Big Jack kicks off a magical exhibition

Footballing legend Jack Charlton with Rothbury Football club members Craig Speight in a modern day strip and Richard Hooks in vintage footballing kit which is part of the new exhibition at Cragside.
Footballing legend Jack Charlton with Rothbury Football club members Craig Speight in a modern day strip and Richard Hooks in vintage footballing kit which is part of the new exhibition at Cragside.

A WORLD Cup hero has kicked-off an exhibition which brings to life some of the great Victorian inventions that are still shaping our lives more than a century later.

Jack Charlton, who played in the 1966 World Cup-winning England team, officially opened the Palace of the Modern Magician at Cragside this week.

The month-long display is celebrating some of the great Victorian creations that went on to change the way we work, rest and play, alongside their modern day counterparts.

Among the leisure items on show are football and fishing-related equipment – two of Jack’s favourite pursuits – that are at the top of their game in terms of innovation and sophistication more than 100 years apart.

The Palace of the Modern Magician has been inspired by the ingenuity and inventiveness of Cragside’s Victorian creator, Lord Armstrong.

The aim is to put his creativity and foresight into context alongside other great Victorian creations and developments which have gone on to change the world.

Kate Hunter, Cragside’s events manager, said: “If Cragside can be regarded as the place where modern domestic living began, then the 19th century creations that will be on display in the house alongside their contemporary counterparts can be seen as the things which have shaped our leisure, work and social lifestyles.”

They will include a replica 19th century football kit complete with knee-length shorts and heavy steel toe-capped leather boots displayed alongside a modern-day lightweight strip, so visitors can see how technology and the Victorians have both shaped the beautiful game and helped turn it into a global sport.

Also on display will be a Hardy Perfect fishing reel from 1891. Made by the famous Alnwick-based fishing tackle manufacturer and retailer, it is now regarded as one of the finest fly-fishing reels ever made and had become a classic design that is still being made today.

Katherine Williamson, Cragside’s house steward, “We hope the Palace of the Modern Magician exhibition will help people appreciate the debt we owe our forward-thinking Victorian ancestors.”