Meet Philip and Alex

Alex and Philip give Cragside house a deep clean over the winter period © National Trust/ Rosie Danagher

Alex and Philip give Cragside house a deep clean over the winter period

Name:
Philip Newton and Alex Riddell
Job:
Conservation Housekeepers
Location:
Cragside

Alex
Alex has worked at Cragside for 5 years

What do you get up to in the winter when the house is closed?
Lots of things mainly cleaning the house and doing the jobs we can’t really dedicate much time to during the season. At the moment we’re working on the Japanese room, re-dressing it and opening it up slightly so visitors can walk inside. This is great because there are so many interesting objects in there. A lot of the time we’re up scaffolds or ladders which we definitely can’t do when the public are in.

What is the best thing about working at Cragside?
I live in Pegswood so the drive to work is amazing, many people commute to Newcastle but I get to drive into the countryside. Other people end up in offices but I end up here.

Which is your favourite room?
The turrets are at the very top of the house. I know that’s not really a room. Sadly the public aren’t allowed up there but I love how you can see so much of the estate from there. It’s amazing.

Why does the house close?
Mainly because the collection needs a break from the light, it needs a lot of looking after so the winter gives us a chance to really preserve, clean and just get the house ready.

Tell us something about you?
Erm. I love a cup of Earl Grey.


Phillip
Phillip has worked at Cragside for 3 years

What do you get up to in the winter?
Deep clean of the house, a chance to look at the collection closer, work on projects we can’t really do when the house is open and of course spend time up scaffolds.

What is the best thing about working at Cragside?
The building, the fact this is our office is pretty amazing.

Which is your favourite room in the house?
The study, it’s quiet and cosy and I could sit in there for hours. It’s a little retreat from the world.

Why does the house close?
So we can conserve the house and collection. There’s 17,000 objects in our collection so it takes time, and it gives the house a little rest.

Tell us something about you?
I was in the film Atonement, not a large role but I was in it! You can see my head.