Hidden Newcastle: The Mining Institute

Next to Central Station in Newcastle is a building that I have walked past many times, Neville Hall. If you live in Newcastle you will recognise it. The building is home to The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers or The Mining Institute which is an organisation dedicated to the research and preservation of knowledge relating to mining and mechanical engineering. Mining is very much part of Newcastle’s industrial past and the work of the Mining Institute did much to improve safety in mines and prevent explosions from occurring The Mining Institute is near to the Lit and Phil, which played a part in its foundation. In 1852 the Lit and Phil proposed setting up an institute which would discuss preventing accidents in mines and ventilating them better, along with other things. Nicolas Wood became the first president. Nicolas Wood was a mining and locomotive engineer who worked along side George Stephenson. The building that houses the institute was built slightly later and is an amazing building. Inside you will find a Victorian Library which is full of artwork and sculptures as well as having an ornate glass roof and windows. Beneath the library is the Edwardian … Continue reading →

Game On at the Centre for Life

The Centre for Life is always a place I enjoy taking my son. The exhibitions change regularly and in the past we have experienced dinosaurs, visited the Maker Faire and enjoyed their regular exhibits. Recently I was lucky enough to win a family ticket to visit the Centre for Life from Raring 2 Go and this half term took my son and his friend. At the moment the Game On 2 exhibition is on which features the largest collection of playable computer games from the past 60 years. I was really looking forward to visiting and finding out more. These days children grow up with technology, most teenagers have a smart phone and can access the internet on the go. They are familiar with the world of on demand entertainment, movies can be downloaded to the television at the touch of a button and they spend many hours watching silly videos on you tube. It is normal to aspire to become a you tube star and they often make their own videos on the phone. Computers are common place in the home and video game consoles get more advanced all the time. Entering Game On was like winding back time … Continue reading →

A Visit to Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books

When I was little I used to love my mum reading stories to me. The Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things Are, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt were classics that I asked for again and again. As I learned to read myself I was always found with my nose in a book, escaping into a different world. I could have been climbing the Magic Faraway Tree, or sailing with the Swallow and Amazons. I became an avid reader and would often read a book with a torch at night, pretending I was asleep. I passed the love of reading on to my own son in the same way, sharing the same stories my mum used to read me. In this digital age I am pleased that he loves to pick up a book and read. We were lucky enough to win a golden ticket to visit Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s books from Benfield Motors, who were involved in the NE1 Motor Show. Recently we paid a visit. Seven Stories is located in Ouseburn Valley, near to Ouseburn Farm and within walking distance of Newcastle Quayside. The name Seven Stories is based on the premise that there … Continue reading →

The Autumn Menu at the Brewers Fayre

We try and eat out as a family at least once every couple of months. It is a nice treat not to have to cook and lovely to sit down as a family and have a chance to chat. Recently we tried the Brewers Fayre at Dunelm Ridge for Sunday lunch and really enjoyed visiting. When Brewers Fayre invited us to come along and try their new Autumn menu we were happy to. This time we opted to try a Brewers Fayre which was much closer to home, The Stonebrook in Holystone. We had never visited The Stonebrook before but found it easily; it is just off the main road situated next to a Premier Inn. There are plenty of parking spaces in the car park. We opted to visit on a Monday evening to take advantage of the Daytime Value offer. This runs from 12 – 6pm Monday to Friday and offers two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50. Another great touch is that the soft drinks are refillable which is great when you have a teenager. Overall the menu is great value and makes eating out as a family much more … Continue reading →

Hidden Newcastle: Holy Jesus Hospital

Hidden on the edge of Pilgrim Street roundabout in the centre of Newcastle, surrounded by roads, railway bridges and modern buildings you will find the Holy Jesus Hospital. This is a historical gem which has a mix of buildings dating back to the 14th Century. On the site over the years there has been an Augustinian Friary, a kings manor with a Tudor tower and finally the Holy Jesus Hospital. The Holy Jesus hospital was opened in 1682 to house the Freemen of Newcastle and also had a soup kitchen to dispense soup to the deserving poor. The Holy Jesus Hospital is one of only two 17th century brick buildings surviving in Newcastle. When you see how close it is to the main roads it is amazing that it has survived. Many years ago the Holy Jesus Hospital was the Joicey Museum and I remember visiting then. Now it is a working office, used by the National Trust and is open for tours occasionally. When I noticed it would be open on the recent Heritage Open Days I decided to go for a visit along with my son. It was a really fascinating tour which brought to life a lot … Continue reading →