Water power returns to National Trust's Cragside in Northumberland

Hydroelectricity is on its way as the giant Archimedes screw arrives at the National Trust's Cragside estate in Northumberland

The drained Cragside lake
The drained Cragside lake

A giant piece of kit which has arrived at a Northumberland visitor attraction will turn the clock back more than 130 years.

The delivery from Germany of the 17-metre long Archimedes screw to the National Trust’s Cragside property paves the way to re-light the estate’s house by hydroelectricity once again, just as owner Lord Armstrong once did.

The screw was lifted into position at the southern end of Cragside’s Tumbleton lake.

It will allow the flow of water from the lake to the Debdon Burn to turn the screw.

Andrew Sawyer, Cragside conservation officer, said: “It will be a very visual demonstration of the way hydro power works. Lord Armstrong was an exceptional man with an ingenious mind and the prospect of bringing his vision for Cragside into the 21st Century is a dream come true.”

As water passes through the spiral blades it turns the screw to turn, harnessing the energy of the falling water, which is converted into electricity using a generator.

Andrew said: “The Archimedean screw is easy to install and maintain due to the simple mechanics, and because it works at low speed, it’s possible forfish to pass through the turbine unharmed.

“The best thing is that it’s visible and we hope this will add to people’s understanding of why Cragside is so special.”

Visitors will be able to view the technology from the lakeside.


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