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A Shaw Thing!

March 20, 2015

Each year National Trust place’s run a raffle for which the money raised at that place is doubled by the National Trust and then goes towards a special project at that place. This year at Cragside we are raising money for the Bee Room. Andrew Sawyer, Property Curator at Cragside tells us more:

Front Elevation

Lord and Lady Armstrong gave the job of designing their dream home to the architect Richard Norman Shaw. We plan to reopen the Bee Room, above the north arch of the house, to display his plans and ideas for Cragside. Help us make this room a showcase of the Armstrong – Shaw collaboration that created this extraordinary place.

Norman Shaw worked on Cragside over a fifteen year period and the house has a higgledy-piggledy appearance because of that. It is a house that evolved over time, constantly incorporating Lord Armstrong’s ideas and technology. Shaw was never given free rein at Cragside and it was collaboration with the owner Armstrong that results in this extraordinary creation.

Central Tower

The Bee Room has been chosen to tell this story as it gives the brilliant opportunity to look into the courtyard of the house to view the architecture from the windows. Its elevated position, straddling the north archway, gives a new perspective on the house and its design. The room will be flooded with natural light on both sides, revealing the brightness Cragside’s interiors would have had when the house was first built and lived in.

Copies of Norman Shaw’s detailed plans and intricate drawings will be displayed in the room, to show and tell, from his own hand how the house was designed. This work from a vanished hand tells us so much about the planned layers, dissecting the house into slices of development, some of which you see and some you don’t. Shaw’s letters home will surprise and delight the readers of today as they did the recipients of the past and reveal more about his visits here.

We want to build access platforms at the windows so everyone can take a peek into the courtyard and view the architecture of the buildings that surround it. The room will be designed as a place to sit and relax on the journey through the house. To see how the house was built and imagine how it all happened.

Roof Line

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