An exhibition celebrating world-changing engineering feats from the North East is opening at Tanfield Railway in Gateshead.
Graft and Glory tells the story of how innovators and engineers from the North East have been at the forefront of the engineering industry, from the development of the first passenger railway in the 1800s, through to today’s renewable energy projects.
Liz Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room, which is behind the exhibition, said: “Tanfield is the world’s oldest railway so it’s the ideal place for this exhibition to be on show, telling visitors all about the men and women who put the North East on the global map.
“As well as celebrating achievements of the past, the exhibition looks to the future, with a spotlight on some of the cutting-edge industries and businesses we have operating here today.
Graft and Glory also celebrates some of the female engineers who have often been overlooked by history including Dorothy Buchanan, the civil engineer who was the first female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and who was part of the design team which worked on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Tyne Bridge.
The exhibition is part of a programme of events organised by The Common Room which has taken over the assets of the Mining Institute in Newcastle. The Common Room is leading a £7.1 million transformation of Neville Hall, creating a building which will celebrate the region’s engineering heritage and which will provide a range of public spaces for events, workshops, lectures and training.
“It’s vital that we continue to inspire the next generation of engineers and help young people feel that they too could go on to be a part of an industry which is known worldwide,” added Liz Mayes.
“There is so much to be proud of here in the North East and, when it opens in 2020, The Common Room will provide a place where we can continue to mark achievements and develop our present-day engineering sector.”
Graft and Glory is on show at Tanfield Railway until 1 September 2019. It will then tour to Redhills Durham Miners’ Association in Durham and Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland and beyond.
In November 2017 The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded £600,000 to The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers to undertake an extensive development phase. In July 2018, The Common Room of the Great North was awarded £4.1m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to revitalise the Grade II listed Mining Institute, transforming it into The Common Room.