Saturday 21st May 2016, 11.30 hrs: Paxton House, Northumberland, 5 miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed:
The time has come for our Summer outing. Paxton House, an impressive country house and estate completed in 1763, is located some 5 miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Although we will visit the House and learn of its history in its own right, there are circumstantial connections with Admiral Collingwood. Paxton House has historical associations with Admiral Sir David Milne (1763-1845), a younger contemporary of our Admiral, who entered the navy as a Midshipman in 1779. Milne served on HMS CANADA in the West Indies between 1779-83 and was present at both the Battle of the Saintes and the relief of Gibraltar in 1782. He undoubtedly met with Admiral Collingwood on several occasions, although they do not appear to have actually served together. Milne did though attract the attention of Admiral Sir John Jervis in the Mediterranean between 1794-97, when Admiral Collingwood commanded HMS EXCELLENT; Milne commanded a frigate and contact can therefore be assumed with a fair degree of certainty.
Some of you will also recall that we were approached by a representative of Paxton House at our first AGM. They have a portrait of Admiral Collingwood but are unsure of the provenance. Perhaps we may discover more on our visit.
The Trustees of the Society have examined and costed various options for the visit. One that we cannot get around is the cost of entry and the tour – that is £9.50 per head. For that we will get a private tour and artefacts of our special interest but not normally on display will be brought out for us. We intend to book the tour for 11.30am, therefore allowing time for travel to Paxton House, yet providing time after the tour for refreshments and to take in the extensive grounds before heading home.
In the end, we have decided against trying to organise trains or minibuses, due to the geographic disposition of our membership and the declared preference of some members for driving anyway. The responsibility for getting to Paxton House is therefore yours, although we will, as we did with the Hartlepool visit last year, assist in arranging car-pooling. We will also arrange pick-up / drop-off for anyone travelling by train (Berwick upon Tweed is the closest station).
Paxton House also has a public tea room and there is a possibility of a boat trip on the river Tweed, weather and tide permitting, at a modest additional cost.
More details of the House, its grounds and the facilities are to be found at http://paxtonhouse.co.uk/
What we do need is a confirmation if you are attending, as we need to give numbers to Paxton House and it will, depending on how many are going, affect the number of guides they need to bring in. Please therefore reply to email@example.com or call our Secretary on 01665-576716 before Friday 13th May 2016, indicating the number of places you are requesting and how you intend to travel. If you are seeking a lift, please give appropriate details and likewise, if you are travelling by car and have some spare seats, please let us know; we will then match people up by area and numbers. If you are travelling to Berwick by train, please research and let us know your arrival and departure times, so that we can arrange a local shuttle by other Society members. In either case, mobile phone numbers will be an advantage for communication on the day. Please note however that your e-mail, if in the affirmative, will anyway be taken as confirmation of a tour ticket booking, for which you will still be charged in the event of a no-show, as we need to pre-book with Paxton House for a private group of our size.