The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) was set up to save some of the UK’s finest heritage at risk of loss, as a permanent memorial to those who have given their lives for the UK.
As a fund of last resort, NHMF provides financial assistance towards the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of some of the UK’s finest objects and landscapes. Ranging from historic houses and works of art to trains and boats and ancient landscapes.
NHMF receives annual grant-in-aid of £5million from the UK government to help save some of our most-loved treasures from being lost forever.
History of NHMF
The National Heritage Memorial Fund’s predecessor, The National Land Fund, was set up in 1946 to purchase land and buildings as a ‘thank-offering for victory, and a war memorial’.
However, the fund remained largely unused and in 1977 there was public outcry over the sale of the historic Mentmore Towers and its contents. On the death of the 6th Earl of Rosebery, the government had declined to buy the Grade 1 listed country house and its contents in lieu of death duties. As a result, the precious art and objects were sold through a public auction.
The loss sparked the passing of a new National Heritage Act in 1980, which launched the National Heritage Memorial Fund as a ‘memorial to those who have died for the UK’.
It was given an independent board of Trustees and allocated the money remaining in the National Land Fund as well as an allowance of grant-in-aid.
This new fund was to build on, and expand, the legacy of its predecessor by making available grants to help acquire, maintain or preserve any land, building or structure, or any object or collection of outstanding scenic, historic, aesthetic, architectural, scientific, or artistic interest to the nation. The word ‘memorial’ remains in the title as a reminder that this fund remains true to the original vision of creating the finest of memorials to those who have given their lives for the UK.
The NHMF continues to act as the fund of last resort for some of our nation’s greatest treasures.
NHMF and The National Lottery Heritage Fund
In 1994, the NHMF and its trustees were appointed distributor of the heritage share of the National Lottery’s funds for Good Causes, which it now operates through The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK. It offers opportunities for conserving the nation’s heritage with emphasis on improved access, learning and engagement.