 of grant aid.    Recently, the HCT has decided that it should seek to develop its existing objects and to encourage access, education and research initiatives in historic properties, alongside its continuing work to assist restoration of works of art.

The HCT’s own resources have continued to be limited due to low interest rates. However, generous donations, from individuals, the organisers of the annual Cornforth Lectures hosted by Christie’s, regional groups of the Friends of the HHA and HHA Regions themselves have continued to boost its activities. The Trust is dependent on these for its future development.

Heritage Education Trust & The Sandford Awards

The Heritage Education Trust is the leading light of historic house education, recognising and promoting good practice in learning services within the historic environment.

Recognition is made through the annual Sandford Awards for Heritage Education, which assesses the provision of quality education in and about historic sites, buildings, museums, galleries, cathedrals, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and historic artefacts.    Promotion is through advocacy and a network of good practice. The Trust seeks to encourage innovation, transferability and sustainability alongside fun and enjoyment in education programmes. 

In 1977 Lord Sandford as Minister of the Environment, instigated The Sandford Awards – to encourage schools to visit historic places. The Awards have run every year since and in 1983 the HHA, English Heritage and the National Trust joined him to establish the Heritage Education Trust to administer the Awards and to promote and encourage education within the historic environment.   Michael Saunders Watson, the President of the HHA went on to chair the Heritage Education Trust until he retired in 1998.   

The Historic Houses Association has continued to support the Heritage Education Trust both by providing financial support over the years and by promotion to its members. The Trust and its personnel work closely with the Association.  

In 2015 a number of HHA Members won Sandford Awards:
Burghley House
Chatsworth House
Hall Place & Gardens
Harvington Hall
Holdenby House
Hopetoun House
Tatton Park