Killerton is an 18th-century house near Exeter in Devon. In 1944 it was given to the National Trust by British politician Sir Richard Acland.
Sir Richard was was one of the founding members of the British Common Wealth Party. He was an advocate of public land ownership and he gave his Killerton and Holnicote estates to the National Trust out of principle, and also to ensure that the estates remained safe and unspoiled for all time.
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At the time this was the largest single acquisition in the Trusts history. With a total of 17,000 acres, the estates were estimated to be worth £250,000. That’s the equivelent of £4,000,000 in todays money. Sir Richard, who was then 36, said of his future “My income will depend solely on what I earn as an M.P. and a writer. I shall be a working man and nothing else.”
The summerhouse was renamed ‘the bear’s hut’ because in the 1860’s it was used to house a black bear called Tom, which had been brought to Killerton by the 12th Baronet’s brother, Gilbert, on his return from Canada.
Although the Killerton Estate came to the Trust in 1944, the house didn’t open to the public until 1978. In 1944 the house was cleared of furniture to make way for two evacuated schools. Post-war the house was used firstly as a hotel for the Worker’s Travel Association, who’s aim was to provide affordable holidays for working people and their families. Later it became a hall of residence for St Luke’s College of Education.
When the Trust opened the house to the public in 1978 there was little of the original furniture left.
The ground floor of the house has been re-furnished as it would have been in the early part of the 20th century, when the Acland family were still in residence.
There were no pictures to show what the bedrooms looked like. So when Killerton was offered a costume exhibition, it was decided to use the upstairs of the house for the displays. Since then they have always had a themed fashion exhibition on display.
Camera: Sony RX100 V.