Literary & Philosophical Society

New access facilities within listed buildings

Two of Newcastle’s finest historic buildings occupy a prominent site in a reawakening part of the City Centre. Neville Hall, Grade II * listed, houses the ‘North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers’. Its neighbour, connected to it by a small friendship bridge over a narrow alley way, is the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, built in 1825 and listed Grade II*. The two institutions offer a wealth of local knowledge in their historical libraries and archives, as well as hosting a programme of cultural activities.

In order to contribute fully to the cultural life of the region into the 21st Century then the two buildings are greatly in need of upgrading to current legislative standards, as level / DDA compliant access into and around any of the buildings is currently not possible. However, such is the quality of their historic fabric, the scope for physical intervention is severely restricted.

Initially working with both institutions, in pursuance of Heritage Lottery Funding, a detailed proposal was developed to insert a new common entrance and associated access facilities into a narrow alleyway between the two buildings. This proposal minimises intervention into the existing building fabric.

The design was developed in close consultation with the Local Authority Planning Department and Conservation Officer together with English Heritage.

Whilst the proposal was developed through to the point of detailed construction information, sadly this joint project between the two institutions was never realised.

Stephen was design and project architect for The Lit & Phil whilst working with Bill Hopper / Howe Sadler.