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Nation’s heritage is threatened by climate change!

January 31, 2022

By Paul Homewood



Here we go again!




Nestled on the banks of the Thames in Richmond, south-west London, the National Trust-run 12-acre garden is threatened by floods, extreme weather and unpredictable rainfall.

While summer temperatures in some of the historic rooms soar to 95F (35C) so they have to be shuttered from visitors.

Head gardener Rosie Fyles and her team tend the grand estate meticulously but its waterside location makes it vulnerable when the Thames floods.

Rosie said: "There are big issues about how we manage the space for nature, for the environment…given that predictions suggest that those flooding incidents will happen more frequently and more severely.

"It has implications for how you manage the trees and what trees you might plant. The trees that we might pick today that will thrive today aren’t the trees that necessarily will thrive [in 100 years]. We’re thinking decades out."

Rosie knows the 120,000 yearly visitors hope to enjoy on the same splendid sights first seen after King Charles I leased it to his childhood friend William Murray in 1626.

The Grade-I listed mansion of "exceptional national importance" was transformed by the courtier and later by his tenacious daughter Elizabeth, the Duchess of Lauderdale, into today’s imposing spectacle.

Rosie said there were major issues, such as replacing more than a mile of hornbeam hedge in a wilderness garden which is responding "quite badly" to modern-day extreme weather conditions: "If were starting again tomorrow, I would not be making these planting choices because we’d know they were unsustainable.

"There would still be period historic plants we could choose but it wouldn’t be these."

Her team planted a climate-resilient apple orchard in the Ham kitchen garden.

Other measures to mitigate against weather risks include irrigation systems run from the house guttering, placing visitors’ benches in the shade and moving plants to areas that suit them better.

The three-storey mansion holds notable paintings, tapestries and furniture that are also at risk due to humidity, high heat and to water finding its way in.

Some south-facing bedrooms hit 95F in the summer, forcing the Trust to bar visitors from them.

Megan Tanner, general manager, said sensors check water vapour levels: "We try to control extreme fluctuations in heat, humidity and damage from pests, diseases and dust. We are constantly fighting a battle against the sun.

"We want visitors to be able to see what’s in here but we also don’t want things to be damaged."

The basement has suffered severe damage from damp. Summer flooding, plus increased rainfall in recent years, made Trust chiefs consider if the historic downpipes and gutters are enough.

Water cascading from gutters and pouring down the walls of historic houses during heavy rain shows how climate change is affecting our heritage.

Traditional downpipes, gutters and hoppers coped when the houses were built but today are often overwhelmed.

A climate-resilient apple orchard! The mind boggles!!

But what about all this supposed extreme rainfall, that they never used to have in the past? The claimed “increased rainfall”, for instance:




Or more extreme rainfall?






In other words their claims are a pack of lies. But we get to the real story in this statement by Rosie Fyles:

“There are big issues about how we manage the space for nature, for the environment…given that predictions suggest that those flooding incidents will happen more frequently and more severely

Predictions! And where might these come from?

The London Borough of Richmond has recently updated its “Strategic Flood Risk Assessment”, something I suspect most local authorities have to do:



And planning rules dictate that the impacts of climate change must be taken into account:



Hence we get gobbledygook like this:



The authors make no attempt to quantify changing risks based on actual data. They simply assume that flooding will get worse because the Environment Agency says so.

Meanwhile the National Trust can blame all of its problems on climate change.

  1. January 31, 2022 11:20 am

    I wonder how much Metis Consultants charged for their rubbish report? Whatever it was it is yet another waste of taxpayers’ money. Putting the label of ‘Cimate Change’ on anything now signifies there will be lies and grand larceny. The whole circus puts me in mind of a very unpleasant picture I saw many years ago where a group of individuals were all joined to each other going round and round in a circle.

  2. January 31, 2022 11:22 am

    Always remember that liars lie. The liars inflicting terrible, devastating harm on the world through Covid, are the same pushing the erroneous belief in man-made climate change.

  3. that man permalink
    January 31, 2022 11:25 am

    “Water cascading from gutters and pouring down the walls of historic houses during heavy rain shows how climate change is affecting our heritage.”
    —or, simply that the gutters need cleaning and/or repairs.

    “Traditional downpipes, gutters and hoppers coped when the houses were built but today are often overwhelmed.”
    —assuming the gutters etc coped in the first place.

    Climate change: the great cop-out.

    • Gamecock permalink
      January 31, 2022 2:13 pm

      True, man. “Climate change” is a sign of intellectual vacancy. Rather than find the answer, just declare “climate change.”

      Sounds remarkably similar to “an act of God.”

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 31, 2022 3:18 pm

      Yes. The classic cop-out for their responsibility to maintain the infrastructure. If gutters overspill or leak: that’s climate change. Yet, if they fixed them they’d have no excuse because they wouldn’t fail.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      February 1, 2022 10:00 am

      So, replace the gutters and downpipes with higher capacity ones.
      Ah, then we hit the problems with doing works on listed buildings.

  4. January 31, 2022 11:55 am

    Aafter many years of being members, this waste of membership money by the NT is why we gave up our membership several years ago.

  5. January 31, 2022 11:56 am

    Why don’t they consult with those in Manaus, Brazil. It reportedly has the world’s highest rainfall according to a long-ago Geobotany course I took.

  6. David permalink
    January 31, 2022 12:16 pm

    Presumably if the NT would part with the money a modern climate control system could be installed, but maybe it would use too much electricity and accelerate climate change!

  7. Marmaduke Jinks permalink
    January 31, 2022 12:24 pm

    The graphs do indicate that average rainfall has not increased but, just by eye, it is not easy to ascertain whether the extremes – up or down – are more frequent or pronounced. Wouldn’t the examination of any variation in Standard Deviation over time establish that?

  8. Dr Ken Pollock permalink
    January 31, 2022 12:39 pm

    An architect friend once told me that these historic houses don’t fit sprinkler systems as the water might damage the fabric and contents of the room where the fire starts. So they would rather lose the whole house than one room, if the worst happened – as it has on several occasions. Unwise choice, but then they will guard against extra flooding…

  9. Ron permalink
    January 31, 2022 1:07 pm

    Wait..what!? I thought western culture was evil. That our history was disgusting. That we are personally guilty of original environlment and racial sin so therefore can achieve redemption only by publicly denouncing and then renouncing any attempt to present it as anyhing but a blight on humanity.

    The whole point of the Boris Johnson and Biden’s Paris Accords is to offer penance and reparations to the rest of humanity for the error of our ways. I thought we were supposed to tear down statues and other monuments like this one rather than try and preserve them to honour them.

  10. January 31, 2022 1:16 pm

    “predictions suggest that those flooding incidents will happen more frequently and more severely”

    These folk are clueless. They clearly have no idea about the flood history of the Thames. They would do well to check out the multiple big floods that took place in Victorian times.

    • M E permalink
      February 2, 2022 4:40 am

      The Thames is the kind of river which floods . The banks change as the river channels change in flood times
      Was the house always so close to the river or has the river encroached ? Did they use the river for transport,I wonder.?
      People used waterways then instead of roads if possible. Barges went from one place to another lower down the river with passengers in London ..rather than use the streets. Processions of Royalty went by barge, see Handel Water Music.

  11. Tammly permalink
    January 31, 2022 1:18 pm

    I worked in Nat Trust (including Ham House) properties in the 1980s. It did get hot in some rooms in mid summer, because sometimes a room could be south facing with very large windows. To cool down as we worked, we opened the windows!

    that man is quite right, a lot of the drainage, particularly down pipes were always inadequate (too small in diameter), for the areas of roof they were required to drain. They required constant regular cleaning and maintenance annually, which they often didn’t get in their last 100 years of existence. The considerable damage that resulted to their rooms, I, as a restorer was closely acquainted with.

    Also National Trust apparatchiks have never been blessed with the finest intellects.

  12. January 31, 2022 1:20 pm

    “A climate-resilient apple orchard!”

    I think that would be my description of a classic west country cider apple orchard. Once you drink enough of the product, you’re totally resilient to anything the climate might throw at you…

  13. Tammly permalink
    January 31, 2022 1:23 pm

    The National Trust has been unable to prevent some of their stately homes burning down, what makes anyone believe they can prevent them from flooding?

    • Penda100 permalink
      January 31, 2022 1:44 pm

      Weren’t the fires caused by climate change? If they weren’t at the time, they would be now.

  14. mikewaite permalink
    January 31, 2022 1:48 pm

    The problems of Ham House in the face of a barely detectable climate change threat seem miniscule compared to those seen by James Lees – Milne when he inspected it in 1943 for recommendation of purchase by the NT:
    “the grounds are indescribably overgrown and unkempt. I passed long ranges of semi-derelict outhouses. The garden is pitted with bomb craters around the house , from which a few windows have been blown out and the busts from the niches torn away—”
    (Ancestral Voices)
    Several generations of NT employees and volunteers have transformed it . The curreent generation of Trust managers seem incapable or unwilling to tackle problems that bear absolutely no comparison with those which a previous generations coped with very successfully , and without any silly whining.

  15. Ben Vorlich permalink
    January 31, 2022 1:51 pm

    Is 35’C in a South facing room with large windows that unusual? I’d hazard a guess that it’s been happening since the house was built

  16. Broadlands permalink
    January 31, 2022 2:02 pm

    “… the National Trust-run 12-acre garden is threatened by floods, extreme weather and unpredictable rainfall.”

    Those are the operative words… “unpredictable” and “weather”. Climate change takes 30 years by default definition. Nobody’s model can predict a future climate because natural variability is inherently unpredictable. What they can do is make better infrastructure preparations for whatever extremes might take place. Humans have been doing that for thousands of years. They will continue to do so because they have to.

  17. January 31, 2022 2:16 pm

    Paul, presenting the various graphs relating to rainfall is highly instructive. With a claimed ~1.5C increase in annual mean temperature for England since 1890 (Met Office data), rainfall has barely changed, either for England as a whole or for individual localities such as Kew. So why should anyone believe that any future warming will bring more rainfall or more extreme rainfall?

  18. January 31, 2022 2:19 pm

    Wasn’t there a policy in the middle of the 20th century where grand historic homes became unaffordable for the current inhabitants/owners and the only way to avoid exorbitant property taxes was to remove the roof so the structure would decay in the weather making it worthless? Is there any possibility climate change will be worse for historic preservation than the British tax system?

  19. LeedsChris permalink
    January 31, 2022 2:44 pm

    Kew has an even longer record as a weather station than 1960 and records go back to at least 1870 (though not in the Met Office’s computer database!!). From my glance at Brazell’s London Weather (published in 1964), the 1915-60 mean annual rainfall for Kew was 604mm, which is pretty much the same as shown in your more recent graphs. What is also interesting is that there are short-term trends through the last 150 plus years – the entire 1870s was very wet, but the 1890s and early 1900s very dry (although, ironically with the wettest every year in that sequence, 1903, with 970mm!) and there have been groups of wet years and dry years since. An earlier record from Greenwich – at least to my ‘eye balling’ the annual rainfall graph shows even greater variability between wet and dry years in the mid victorian period between 1840 and 1870.

  20. tom0mason permalink
    January 31, 2022 4:23 pm

    I live in hope that many of these pathetic monuments to outrageous greed and mindless acquisitiveness do disintegrate. Hopefully through the stupidity of the National Trust and their belief (for that is all they have) in a climate crisis (aka manmade climate change).

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      January 31, 2022 6:52 pm

      In what way is building something beautiful, filling it with beautiful objects and surrounding it with beautiful gardens a monument to greed?

      • tom0mason permalink
        January 31, 2022 7:20 pm

        Because Phoenix44, all too often these disgusting edifices and their contents were build from the profits of imperialism, wars, slavery, theft and even crimes against humanity. Also having such monuments to greed on vast acreages of land while there are still so many destitute and homeless in this country is unjust.
        Yes I have a bias point of view which stem from my utter dislike of the Nation Trust and their wish to cast large parts of this country in aspic making it some glorious theme park for tourists, all the while standing in the way of progress and the wider public good.

      • Crowcatcher permalink
        February 1, 2022 7:12 am

        I’m with you tom0mason.
        The way these landowners treated their workers was deplorable, we, therefore, shouldn’t honour them in the way the Trust does.

    • January 31, 2022 8:56 pm


      Grow up.

      Or Comment on the Grauniad where you obviously belong.

      • tom0mason permalink
        February 1, 2022 1:30 pm

        Martin Brumby
        You are obviously totally unaware of the situation …
        NATIONAL TRUST & NATIONAL TRUST FOR SCOTLAND owns 589,748 acres of land. They are the 4th largest private owner of land in the UK.

        Now run off and ask your mummy for some more milk and biscuits.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        February 1, 2022 2:22 pm

        Gentlemen please. Along with the erudite comments on NALOPKT, another pleasure is the absence of ad hominem attacks between contributors.
        We should leave those to the ‘scientists’ who disagree with those who use evidence against their fallacious narratives.

    • M E permalink
      February 2, 2022 4:52 am

      These estates gave work to a lot of people year round. Villages suffered when the great houses were abandoned.
      I read what Thomas Sowell says about income distribution not.Marx and Engels who were sons of wealthy families. Engels profited from factories in Manchester exploiting the poor, for instance

  21. Cat permalink
    January 31, 2022 4:42 pm

    “Nation’s heritage is threatened by climate change!”

    Isn’t everything?

  22. cookers52 permalink
    January 31, 2022 6:24 pm

    The councils level 1 strategic flood risk assessment has to be updated every 6 years.
    This is to account for changes in land use over time, and any recent data on actual flood event.
    It will be based on flood extents from the EA flood modelling national datasets, which in turn rely on the Integrated Hydrological Digital Terrain Model (IHDTM) which is a national data set that attempts to define the contributing catchment and drainage network of the whole country.
    The IHDTM is a static data set based on OS terrain 50
    Data set, basically the 1:50000 OS contours because at a national level that was all they had available in circa 1990.
    There are many errors in the IHDTM with watercourses flowing the wrong way etc, often because in reality all the countryside is actually man made, but over time the large river catchments have been defined with some accuracy.
    Smaller catchments are often problematic as there are no measurements or gauging stations.

  23. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 31, 2022 6:54 pm

    Placing benches in the shade! The horror!

    Quick, entirely change our economies and societies.

  24. January 31, 2022 9:28 pm

    Manmade climate change is just a fantasy created for nefarious political reasons.

    We cannot influence natural climatic variation caused in fact by the Sun, cosmic rays and water vapour.

    CO2 can be almost exonerated. It’s impact is minimal, except for charlatans purposes.

    • Tammly permalink
      February 1, 2022 9:43 am

      cajwbroomhill. An excellent summary, well done indeed!

  25. January 31, 2022 9:55 pm

    Flooding has many causes, rainfall is one of them, the EA forecast increase peak river flows and frequency of rainfall intensity because your elected representatives in parliament told them to via legislation. It has no basis in fact just some % increases added to existing assumptions that are intended to be used to appraise the flood risk of new developments.
    However somewhat paradoxically the Government have not enacted The Water and Flood Management Act 2010 which would give local councils the power to enforce renewal and maintenance of SuDS infiltration systems, balancing pond and lakes (Mr Nobody looks after them at the moment).

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