Country House. 1864, greatly enlarged 1870-2, 1872-7 and 1883-5 by Norman
Shaw, and Billiard Room extension 1895 by Frederick Waller, for Sir William
George Armstrong, 1st Lord Armstrong. Snecked stone with rock-faced-and-
margined quoins and ashlar dressings; some timber framing with pebbledashed
infill; red clay tile roofs except for leaded part-glazed roof to Drawing
Room and Welsh slates on Billiard Room.
Dramatic site cut into steep valleyside; irregular ranges around small court
closed by rock face on east. Central Tower in west range; Gilnockie Tower
at east end of south range forms a link with Drawing Room and Billiard Room
at higher level to south-east. Eclectic style with mixed Gothic, Tudor and
South (Entrance) front: irregular facade in 3 parts. 3-storey 3-bay left
section has 2 timber-framed gables and an attic dormer; central moulded
entrance arch with inner half-glazed panelled double doors, and large mullioned-
and-transomed window over. Central part 2 storeys and blind jettied top floor,
2 bays, has a larger moulded archway through to the courtyard. Right bay is
5-storey Gilnockie Tower, with gabled top floor set back behind stepped parapet;
and hexagonal wooden cupola with swept lead dome and weathervane. Projecting
right wing, 2-storeyed on west and l-storeyed on east with hill slope; on west
and south faces large bay windows, massive projecting stack on south,
castellated parapets. At higher level on far right is large detached chimney
stack served by subterranean flues.
Irregular west front in several planes. 4-bay right section is 1864 house,
heightened 1872-7 by Shaw; 3 storeys except for 6-storey central Tower rising
behind 2nd bay. Twin-gabled left bay; timber-framed top floor to right bays.
Tower has stepped crenellated parapet below timber-framed top floor with
jettied gable. 2-bay left section of 1870-7: Semi-octagonal bay window on
left supports balcony to recessed timber-framed 2nd floor.
North front 1 + 4 bays. Main 3-storey part has 1874 gateway on left: large
moulded archway to courtyard flanked by stepped clasping buttresses. 3rd bay
has full-height canted bay window, with multi-shafted chimney to right. To
left is 1½-storey bay with timber-framed gable set back behind parapet.
Stone-mullioned windows, some with transoms, except in timber-framed sections,
mostly with plate glass except for some leaded small-paned casements. Various
carved panels and details, notably to timberwork of Central Tower. Moulded
parapets, gable copings and finials. Tall chimneys with clustered octagonal
or spiral-fluted shafts.
Largely complete Victorian interior. Stone Entrance Hall with panelled bays
on either side and moulded arches, one leading to passage with De Morgan
majolica tiles. Library with elaborate panelled and coffered ceiling, frieze
with painted floral panels, high panelled dado and large chimney piece of
onyx, copper and pictorial tiles; Morris glass (life of St. George) in top
lights of windows. Dining Room has deeply-coffered moulded ceiling and high
embattled dado with carved frieze; inglenook fireplace under semicircular
arch, the fireplace, arch and frieze above all carved. Large kitchen with 2
ranges, hydraulically-turned spit and dumb waiter. In basement below Library,
a complete bath-house suite with tiled plunge bath.Open-well stair with carved
heraldic beasts on newels.
Upstairs landing and passages with De Morgan tiles. Gallery, with arch-braced
timber roof and glazed top panels, leads to Drawing Room: Huge inglenook
fireplace and chimneypiece by W.R. Lethaby, in Italian marbles, carved
throughout with Renaissance motifs and reaching to top of barreled roof.
Roof has elaborate plaster side panels and glazed centre; moulded archway to
bay window. Billiard Room with panelled fireplace wall and Baroque arcades.
Cragside was the home of the 1st Lord Armstrong (1810-1900), industrialist
and inventor. The house was the scene of many technological innovations; it
was the first in the world to be lit by electricity derived from water power.
'Cragside', National Trust guide 1981, S. Pettit & S. Saint.
Listing NGR: NU0737502173