Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cragside House and Gardens

Cragside was a bizarre but very interesting estate near Rothbury in Northumberland. The house, built according to the principals of the Arts and Crafts movement, was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity.  That power also drives a dishwasher, a rotisserie and hydraulic equipment in the Kitchen as well as a vacuum cleaner and a washing machine.  The hydro-electric system was installed in 1868 and from 1869 to 1884 the original modest house was transformed into the confection that we see now.

It was the home of William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, who made his money as an armaments manufacturer.

Kitchen with hydraulic lift at back left



This is a HUGE sit-in fireplace

The house is surrounded by gardens and woodland covering an area so large that you need to drive to the extremities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Beamish Open Air Museum

We had a wonderful day (though we could easily have spent longer) at Beamish Open Air Museum.  It is a huge site with several areas reflecting life in County Durham at different periods of time.  Everything is authentic, having been relocated from its original position to the site.

There are historic busses and trams that take you around between the different areas.  The first area we visited was the Pit Village, reflecting life in the early 1900s.  As Andy's ancestors had been working in the coal mines in Co. Durham at this period that was of particular interest to us.  They have colliery house, a school, Methodist Chapel (at one period the Joyce family did attend the Methodist Chapel) and pit pony stables.

Back entrances to the cottages, which was the main way used
for day-to-day.
Best room in one of the cottages

Kitchen, which was the main living room
Nearby (as you'd expect) there was the Colliery.  We did go down the drift mine, but I think I found the lamp cabin the most interesting.

No relation

Lamp Cabin

Inside the mine
Next we went to the Town, reflecting life in the lead up to WWI. It has a co-op store, a terrace of homes, a dentist's (truly frightening), printers and stationers, a pub, sweet shop, Motor & Cycle works, bank and bakery (along with a few other things).

Dentist with "modern" equipment

The Pub

Next was the 1940s Farm.

We didn't have time to visit Pockerly Old Hall or Pockerley waggonway

That night we stayed in a wonderful place – Beamish Hall Hotel.  The stables out the back had been converted into a restaurant and brewery and we had a very nice dinner.

Craft Beer menu