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September 3, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

Public Talk: Exploring Environmental Safety in Underground Mining Throughout the Years


In this free public talk, Bill Tonks C.Eng FIMMM will explore the ways in which the UK showed the world how to mine...

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Full description

In this free public talk, Bill Tonks C.Eng FIMMM will explore the ways in which the UK showed the world how to mine coal industrially, then how to mine coal safely. Finally, Bill will briefly discuss whether coal has any role in our future.

In his talk, Bill will also uncover methods of observing, analysing and improving underground environments even further, by looking at how we can reduce long-term harmful particulates, toxins, and radon – a radioactive gas.

This talk will be hosted on the 170th anniversary of The Mining Institute’s first president, Nicholas Wood’s inaugural address to members. Wood’s speech spoke specifically to ventilation, alongside other methods in which the Institute would serve to protect and advise those working in the mining industry, as well as providing one of the Institute’s most pertinent quotes: “There is no finality in science.” Wood’s speech will receive a moment of recognition on the evening.

About Bill Tonks

Bill Tonks C.Eng FIMMM is a Chartered engineer with over 40 years’ experience in underground ventilation systems in mines and civil tunnels, and is Director at Bill Tonks Ventilation Services Ltd.

Date and Timings

Saturday 3rd September 2022

Talk commences: 6:00pm

Event close: approx. 7:00pm

Guests may visit our onsite 5|Quarter cafe bar prior and following the talk. Please note, drinks may not be allowed in the Lecture Theatre during the talk.

Booking information

Each person attending must have their own ticket.

Tickets are free, but if you would like to make a small donation to support the charitable work of The Common Room, it would be hugely appreciated.

About our Game Changers anniversary festival

The Common Room is hosting a free anniversary festival throughout the summer, celebrating the North East’s mining and engineering past, present and future innovations. The festival, called ‘Game Changers’, is delivered in partnership with the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (known to many as the Mining Institute) and offers something for everyone, from live music, family science shows and workshops, to an exhibition and unique building tours.

The festival marks 170 years of the Mining Institute and 150 years of The Common Room building, which has been the home of the Institute and some of the region’s most pioneering minds – or ‘Game Changers’ – throughout the years, including engineers Robert Stephenson, Lord Armstrong and Nicholas Wood.

Our headline exhibition and festival’s namesake, ‘Game Changers’, will be open to the public between Saturday 16th July to mid-September on select dates – if you are joining us for an event this summer, the exhibition will be open that day. Book a general admission ticket to find out what other dates the exhibition is open this month. The exhibition will uncover the major individuals, inventions and innovations tied to the Institute throughout its now 170-year lifespan, and will also look to the future of innovation in the North East.

The Game Changers anniversary festival has been made possible thanks to National Lottery Players, via funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To find out more, click here.

Additional information

Location: Lecture Theatre, The Common Room, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE

Children must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.

Our building is fully accessible – if you have any queries about accessibility, please contact lucy.stockdale@thecommonroom.org.uk

The Common Room is taking a number of precautions to mitigate the risk to the public regarding COVID-19. Visitors will be encouraged to wear a face-covering (unless they have a medical exemption) and to practice social distancing. For further information on our COVID-19 protocol please visit https://thecommonroom.org.uk/about-the-common-room/



The Common Room
Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE United Kingdom
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