The Lit & Phil has had many remarkable members in its 200 year history. Some are well known, such as Stephenson and Swan; in a new blog Chris Jackson of Heaton History Group has written about Charles Hutton who deserves to be much better known. Born in Newcastle, briefly a miner then a teacher, he became a hugely important mathematician and surveyor.
Welcome to the Lit & Phil's Blog
Despite the current difficulties we really want to keep engaged with both our members and visitors. Our hope is to inform, entertain and possibly amuse you, offering at least some distraction from the current crisis. Don't forget to check our social media channels, too. We will do everything we possibly can to keep in touch.
Please note that all the contributions here are the views and opinions of the contributors!
If you have any views or comments about the postings or would like to offer a blog entry of your own, then please contact us at our usual email address or through the contact form which you can instantly jump to by clicking on this highlighted text.
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Katy's Coffee House
Coffee houses were hugely important meeting places in the 18th century, including here in Newcastle. One such was Katy's on Newcastle's Quayside. Lit&Phil volunteer Susan Lynn tells its fascinating story.
Account of some Experiments on the Root of Crocus Vernus
In its early days, the Lit&Phil held monthly meetings at which members delivered papers. Hand written transcripts of many of those papers are held in four large volumes at the library. The topics were very wide ranging from "common manure" to "iron in Sweden" to "hats". Many are too long to publish here, but over the coming months there will be a small selection, starting with making flour from crocus bulbs!
Baudelaire, Dante and Keats
2021 is an anniversary year for Dante, Keats and Baudelaire. Perhaps, therefore, 2021 is a good year to find connections, and it’s always good to connect everything to the North East, and in particular our Pre-Raphaelite heritage.
Reading on string
The Braille alphabet is probably the most common and best know of many alphabets that have been created to enable the blind to read by touch. In one of the hundreds of volumes of Tracts (random printed papers) at the Lit & Phil there is an account of a string alphabet - and a puzzle to go with it!
Lord Armstrong : his science and his legacy
Baron Armstrong was a 19th century English engineer and industrialist and a prominent inventor, scientist and philanthropist and president of the Lit & Phil for forty years. He founded the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing concern on Tyneside employing many thousands.
Brown is the new white
A light in our darkness or a candle in the wind?
Alan Beale examines the Latin origins of whiteness.
Irtyru – Newcastle’s second mummy
The Lit & Phil was the host to two Egyptian mummies. The second, Irtyru was extensively and rather gruesomely examined by three doctors in the prescence of members of the Lit & Phil. Anthea Lang tells the story of its unwrapping.
University as a Mature Student
It may be a truism to say that you're never too old to learn but many mature students would heartily agree. Linda Coulby's inspiring example shows how education at a later stage in life can be transformative. Despite the government's apparently increasing discouragement to older students, it is still possible and as Linda tells, very worthwhile.
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