Recent refurbishments provide an insight into the property’s diverse uses – from war-time stronghold to modern holiday destination
A recent £200,000 refurbishment on guest rooms and a further £40,000 refurbishment on the lodges at Brown Rigg, near Bellingham in Northumberland has uncovered some of the lost material culture from Brown Rigg’s past.
During this refurbishment, much of the work took place in the old school’s medical wing, and several finds from this site provide a view into the daily lives of those at Brown Rigg in both pre and post-war times. One of the most interesting finds was a medicine bottle, that would have been used by Sister Brown to treat poorly students. This bottle of Regalax liquid paraffin has caused a particular stir with archivists at Boots,see below for the original advert from 1931:
Also found was a brick signed by the workers who built the wing – a small but significant connection to our past community. Other well-preserved finds included a variety of cigarette packets – not something that would be found in many medical bays today – and graffiti made by the original students of Brown Rigg.
Sue Hunter, co-owner of Brown Rigg Lodges, said ‘We have been thrilled with the finds that have turned up at Brown Rigg these past few months. It’s wonderful to be able to see what has been left behind by those that were here before us. We are now actively building up an archive of historic material and knowledge. We would welcome any input from people that have information, anecdotes, or experience with the various iterations of Brown Rigg over the years – as well as the heritage of Northumberland.”
With a history dating back to 1938, Brown Rigg is one of Northumberland’s most historic re-purposed schools and was originally built to get children breathing fresh air by taking them out of polluted industrial towns and cities. In the Second World War, Brown Rigg joined the national effort in evacuating young girls from Newcastle to the safety of the Northumbrian countryside until the hostility ceased in 1945.
Thereafter, the Northumberland Education Committee leased the site to establish one of the country's first co-educational boarding school; one which placed a high emphasis on outdoor activities and sports. Whilst the school was closed in 1985 – and re-purposed as a riding school, before coming to the Hunter family in 2016 - the ethos at Brown Rigg remains the same, with the owners Alastair and Sue Hunter once again are encouraging people to venture out into the great outdoors.
What has changed, however, are the facilities and services offered to the guests. Following refurbishments, the rooms and lodges are all now finished to high specification, allowing guests to relax and enjoy the Northumbrian countryside in comfort.
Brown Rigg is proud of its history, and continues to be focused upon nurturing the minds, bodies, and souls of all its guests. We look forward to sharing this rich history, and all of Northumberland has to offer, to guests in 2018.
Information about the lodges can be found on the website and for guestrooms, please email email@example.com for further information.
Published: Monday 29/01/2018
By Visit Northumberland