Thropton WI, February meeting

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AT HOME: Andrew Sawyer from the National Trust came to talk to us on the Armstrongs at home.

He showed us beautiful pictures to illustrate the lives of the Lord and Lady Armstrong, and Cragside hall and grounds, and what a difference they made to the landscape and people’s lives around there.

They first lived at Jesmond Dene, Newcastle. While his industrial businesses began on the Tyne, they bought up the Dene, and built the banqueting hall there.

They also bought a 10-room hunting lodge and an area of barren moorside that became Cragside Hall and grounds.

He used his engineering skills to make the lakes and waterfalls, bridges, pump houses, and hydro powers stations (The first in the world). Also, the hall was the first house with electric lighting.

She also affected the Rothbury area forever, as she was a great gardener, and was on site at 6.30am to see that the landscaping and planting of the seven million trees was done, also carriage drives and formal gardens.

She also influenced the beautiful rooms of the hall and was hostess to the then Prince and Princess of Wales, among other guests of note.

Andrew finished by hoping everyone will come to see the Armstrong’s home and grounds of Cragside.