The History Group’s visit to the Newcastle Mining Institute was hampered by a train delay at Sunderland Station. Rumour has it that the delay was not caused by “leaves on the track” but was actually caused by “too much sunshine at Brockley Whins”. Apparently National Rail policy is to not issue sunglasses after October 31st and the unusual bright weather caught the driver out. Following discussions at the highest level, the fat controller was despatched to the nearest Boots (he should have gone to Supersavers it’s nearer!) and the train was able to proceed on its journey.
Despite the delay the visit to the Mining Institute was a real success.
The Mining Institute is an organisation dedicated to the professions of mining engineering, mechanical engineering, mining electrical engineering and related professions. It is the world’s oldest professional mining organisation and was dedicated to training engineers to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding coal mining industry at home in the UK and abroad.
The Mining Institute owns one of the finest buildings in Newcastle, Neville Hall, a Victorian building built at the time when high-Gothic architecture was coming into fashion. The outside of the building is known to hundreds of thousands of people, and is next to the Central Station, but few people realise what is inside. Neville Hall houses the memorial to the Institute’s first President, Nicholas Wood, an outstanding Victorian Library resplendent filled with superb stonework, redolent with exquisite carved stone, wood and paintings with a beautifully decorated ceiling, a vast glass roof and filled with furniture designed for the library in 1872. Below the Library is the Edwardian Lecture Theatre, modeled on the Royal Institution in London and constructed in deep red Cuban Mahogany.
Photographs from the visit can be found here: Photographs
Further details about the Mining Institute can be found here: Mining Institute