Our work

Cragside's hydro project

The arrival and installation of the Archimedes Screw at Cragside © Paul Kingston

The arrival and installation of the Archimedes Screw at Cragside

In spring 2014 the Archimedes screw, weighing several tonnes, was carefully craned into position and took over three hours to fit into its correct position. The turbine was placed at the southern end of Tumbleton Lake, allowing the flow of water from the lake to the Debdon Burn to turn the screw.

Cragside's hydo project

The arrival and installation of the Archimedes Screw at Cragside © Paul Kingston

The arrival and installation of the Archimedes Screw at Cragside

Tumbleton Lake provides the water, via a pipe below the road, to drive the new Archimedes screw hydroelectric turbine. The rotational energy of the 17 metre long, 1.6 metre diameter screw drives an electrical generator and all the electricity which is generated is sent through cables, directly to the house, to power the lights. To make the system even more efficient we have already converted the lighting in the house to LED light bulbs.

Cragside's hydo project

Cragside’s Archimedes screw © National Trust

Cragside’s Archimedes screw

The electricity produced by the Archimedes screw is fed directly into the House supply. Over the course of a year we expect to generate sufficient electricity to light all the lights in the house, but not enough to run all our computers, fridges and heaters. To make this possible, the house is fitted entirely with LED light bulbs. As each bulb is 5 watt, it only takes 2 kilowatts in total to light the house, continuing Lord Armstrong’s dream of illuminating his home by hydroelectricity. 

Roll up the carpet

The Chenille carpet is one of 12 hand-woven carpets in the National Trust  © National Trust

The Chenille carpet is one of 12 hand-woven carpets in the National Trust

The Chenille carpet in Cragside’s dining room was beginning to show its age, so earlier this year it was rolled up taken away for 9 months of delicate restoration work. The delicate carpet is by no means an ordinary carpet; there are no more than a dozen Chenille carpets left in National Trust properties nationwide.

Our work

  • House blog

    Keep up to date on all that's happening in the house.

  • Gardener's blog

    Holly, one of our gardeners, has been faithfully keeping a diary of her work.

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