LATEST NEWS – A £1 million award to the Lit & Phil from The Barbour Foundation.

This one of the biggest sums ever awarded to a single organisation by The Barbour Foundation, the charity set up in 1988 by Dame Margaret Barbour. Barbour, which has retail outlets in more than 50 countries, is based in South Shields where it was established 130 years ago. This magnificent donation is a major endorsement of the Lit & Phil and gives a flying start to our capital appeal aimed at securing our future.

Mary Durkin, Chair of the Lit & Phil, after receiving the cheque from company chairman Dame Margaret Barbour DBE, said:

“We are very, very grateful. For nearly 200 years we have been at home on Westgate Road, but also at the heart of cultural life on Tyneside, a place of enlightenment valued by people from all walks of life. Our intention is that the Lit & Phil should continue in that role for many more years and that more people should benefit from its collections and extensive programme of events.”

Broadcaster Alexander Armstrong, Lit & Phil President, said: “The Lit & Phil is a very special place. How fitting that it should be supported so handsomely by a Tyneside company whose products are known around the world. This is a marvellous boost to the campaign to make the Lit & Phil secure for decades to come.”

Dame Margaret Barbour said: “I am delighted to support the Lit & Phil Appeal to help secure the future of this historic and much-loved library in the heart of Newcastle. The Barbour Foundation was set up to support charitable causes and cultural and community projects, primarily in the North East, and there is no more deserving cause than the Lit & Phil. With a history and heritage of over 200 years, it’s of huge cultural significance to the region. The Barbour Foundation’s donation will go towards structural improvements and creating better accessibility, ensuring all can enjoy it.”

We will keep you updated as our fundraising efforts continue.


A literary hideout in the heart of Newcastle. 
The largest independent library outside London.

Lose yourself in a truly beautiful place….Browse over 200,000 books and CDs, take in a concert or talk, or just relax with a coffee and soak up the 200 years of history…more

Opening Hours
Mon, Wed & Thur  9.30am – 7.00pm
Tues 9.30am – 8.00pm
Fri 9.30am – 5.00pm
Sat 9.30am – 1.00pm

23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Why not become a member?

The Lit & Phil is free and open to all, but if you would like to support us by becoming a Member, you will be able to:

Borrow from over 200,000 books and CDs, pay no fines for overdue books or CDs, enjoy very generous loan periods, have access to Members’ only events and priority booking, use the Committee Room and Reference Room, take advantage of free WiFi, and receive newsletters and other communications throughout the year.

We offer a variety of Membership packages, starting from £12 per year.  You can also spread the cost of your annual membership over 10 months by Direct Debit. For example, you can enjoy all the benefits of being an Ordinary Member for £16 per month for 10 months.

​To buy or find out more click here
Alternatively you can call us on: 0191 232 0192, or email us and we’ll call you back.

What’s on

Comedy, concerts, jazz, talks & readings, classes & workshops, storytelling, lectures, author events, poetry & theatre…

Visit us

We are now fully open, there’s no entry fee and we are open six days a week, often until late (check our opening times).

We’ve 200,000 books and 20,000 CDs & LPs. Come & take a look at our beautiful building!

The Catalogue

Have we got that book you’ve been searching for? Almost certainly.
From 18th century volumes to the current top bestsellers & so much more…

Our illustrious past

Our beautiful neoclassical building is a short walk from Newcastle Central Station. Since 1825, it’s hosted lots of very important folk doing very exciting scientific things…