Collingwood Society – Summer picnic

This weekend the Collingwood Society had its summer outing (or one of them), in the form of a ‘picnic’ of the grounds of Collingwood House at Morpeth.

I got down a bit early because of the train times, so I popped into the town hall on my way to have another look at the Collingwood statue there – I don’t think I’ve ever posted about it, although I was there at the unveiling.

Town hall statue

The statue is a replica of the one which went to Menorca to sit on an island on the harbour there.

Town hall statue description

The weather was a bit doubtful all day, which meant not as many people turned out as might have done, which was a shame – I had a nice day all the same, though.

I started off going for a prowl around the house and garden.

Collingwood House

The house is a long L-shape, and at least about twice as big as it looks from the front – here’s the view right down the side.

The side of the house

Most of the garden is now the Catholic church and primary school and their grounds, but we were allowed to go down across the playing field to what remains of the quarterdeck walk and summerhouse.

The poop deck
View from the poop deck

Later on there were various kinds of wandering around, starting with a rather confusing quiz which did take me to a ‘secret garden’ with another Collingwood Oak.

Collingwood Oak
Collingwood Oak

Then there was an ‘expedition’ led by Tony Barrow to see what is possibly the last remaining whalebone arch in Northumberland – now the gateway of a perfectly ordinary looking house in a row of ordinary houses!

Whalebone arch

After lunch the house was opened up for a while – the highlight of the tour, for some reason, being the chance to go down into the cellar!

Wine cellar

My favourite part of the house is the main hall – a lovely square open space two storeys high and the whole width of the back part of the house, with the stairs running up round the walls.


But the front room is very nice too, and although all the decoration is obviously different, the basic shape and the situation of the fireplace must be the same as when it was the Collingwoods’ front room.

The front room

On the stairs there were some paintings showing the house and church in earlier times – this one must be from after about 1850, since that is when the church was built, but it shows the summerhouse still standing.

Summerhouse painting

And then at the end of the day I discovered that I had won the prize for being quickest at the second version of the quiz – which would have been a lovely thing except that it was mostly cheese, which I hate. Still, I’ll appreciate the beer, and the cheese has gone to a good home!

Cheesy prize

The Georgian House, Edinburgh

The Georgian House

Last weekend I had company – one of my Age of Sail friends was visiting Edinburgh, and we went to the Georgian House, which is another of these things I’ve somehow never got round to doing.

I do seem to have been on a bit of a New Town kick lately, and this is the heart of it – one of the places they lit up when they did the Georgian Shadows show, in fact.

I didn’t get round to taking many photos, and my camera was playing up a bit, but I did manage a few.

The parlour was the sitting quietly room, with the comfortable chairs and the bookcase, but my favourite thing was the barrel organ – which when you look inside is exactly like the turn-the-handle music boxes you get today, only on a larger scale.

Barrel organ
Giant music box

And it knew how to play the Fairy Dance, along with a handful of other tunes which are still familiar today.

The drawing room, also on the first floor, was the party room – big and empty enough for dancing.

Drawing room
Drawing room fire

You started at the top of the house and worked down, and we found it a bit odd that the sitting rooms were upstairs and the main bedroom downstairs!

It made sense to have the dining room on the ground floor, though, because downstairs again was the kitchen, so it meant that the food didn’t have so far to come. I was impressed by their array of pots and pans, and especially by the jelly moulds.

Pots and pans

Also down here was the well stocked wine cellar.

Wine cellar

And then we wandered off to drink tea and talk about George Heneage Dundas and Christy-Pallière and other mutual friends, which was nice!