We spent the afternoon at our local National Trust property, The Vyne, with friends who’d never been before. It’s a beautiful house, but right now they had to take our word for it, as the whole thing is encased in boards and scaffolding. They’ve effectively built a temporary house around the house while they work on restoring the roof, parts of which date back to the original house of the 1520s.
That’s a big job, and it’s going to take time, a whole lot of precious time and it’s going to take money, a whole lot of spending money (with apologies to Chrissie Hynde). But what’s brilliant about the way the National Trust are approaching it is that they’re not wasting either of these.
They’ve turned the problem into an adventure: we ascended the scaffolding in a hoist, and walked around above the roof, looking down on the works and the boys had fun spotting the little Lego construction workers dotted around the place while the grown-ups marvelled at the 16th-century frame and chimney stacks, took in the views across the parkland, and read the information boards.
On a previous visit, the kids ‘tagged a tile’, writing their names and drawing a picture on a terracotta tile that will be used in the final restoration. At £5 a time, that’s a modest sum to pay for an entertaining 15 minutes and the opportunity to be part of history, but I imagine it’s gone a long way towards helping with the enormous cost of the work.
Such a great example of finding the fun and engaging your tribe’s imagination and attention – which is the only way of course to attract their support too. Nice work, NT.