National Trust landmark in Northumberland team up with school to reignite Christmas spirit

The National Trust are working with Rothbury First School in an initiative to bring Christmas spirit back to Cragside.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 11:47 am
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 1:25 am
Visitors on a winter walk at Cragside.
Visitors on a winter walk at Cragside.

This winter, Cragside in Northumberland, and the children of Rothbury First School, are working together to bring festive cheer back into the home of Northumbrian philanthropist and innovator Lord Armstrong.

Once home to Lord and Lady Armstrong, Cragside would open its doors every Christmas, welcoming local school children into the home of the Northumbrian inventor.

An article from a local paper in January 1893 reported: “A delightful treat was given by Lord Armstrong and Mr. and Mrs. Watson-Armstrong to the children… where a magnificent Christmas tree, illuminated with numerous candles and laden with books, toys, boxes of sweets had been erected.

Cragside house.

“As soon as the children were arranged the tree was stripped of its precious burden, and the fruit distributed in the cheeriest and most kindly manner by Mrs. Watson Armstrong.”

Over a century on, Cragside will once again extend this warm welcome to the local community, working with 22 year three children from Rothbury First School.

Inspired by traditions of the past, the children, aged between seven and eight, are invited to decorate their own tree within the iconic home, crafting traditional Christmas decorations made from naturally sourced materials such as pinecones, twigs, wood, leaves, and wool.

The tree itself, and others across the estate, will be provided by local farm, Haydon Christmas Trees, having been sustainably grown on Northumbrian soil.

Meeting Father Christmas.

School partnership liaison and forest school teacher, Sarah Husted, said: “This initiative marks the start of a new learning relationship between the school and House and Grounds which opens up the magical spaces at Cragside to allow the children to explore their curriculum outside the classroom.”

With crafting underway from mid-November, the children will adorn the tree with their hand-made creations on Tuesday, December 3, supported by staff from the school as well as a dedicated team of National Trust learning volunteers.

Children of the first school will also be invited back with their families to see the tree in all its festive glory throughout the month of December.