Amenity Societies

Octavia Hill was the driving force and Treasurer of the influential Kyrle Society, founded in 1877 by her sister, Miranda. The Kyrle Society, formed to “Bring Beauty Home to the People” and supported by William Morris among others, was forerunner of all today’s amenity societies and also the Civic Trust. The Trust wanted to enhance the quality of life in communities with art, books and open spaces. Hospitals, schools and clubrooms were decorated and community events organised. Octavia’s article “Colour, Space and Music” was based on an address she gave at a Kyrle Society meeting.

The Society was named after John Kyrle, the eighteenth century benefactor of Ross-on-Wye, in Herefordshire, who spent much of his small fortune improving the town’s amenities.

The National Trust grew out of the work of the Open Space Committee, which was instrumental in saving or creating many of London’s recreational areas that would otherwise have been built over.