When the Landmark Trust was founded by John Smith in 1965 its stated aims were to rescue buildings of historical or architectural interest and give them a new lease of life. Its early successes included Church Cottage in Cardiganshire (opened 1967) and the Egyptian House in Penzance (acquired 1968) which were challenging enough, but Lundy, as an entire island, represented a challenge on a vastly more complex level.
In addition to restoring the buildings, which range from a 13th century castle to a humble fisherman’s chalet (and a lot in-between), the whole infrastructure required attention. The Beach Road had collapsed, the water supply needed modernising, as did the electrical system, the logistics of transportation from the mainland was haphazard and retaining the Island’s tranquillity whilst attracting greater visitor numbers to make the project sustainable required careful balancing.
Thus was born the Lundy Company. It took over 20 years to simply tidy up and restore the buildings and services for both visitors and residents. Since then reinvestment of every penny of income, along with major grants from bodies such as the Lottery Heritage Fund, has resulted in an Island which is self-sufficient in most respects. As well as 23 letting properties, a campsite, accommodation for its 27 resident staff plus contractors and volunteers, Lundy now boasts its own supply vessel, there’s a new jetty, the Beach Road has been rebuilt and the water and electric supplies are now adequate for the task.
However the work is far from over. Lundy can be a harsh environment and repairs and maintenance are ongoing. Investment is required to ensure sustainability, to fund further conservation work and to enhance educational resources.
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