Newcastle faces major heritage loss with historic building under threat

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The Common Room is facing uncertainty which could see its historic North East archive split up.

One of Newcastle’s most historic buildings is under threat, throwing over a century of preserved North East heritage into uncertainty

The Common Room is making an urgent call for financial support amid funding difficulties which sees the future of the North East heritage site hang in the balance. Originally known as the Mining Institute, the Westgate Road building was completed in 1872 and served as the headquarters of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. 

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The Common Room was completed in 1872 and served as the headquarters of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. 
The Common Room was completed in 1872 and served as the headquarters of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.
The Common Room was completed in 1872 and served as the headquarters of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. | Tracey Ainsley

In 2021, the institute experienced a £8.9m development- becoming The Common Room- after the building went through a significant decline alongside North East industry.

Lauren Dunbar, programme and engagement manager, said: “We really need people’s help to continue doing the work we’re doing. It’s a case of every penny helps. 

“It’s a really grand, beautiful space and we want to be able to keep delivering; we want to keep the archive together; we want to keep this beautiful building for Newcastle and for the North East region.”

Alongside the stunning Wood Hall, The Common Room holds one of the largest public collections on mining engineering in the world. It even possesses one of the only copies of the Eiffel Tower’s plans.

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The beloved building has been the site of innovation and history, but its closure would see it’s impressive collection split up.

 

“It’s really important to recognise the North East in that sphere because we may be set apart a bit, but The Great Northern Coalfield and the engineering works that went on here- from shipbuilding to the coal works to all the different kinds of mining that were across the North of England- were really important in helping the rest of the country develop during that time,” continued Lauren.

“And we’re very aware of the impacts that coal mining has had on the environment and we really want to be showcasing that within our work to say that we are forward facing, we recognise the impact it has had and we want to use that history and heritage to re-inspire the next generation to keep going towards that green energy movement.”

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The Common Room is urging the public to donate to their campaign, or even think of them when it comes to your next event- whether it be a conference, gig or wedding.

You can donate to The Common Room’s campaign here.

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