Eglingham WI, April meeting

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SECRET PLACES: Eglingham WI held a well-attended meeting in April.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and adopted.

Members who had joined the guided tour around the Secret Places of Newcastle reported a very interesting and enjoyable day.

There was some discussion about the summer outing in July.

It was finally decided to go to The Garden Station at Langley. Transport will be arranged.

Those members who are going to take part in the sandsculpting competition are getting their thinking caps on for a human form to sculpt.

Our president welcomed our speaker for the evening, Andrew Sawyer, who was to speak on the Armstrongs at home.

Mr Sawyer gave a very comprehensive talk about the history of the Armstrong family, in particular their life-long passion of gardening, landscaping and of course the building of Cragside.

They already had experience of creating a home and magnificent garden at Jesmond Dene before they decided in 1863 to build a retreat at Cragside and initially started with 20 acres.

Mr Sawyer explained the close links between water, the landscape and the house and gardens.

With its clever use of hydropower, Cragside was known locally as the Palace of the Modern Magician.

Although many of us have often visited Cragside, Mr Sawyer was able to add to our understanding by his detailed knowledge of the estate.

His enthusiasm for Cragside and the Armstrongs was evident in his talk, supplemented with slides.

It was no surprise to find out that all this knowledge came from first-hand experience of working at Cragside as the previous head gardener.

Jean North gave the vote of thanks.

The competition for a cleaning tip was won by Mrs Romai.