History

Do you recognise it? © National Trust

Do you recognise it?

Where it all began

Cragside was created very largely by three remarkable Victorians - its owners, William and Margaret Armstrong, and their architect, Richard Norman Shaw. Despite later changes, the house and estate still bear their distinctive stamp.

Sir William, later 1st Lord Armstrong (1810-1900) had one of the most extraordinary careers of the Victorian era.

In 1863, not having taken a holiday for years and tired after organising a conference of the British Association, Armstrong visited Rothbury. He had happy childhood memories of the area, and decided to build a place in the country.

And so Cragside began.

Life of a Lady

Lady Armstrong - wife of Victorian engineer William Armstrong © Alex Riddell

What was Lady Margaret Armstrong like? It is a frequently asked question, and from historical sources a lot can be revealed. She was the daughter of a Bishop Auckland engineer, William Ramshaw. The yo…

Lord Armstrong - the man at work

William Armstrong - one of the great Victorian engineers © Alex Riddell

What was Lord Armstrong like? Words like focused, driven, inspirational, visionary, entrepreneurial would be used today to describe this very individual man.

Collecting the colossal in the garden at Cragside

The magnificent conifers in the pinetum, some of the largest in Europe © Faye Morris

The plant collection at Cragside is the largest collection in numbers and the biggest in its sheer physical size. Lord and Lady Armstrong directed the planting of seven million trees.

Cragside's art collection

Silky the dog - whose dog was it? © Andrew Sawyer

Lord and Lady Armstrong collected art all their married life and had a fine collection at their homes, here at Cragside and at Jesmond Dene in Newcastle. They displayed a very good collection in their…

Science & engineering at Cragside

A young Lord William Armstrong © Andrew Sawyer

From an early age, the young William Armstrong had a natural aptitude for all things mechanical, taking apart toys to find out how they worked, and inventing and making his own with materials found around the house.

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