Politics of the past bring election fever to Wallington

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Election fever is gripping Wallington — but the campaign trail leads firmly to the past.

The National Trust estate near Cambo will be taking visitors back in time to the 1929 General Election when Wallington owner Sir Charles Phillips Trevelyan stood as Labour candidate for Newcastle Central.

The politician had previously served 19 years as Liberal MP for Elland in Yorkshire, holding the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education.

He had a passion for democracy, women’s suffrage, pacifism and socialism, which led him to give his estate to the trust in 1941 to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Wallington Visitor Experience Manager Gillian Mason said: “As it’s General Election year, we’re taking the opportunity to tell the story of an incredible man, Sir Charles Phillips Trevelyan, at Wallington, which is his former home.

“This spring we’ll be telling the story of the 1929 election, which was known as the Flapper Election as it was the first time women over the age of 21 were allowed to vote.

Utopia installation at Wallington based on political career of Charles Trevelyan.'Visitor experience manager Gillian Mason and Becky West, administrator of November Club, in Utopia HQ.

Utopia installation at Wallington based on political career of Charles Trevelyan.'Visitor experience manager Gillian Mason and Becky West, administrator of November Club, in Utopia HQ.

“We’ll be giving visitors an insight into both Sir Charles’ campaign and his opponents. We hope it will give people a chance to escape the present day election hype and spin and give a fascinating insight into history.”

Visitors will be greeted with election posters and memorabilia from the time, highlighting the campaign aims of Sir Charles and his Conservative rival Viscount Adare.

There will be information about Sir Charles’ political life and archive materials on show, including letters from lobbying groups such as the Cyclists and Ramblers Associations, telegrams and written references to the Suffrage cause.

The experience culminates with a visit to Sir Charles’ former estate office, which award-winning arts company the November Club has transformed into Utopia HQ, the headquarters of the campaign activity.

We hope it will give people a chance to escape the present day election hype and spin and give a fascinating insight into history.

Gillian Mason, Wallington Visitor Experience Manager

November Club Creative Producer and Director Cinzia Hardy said: “In Utopia HQ we’re using polling booths as ‘peep shows’ so that visitors can hear recorded quotes and transcripts of speeches, and read diary entries, all of which give a flavour of Charles Trevelyan and his lifelong vision.”

Visitors can also get a piece of election action in voting how they think Wallington should use its recently opened West Wing.

And they will be invited to envisage their ideal world and write it on a ballot card to add to the displays.

The Vote at Wallington experience runs until the end of October. For more information call 01670 773600.