Tyne and Wear
Mining, Intellectual life
The most significant technological advances in British mining engineering took place in the Great North Coalfield. The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers was the place of learning for the finest engineers of the day. The knowledge and understanding of the miners, colliery owners and engineers in the North East of England in the 18thand 19thcenturies was unsurpassed.
The building, Neville Hall, commemorates Newcastle’s former pre-eminence in coal mining and the coal trade and holds arguably the largest mining library in the world – a repository of these centuries of wisdom, innovation and achievement.
Built, to the design of Archibald Dunn in 1869-1872, the timber-pewed lecture theatre, where visitors sit surrounded by imposing portraits of past presidents, was added by Cackett and Burns Dick in 1902. The jewel in the crown is the splendid Wood Memorial Hall, one of the finest internal spaces in the city, which forms the first floor of the building. This unsurpassed library, lit through stained glass windows at each end, commemorates Nicholas Wood of Hetton, first President of the Institute.