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Spotlight On: The Common Room

Join us in taking a peek inside one of Newcastle’s most stunning buildings… it’s a door and a building you’ve all passed many times, but how many of you have ever stepped inside? With their recent multi-million-pound transformation complete we thought it was time to step in and explore the gorgeous Common Room!



Originally built in 1872, Neville Hall on Westgate Road has been a hive of activity for 149 years now! The building was originally constructed by the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers as their headquarters, and upon completion, the Mining Institute set out to serve the community in two ways; To create a union of professionals in order to protect the mining population of the region, and to establish a literary institution that paid particular attention to the theory, art, and practice of mining!

Despite the closure of the region’s mining industry in the late twentieth century, Neville Hall has proudly remained open in order to celebrate the incredible hard work and history of the miners and everything they did for the region. This stunning building now possesses one of the largest collections of mining information in the world, containing more than twenty thousand volumes of geology, mechanical engineering, mining law and mineralogy!



In order to keep this simply stunning Victorian building open to the public, The Common Room was established in 2017 as a charitable organisation that set out to develop Neville Hall and deliver an exciting new programme of arts and culture. After securing the grand sum of £4.1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, construction got underway on this Grade II listed building in 2019 and culminated in a huge opening earlier this year.

So, what can you find if you venture inside? As well as delicate restorations to the ground floor lecture theatre, you’ll be wowed by the show-stopping lighting arrangement made of reconditioned miners’ lamps, as well as their beautiful new café. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but this significant building is also using the Toon's history to inspire the next generation using their unique heritage!



They currently have a fabulous exhibition in-situ in the wonderful Wood Hall (check out the stained-glass windows while you’re there, wow!), and they’re developing a packed schedule of education and engagement activities. As well as welcoming visitors, The Common Room also provide a range of public spaces for innovation, collaboration, events, lectures, weddings and more. And even that’s not all you’ll find when you cross the threshold! Their delightful café, 5|Quarter, is named after a Great Northern Coalfield, and it features a stylish interior coupled with a warm and enticing atmosphere. It's a stunning space that was once used as an office area, but now serves up innovative cocktails, artisan beers and locally sourced dishes for hungry visitors!

There you have it, a whistle-stop tour of a fabulous part of Newcastle’s landscape, and history, and you’ll wonder no more what’s Behind the Door when you pass! Now you have no excuse not to pop your head in and enjoy for yourself all the wonderful things going on inside this beautiful building. 

For more information and a full list of programmes taking place at The Common Room, visit www.thecommonroom.org.uk

Will you be visiting The Common Room? Get in touch via our social channels. Twitter: @NewcastleNE1, Instagram: @NewcastleNE1, Facebook: @GetIntoNewcastle.

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