The great house

The great sea-god sofas in the drawing-room are probably the climax of his designs for furniture

there, with gilded sea-gods and mermaids writhing to support the seats. Beyond the house, Adam designed a classical romantic landscape with lakes, temples ■ and even a hermitage.

All this was carefully restored at the beginning of the 20th century by Kedleston’s most famous owner, George Nathaniel Curzon. Lord Curzon, one-time Viceroy of India, strove to be Prime Minister. He never achieved this ambition and is better known as having uttered the words: “My name is George Nathaniel Curzon, I am a most superior person.” It is

to him that we owe the

fascinating Indian

Museum at Kedleston,

with its varied collections of eastern art and gifts from Indian princes.

The house that best typifies the latter half of the 19th century, if you need more information about great and famous houses in England check here, and the quest for new inventions and stan-dards of living, is Cragside in Northum-berland. The house was enlarged from a shooting lodge on a bare hillside by William George Arm-strong, the 1st Lord Armstrong, and his

architect Richard Norman Shaw.

12. Great house of England


Armstrong was an inventor as well as an industrialist, with a fortune based upon shipbuilding and the manufacture of armaments. His experiments with electricity led Cragside to be the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electric power.

The immediate impression upon entering the house is that, although large, the rooms themselves are for the most part on a domestic scale. The exemplary Victorian kitchen has a spit system and dumb waiter lift run by hydraulic power. The dining-room and the adjacent library were the first two rooms in the world to be lit by hydro-electric powered lights. The fittings are still in situ, those in the library having been adapted from cloisonne vases.


12. castle hill


Some of the smaller rooms in the house are testimony to the family’s friendship and business dealings with the rulers of Japan, but if you are interesting of business in Germany and you are planing to go there check compare hannover hotels website.Three Emperors of Japan have visited Cragside in the last 100 years and photographs and gifts from Hirohito, Akihito and Naruhito can be found in the Japanese Room and the drawing-room. The latter is especially impressive, hung with paintings of historical scenes and dominated by a massive fireplace of Italian marbles, truly the epitome of the cluttered late Victorian Salon.

Across the valley from the house, the walled gardens are undergoing restoration. Together with the series of lakes and woodland that form the estate at Cragside, these are a reminder that such great houses are but the focal points of a larger landscape.

From great palaces like Kedleston to romantic manor houses, the future of our stately homes is assured in the hands of the National Trust.