May 19th 2011: Ernest Cook and Fairford Park

At the May meeting Nicholas Ford, Agent and Director (Chief Executive) of the Ernest Cook Trust since 2002 talked to FHS members about how Ernest Cook came to found the Ernest Cook Trust as an educational charity and the work of the Trust today managing their estates and its work as a grant giver.

Ernest Cook was the grandson of Thomas Cook from Derbyshire famous for setting up the Thomas Cook Travel Agency. Both Ernest and his brother Frank both went to work in the Travel Agency, Frank as an agent in remoter parts of the world and Ernest in the banking side of the business. Ernest helped to initiate the use of travellers’ cheques for foreign travel. In 1928 he and his brother sold the company to Wagon-Lits of Belgium for £3.500,000.

With his half of the money Ernest could indulge his interests, he loved fast cars, bought paintings which he donated to the National Art Directors Fund, and a lot of land. By 1939? he had bought 17 estates. He cared passionately about the country and Estate system, but was also aware of hardship in the countryside and founded a fund to help the provision of District Nurses in rural areas.

To avoid death duties, Ernest Cook set up the educational charity, the Ernest Cook Trust.

See the excellent website for more information.

See also the Fairford Park Topic.