I was in Newcastle yeasterday at Neville Hall, home of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The restoration of the building ( c.1876) is now almost complete. However the place has to earn its keep and the building is now known as the Common Room and will be run as a conference and wedding venue. it’s ideally situated for both being only two minutes walk from a mainline railway station and a couple of large hotels.

Work continues to digitise the Institute’s’ archives. Editions of the ‘Colliery Guardian‘ published in the 19th century will be worth a look. The Guardian was a wonderful repository of the weird and wonderful at home and abroad, not just a trade paper for the coal and iron industries. if you read some of the court reports, for example, you’ll appreciate that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s plots weren’t so far fetched!

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