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Cragside (Cragside House)

  • Built / Designed For: Sir William Armstrong, later 1st Lord Armstrong

    House & Family History: Cragside was built between 1863 and 1866 by an unknown architect for Sir William Armstrong (later 1st Lord Armstrong). In 1869 Armstrong engaged Norman Shaw to transform his weekend retreat into the huge fantasy house we see today. Lord Armstrong, a mechanical genius who made a fortune from armaments manufacturing, was so famous in his own time that he is believed to have been the model for George Bernard Shaw's arms magnate in his 1905 play "Major Barbara." Armstrong equipped Cragside with the latest technology of the time: hot and cold running water, central heating, fire alarms, and telephones. It was also the first house in the world to have its electricity generated by water power (in 2012 the National Trust announced that it would reinstall Cragside's 19th century hydroelectricity system, with the aim to power everything on the estate). Cragside eventually became Armstrong's primary home; in 1884 he received the Prince and Princess of Wales (later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) for a stay at Cragside during their tour of the north. Lord Armstrong also purchased and restored Bamburgh Castle, where his descendants remain seated today.

    Collections: Cragside contains a notable collection of Victorian art, with a particular emphais on Pre-Raphaelite paintings and De Morgan tiles.

    Comments: The British weekly paper "The World" (published between 1874 and 1920) called Cragside "Truly the palace of a modern magician."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Surrounding the house on all sides is one of the largest man made rock gardens in Europe. In the pinetum below, England's tallest Douglas Fir soars above other woodland giants. Across the valley, the orchard house still produces many varieties of fresh fruit.

  • Architect: Norman Shaw

    Date: 1869-83
    Designed: Rebuilt and enlarged existing house for William Armstrong

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  • Country Life: CXLVI, 1640, 1694, 1969. CLXVIII, 759, 1980.

  • Title: Telegraph, The (newspaper)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Apr 15, 2013 article on Newby Hall by Joe Shute in the Lifestyle section
    Publisher: London: Telegraph Media Group Ltd.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Newspaper

    Title: National Trust Handbook 2008, The
    Author: Peel, Lucy (Editor)
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 320
    Publisher: England: The National Trust
    ISBN: 9780707804064
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade I

  • "Abroad Again in Britain" (2004 - BBC TV documentary by Jonathan Meades, episode 1.4, "Cragside House"). "The Current War" (2019 - as Solitude).
  • Past Seat / Home of: William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, 1862-1900.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01669-620-333

    Fax: 01669-620-066

    Email: cragside@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No