Utopia HQ

A couple of weekends ago I took an afternoon trip to the lovely Wallington, Northumberland, a grand National Trust Palladian mansion with an interesting – and political – history. As the rest of the UK was gearing up for the General Election, Wallington turned the clocks back to the 1929 election, when the house’s owner at the time, Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, stood as the Newcastle Central Labour candidate for the second time. Through a series of installations and displays throughout the house and gardens, “VOTE” told the story of Charles’ political career and socialist aspirations. As I wondered around the house, I stumbled across a room entitled “Utopia HQ”, where Sir Charles’ former estate office had been transformed by the awesome November Club into his 1929 campaign HQ.

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Alongside the old wooden voting booths was a large green noticeboard, and underneath it, a scattered pile of blank, red-bordered cards marked “Utopia HQ” asked visitors to Wallington “What is your vision for the future”? The answers, randomly pinned up and scattered on the table, made me laugh, feel uplifted and occasionally think “huh”? I’d love to know which is your fave – mine is definitely the one about the “ponny”! Also, can you guess which one I wrote? 🙂

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