I’ve had a few days break in Northumberland, staying in Alnwick, which is probably most famous now for the gardens and castle; also Barter Books which is a huge secondhand bookshop housed in the old railway station. There is a cafe in the old buffet serving the best bacon buttie I’ve tasted in a long time. Unfortunately the craft section didn’t have any books on throwing pottery or making ceramics so I came out empty handed, but everyone else found something to please.
We spent the day at Cragside which is owned by the National Trust. It was built by Lord Armstrong, who was a Victorian inventor, and I think possibly a genious.He was trained in law but his real passion was engineering. The house, including the kitchen had lots of mechanical ‘mod cons’ such as a spit powered water, and a dish washer.
The house has a lot of ingenious inventions for it’s time, such as a lift, fire alarm buttons, telephones and a turkish baths. It was the first in the world to have electric lights powered by hydro electricity.
Much of the house is Arts and Crafts style, I loved these fairly small stained glass windows by Morris and Co. They are situated at each side of a fireplace in a room with lots of wood panelling and low light. The windows really glow from the backlighting they really stand out in the room.
A lot of the rooms seemed quite masculine.
The gardens are very dramatic being built in a crag , over 7 million trees, lakes and waterfalls, and one of the largest rock gardens in Europe.
And now and then the house reveals itself from the woodland; doesn’t it looks splendid?