The John Spedan Lewis Trust

A field

The John Spedan Lewis Trust for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences

The history of the Trust

John Spedan Lewis, the founder of the partnership, was an enthusiastic naturalist. He studied and collected insects at Leckford for many years, and was a very knowledgeable entomologist. When he retired as chairman in 1955, to mark the occasion it was agreed that a fund should be raised and put at Mr Lewis's disposal to finance natural history projects. The John Spedan Lewis Trust for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences was established, with the purpose of 'advancing the cause of education in and of promoting research into and the study and knowledge of the natural sciences'.

The development of the Trust

It was John Spedan Lewis's wish that Leckford should become a natural history study centre, but little progress was made during his lifetime. Then in 1968, after his death, the Partnership gave the Trust a small building (the old Leckford bath-house), which became a laboratory and field centre.

Help for amateur specialists

An overall direction was also agreed - that amateur specialists who were properly qualified should be encouraged and supported to make collections, and records kept of the flora and fauna of the Leckford Estate.

Establishing nature reserves

It was also decided that there should be intensive study of some small areas, to demonstrate to what extent fauna and flora might be conserved on small, typical, undisturbed areas surrounded by land disturbed by changing agricultural practice. Several such small areas were agreed and adopted as Trust Nature Reserves in 1972.

The progress of the Trust

Since then, many experts have studied and recorded a very wide range of organisms on the Estate and especially on the Trust Reserves. The Trust now has a wealth of biodiversity data spanning some 60 years, covering not just flowers and butterflies, but also spiders, flies, beetles, fungi, mosses, and nearly everything else!