Work is underway to transform and preserve one of Newcastle’s most significant historical buildings.
Grade II* listed Neville Hall on Westgate Road, known to most as The Mining Institute, is undergoing a two-year programme of works to preserve the building and create a new hub for innovation and engineering in Newcastle city centre.
Liz Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room, which is leading the transformation, explained: “Neville Hall is currently closed to the public as we work to preserve its historical features and upgrade the building.
“When the building reopens as The Common Room in late 2020, it will not only celebrate our region’s engineering heritage but it will also be a centre for education and training and will provide a spectacular space for events, conferences and weddings.”
Neville Hall was built between 1869 and 1872 to provide a headquarters for The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, which holds the largest publicly accessible collection of mining information in the world. The collection is now managed by The Common Room for the benefit of users across the globe.
The Institute itself was founded in 1852 to address safety issues in mines and to promote research and learning in the fields of mining and engineering.
Spaces within the building include its Victorian Library, the Edwardian Lecture Theatre and the Arbitration Room, where mine owners and workers would meet to settle disputes over working conditions.
Since the building closed to the public in November 2018, the collections of The Mining Institute have been moved into secure storage, work has begun on restoring the building’s features, and preparations are underway for improving access to the venue.
Liz Mayes added: “Neville Hall holds such an important place in Newcastle’s history. Some of the most famous names in industrial history have walked the corridors and it’s been the place where changes to mining industry safety standards were agreed which undoubtedly saved many hundreds of lives.
“It’s vital that we now conserve the building for generations to come and that we make use of it as a place to inspire our young engineers and celebrate the world-class engineering and innovation that still takes place in the North East today.”
In November 2016 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 National Lottery Heritage Fund to revitalise the Grade II listed Mining Institute, transforming it into The Common Room.
The Common Room is now seeking to raise £1m in match funding to support the capital project and is inviting businesses and individuals to get in touch to discuss exclusive partnership and giving opportunities.