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Lit & Phil

Tyne and Wear

Society , Intellectual life

The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne was formed in 1793 as a conversation club and grew to seed many of the institutions across the North East and beyond. The foundation stone of the current building was laid by the Duke of Sussex with the building being completed in 1825.

The society has been a vehicle for enlightenment since its creation with many notable members, a wide variety of lectures and numerous ground-breaking demonstrations of new technology such as George Stephenson’s miners’ safety lamp in 1815. The original lamp is still on public display in the library.

The Society’s lecture theatre, now known as the Loftus room, was the first public room to be lit entirely by electric lights, during a lecture by Sir Joseph Swan on 20 October 1880.

Today it continues this tradition of sharing ideas. It is the largest independent library outside London and runs a programme of events including concerts, lectures and workshops.

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