Monday, November 1, 2010

Cragside

Cragside is a country house in the civil parish of Cartington in Northumberland, England. It was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power. Built into a rocky hillside above a 4 km² forest garden, it was the country home of Lord Armstrong, the inventor, shipbuilder and hydraulics engineer.
Cragside, named after Cragend Hill above the house, was built in 1863 as a modest two-storey country lodge, but was subsequently extended to designs by Norman Shaw over a period of 15 years, transforming it into an elaborate mansion in the Free Tudor style. At one point, the building included an astronomical observatory and a scientific laboratory.

This is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  I felt like I was in a dream.  It is impossible to describe in words how awesome the combination of an extraordinary landscape and great architecture can be.  The building and grounds are wonderfully put together and extremely stylish, and the autumn colors were phenomenal.  This is a recently restored iron bridge a few hundred yards from the house.
Lord Armstrong had great taste as well as being gifted intellectually.  I found the interior to be tasteful and quite warm and comfortable. 
This is one of the few properties I have visited where photographs were permitted (without flash).  Lord Armstrong was a designer whose visions made him wealthy, and whose generosity is worthy of note: Lord Armstrong.  Cragside makes the Hill House look kind of small, and I have to say that my pilgrimage just keeps getting better and better!

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