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Arts and crafts in Northumberland

Northumberland is in the North East of England. It has a population of around 316,000 and covers approximately 501,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Cumbria, Durham, Scottish Borders, Tyne and Wear.

County flag of NorthumberlandNorthumberland is the the most sparsely populated county in England, has a rugged landscape of moorland, forests, hills and sandy beaches and shares a border with Scotland. In the year 122AD construction began on Hadrians Wall, built to defend the northernmost border of the Roman Empire and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of what survives of the stone wall is within Northumberland and the remains of some of the forts have been excavated, such as Vindolanda. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area continued to be the scene of conflict between competing powers, which resulted in more castles being built here than in any other county in England. Historically Northumberland has had strong links with Scotland, which is reflected in aspects of local culture such as folk dancing, folk music and the counties own tartan. The northernmost town in England since 1482, control of Berwick-upon-Tweed previously passed between England and Scotland a number of times. The town now hosts a range of contemporary arts exhibitions and events. The county town of Northumberland is Morpeth, where visitors can see a 17th-century clock tower and a bagpipe museum, which has examples of the Northumbrian smallpipes and bagpipe music manuscripts. Around a quarter of Northumberland is a protected National Park. As well as the market towns, Cheviot Hills and North Pennines tourists can visit the island of Lindisfarne, crossing the causeway at low tide.

Alnwick Castle attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and has featured as a location or backdrop in a number of television and film productions. Construction of the castle was begun in the late 11th century by the Normans and the family of the Duke of Northumberland have lived there for more than seven hundred years. Within the finely furnished rooms are paintings by artists including Canaletto, Titian, Turner and Van Dyck and there are museum exhibits from the castles long history. There is an opportunity to dress up in medieval clothing, learn about traditional crafts and take part in various activities. From the castle walls and terraces, visitors can look out across the grounds, which were designed by 18th century landscape gardener Capability Brown. Visitors can also stroll through the recently renovated Alnwick Gardens and spend time in the picturesque medieval market town. Performing arts venues in Northumberland include Seaton Delaval Arts Centre, Phoenix Theatre in Blyth, Alnwick Playhouse and Arts Centre and the Maltings Theatre and Cinema in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Other attractions in Northumberland include Woodhorn Museum in Ashington, Corbridge Roman Town, the Victorian house and gardens of Cragside in Morpeth and Warkworth Castle.

Thomas James Cobden Sanderson

(Born 1840 in Alnwick in Northumberland), Art, Bookbinding

A friend and neighbour of William Morris, Cobden-Sanderson was a member of the Art Workers Guild and was the founder of the Doves Bindery back in 1893. He also started Doves Press, that was a well known private press in London.

Bryan Donkin

(Born 1768 in Sandhoe in Northumberland), Papermaking

Donkin was the engineer responsible for the manufacture of the first Fourdrinier machine for making paper.

Thomas Bewick

(Born 1753 in Mickley in Northumberland), Illustration, Nonfiction

An engraver, writer and illustrator.