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Lord Armstrong’s monumental estate at Cragside, the first house in the world
to have electric power, notches up its 150th birthday this year. It’s getting a new hydro-electric power station as a present.William
Armstrong’s Cragside home in Northumberland celebrates its 150th
birthday this year by reinstalling a hydroelectricity
system originally established by
the house’s first owner. Cragside, which now
belongs to the National Trust, was built over more than 20 years from 1853, mostly by the architect Norman Shaw, in a partially Tudor style.
Set in the Northumberland landscape near the market town of Rothbury, it was called by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner “the most dramatic Victorian
mansion in the North of England.” He added:The site is Wagnerian â€“ and so is Shaw’s architectureThe new hydro system will provide enough energy to light the house again.
Sawyer, who is the National Trust’s conservation and interpretation officer at Cragside, said: Lord Armstrong was an exceptional man with a genius mind and the prospect of bringing his vision for Cragside into the 21st century is a dream come true.
Hydroelectricity is the world’s most widely used form of renewable energy, so we are looking forward to sharing this very special part of its heritage.
In the year of building dreams at Cragside, as well
as powering the house by Hydroelectricity once more, later in the year we plan to open a new exhibition in the house which tells how the Armstrongs ensured their dreams had a legacy.The
Tyneside industrialist ploughed some of the vast profits from his Elswick armaments works â€“ which employed 25,000 people at its height – into building his huge “palace of a modern magician”. In the 1860s, Armstrong dammed streams on the estate to create three lakes.
He originally used water power to run a spit for roasting in the kitchen, as well as laundry equipment and a lift, and one
of the country’s
first flushing lavatories.
By 1878 he had installed a turbine and dynamo to power an arc lamp in the house’s gallery, making Cragside almost certainly the first
house in the world with electric light, powered by the world’s first hydro-electricity station. The early arc lamps were highly unsatisfactory and were replaced in 1880 by 45 of Joseph’s Swan’s newly invented incandescent bulbs â€“ not cheap at 25/- each. In October 1880, electric light had first been publicly demonstrated by Swan at a lecture at Newcastle’s Lit & Phil, of which Armstrong was the president.
Although Swan’s house in Gateshead can claim to be the world’s first to be lit by electric bulbs, Swan himself wrote about installing his
lights with Armstrong:As far
as I know, Cragside
was the first house in England properly fitted up with my electric lamps. It was a delightful sensation for both of us when the gallery was first lit
upThe house had Pre-Raphaelite pictures and stained glass alongside a large number of pictures of dogs and works which Pevsner rather sniffily says show “what was permissible to the Victorian nobleman in the way of erotica.”
Amongst his better paintings were two important Turner watercolours, and Millais’ Chill October, for which he paid Â£945 at Christie’s in 1875 and which was much admired by van Gogh, who wrote in 1884 I for my part always keep thinking about some English paintings – for instance Chill October by Millais. The collection was mostly dispersed after Armstrong’s death. Chill October was sold again in 1991, fetching Â£370,000 at Sotheby’s â€“ it now belongs to Andrew Lloyd-Webber.Also taking place at Cragside in 2013 is an exhibition, Captured on Camera, which will show images from a personal photograph album of Lord Armstrong’s great nephew and his family, who took over as owners of Cragside when Lord Armstrong died. In June, a number of temporary artworks will be installed at various locations on the Cragside estate as part of the Festival of the North East. The artworks will “give a modern interpretation of the pioneering vision of Lord and Lady Armstrong.”Alan Sykes is the Guardian Northerner’s roving arts specialist and a sheep farmer in the high Pennines. He Tweets here.NewcastleEnergyHeritageHeritageNorthumberlandThe National TrustAlan Sykesguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More FeedsThe stock market has roared back to record-high territory â€” and the number of U.S. millionaires is not far behind, according to a new report. The number of U.S. households worth $1 million or more, excluding the value of their homes, surged to nearly 9 million in 2012.
That is just below its pre-recession peak of 9.2 million, according to a report by the Spectrem Group, a Chicago-area financial consultant firm. Read full article >> As the Pentagon seeks to trim spending, there
are some programs Congress believes the military can’t do without. Among them: cancer research. This pointless remake of John Milius’s 1984 red-scare actioner sees North Koreans, not Ruskies, invading AmericaThis has to be the year’s most pointless remake: a boring and badly acted reboot of John Milius’s gung-ho red-scare actioner from 1984. A bunch of gutsy college kids held out against an invasion of the US by Soviet forces, forming a guerrilla army that kept the flame of patriotism alive.
Now, in 2013, the invading forces are North Korean.
And does the story reflect the Barack Obama era? Well, the town mayor is African-American, and he
really is a weak fellow, who cringingly advocates collaborating with the enemy.
Was this guy born in Kenya, or what? The young hero now is played by a bearded Chris
Hemsworth who looks like a hungover and not especially young Charles Bronson. But how on earth did North Korea, apparently without using any nukes, actually manage a ground invasion of the US? Did they have, erm, help? Here
is where the film ties itself in unhilarious knots. There’s a blue-bereted Russian military adviser who is allowed to frown in a couple of scenes, but the tactless question of the Chinese
â€“ without whom North Korea can do nothing in the real world â€“ is not mentioned. China is an important foreign market, and Hollywood movies
have to be very careful which far-eastern commies they vilify.Rating: 1/5Action and adventurePeter Bradshawguardian.co.uk
© 2013 Guardian News and
Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. |
Use of this content
is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds Amid the cityâ€™s chaos, visitors find charm and character. Yishai Jusidmanâ€™s show at Americas Society, which features paintings of Nazi gas chambers, is more editorial than art.
February’s long winter slog is brightened by Valentine’s Day, a good reminder to take care of our hearts. Here are some ideas for being well during this shortest, and often snowiest, of months in