Original article from Kent Live
Four historic buildings in Kent feature in a National Trust report about links to colonialism and slavery.
The interim report titled 'The Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust' was first published last September.
It's gained attention again this week however after a campaign by a group of National Trust members against its findings.
On the other side of the debate, The Guardian labelled it the trust's "welcome entry to the 21st century".
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Four buildings in Kent are named in the document, including Sir Winston's Churchill's family home of Chartwell.
Below we've listed each building and published the sections written by the National Trust in full.
Chartwell was the family home of Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965) from 1922 until his death.
One of the longest-serving political figures in British history, he was Prime Minister twice (1940–5 and 1951–5), famously during the Second World War – a period that coincided with the Bengal Famine of 1943.
Leading historians, such as Robert Rhodes James, comment that Churchill lived an ‘exceptionally long, complex, and controversial life’.
He served as Secretary of State for the Colonies (1921–2) and helped to draft the Anglo-Irish Treaty at the time of the creation of the Irish Free State.
However, Churchill opposed the granting of Dominion status to India, voting against the India Bill in 1935.
Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset (1589–1624), inherited Knole in 1609.
His household and servants numbered over 100 and the Great Hall seating plan of 1613 to 1624 includes Grace Robinson at the laundry-maid’s table and John Morockoe seated with the kitchen and scullery staff.
Both names are annotated ‘a Blackamoor’.
Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset (1590–1652), became Governor of the Somers Island Company (which governed Bermuda from 1615) between 1623 and 1624, Commissioner of the Settling of Virginia (1629–34) and petitioned Charles I in 1637 for the governance of ‘certain Islands on the south of New England … not yet inhabited by any Christians’.
John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745–99), commissioned portraits from Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–92), including a portrait of Huang Ya Dong (inventory number NT129924) painted in 1776. Huang came to England from Canton (now Guangzhou) with the naturalist John Bradby Blake (1745–73), an employee of the East India Company.
A letter of 1775 describes Huang as being 22 years old. Having heard that he would be favourably received in England, Huang entered the household of the Duke, returning to China by 1785, where he became a merchant in Canton.
Knole was inherited by Mary Sackville (1792–1864), daughter of the 3rd Duke. In 1839, she married William Pitt Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst of Arracan (1773–1857), who had served as Ambassador Extraordinary to China (1816–7) and Governor General of India (1823–8).
West Farleigh Hall, West Farleigh
William Philip Perrin (1742–1820). inherited five sugar plantations in Jamaica, with 135 enslaved people, from his father, who was also named William (d.1759). Perrin junior never visited Jamaica but employed Malcolm Laing, an agent who was also plantation owner, to manage his estates.
This necessitated transatlantic correspondence which still survives today – including receipts for cargoes of sugar, lists and invoices for enslaved people and instructions for the management of the plantations.
Perrin used the wealth from his business interests to buy West Farleigh Hall in Kent (not NT) in 1774, and Parkhurst and Leith Hill (both in Surrey) in 1795. He restored and added to the height of Hull’s Tower, which, by that time, had become derelict.
Owletts was the home of Sir Herbert Baker (1862–1946), one of the leading architects of the British Empire.
He spent over two decades in South Africa designing public buildings and homes for government officials, including Cecil John Rhodes (1853–1902), the prime minister of the Cape Colony.
Relocating to India in 1913, Baker worked in partnership with his friend and fellow architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944), to build the imperial capital of Delhi.
Together they designed Parliament House and Baker designed the two Secretariat Buildings either side of the axial route leading to the Viceroy’s Palace in New Delhi.
However, the partnership of Baker and Lutyens eventually collapsed due to divergent architectural approaches. Baker also designed India House and South Africa House in London, which are still used by the Indian and South African High Commissions today.