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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.

Meanwhile, as a fully independent library, the Lit & Phil relies for its survival on its members and their subscriptions and from generating its own income, particularly from events and bequests. Of course at the moment there are no events, so if you would like to support the Lit & Phil then you can use your mobile to make a contribution: 

Text Giving is easy... 
On your mobile text either:
LITANDPHILFIVE to 70450 to donate £5 or
LITANDPHILTEN to 70470 to donate £10 
Texts cost the donated amount plus one standard rate message.

A Gosforth footpath

Over lockdown, with walking one of the few allowable reasons to leave the house, many people discovered more about their local area. One such was Lit & Phil member Paul Gailiunas who writes of his discoveries in Gosforth in our 100th blog posting!

16th century map of Newcastle

Bird's Eye View

The fascinating story of Newcastle's earliest map.

Photo of William Kennett Loftus (1820 – 1858)

Well that's a relief!

As a Lit and Phil guide I always tell the story that in the late 1960s the Lit and Phil sold some Assyrian slabs, which had been bequeathed to it by William Kennett Loftus many years before, to the Los Angeles Museum for £40,000, which provided the funds for the conversion of the lecture theatre into 4 rooms. Although I knew it was a museum in Los Angeles, I didn’t know which one – until recently when by chance I stumbled across the museum in which they are housed.



Photo of a wombat

The Lit and Phil and The Wombat

An extraordinary tale of a wombat pickled in a leaking cask of spirits coming from Australia to The Lit and Phil. It was the first ever seen in the UK, but it got put in a drawer and forgotten about for thirty years until it was stuffed then an engraving made by Thomas Bewick.

Lit & Phil talks

Talk, talk, talk...

Necessity drives invention and so it has been with the Lit and Phil's popular series of talks on YouTube.

Album cover

Breathe in me

Kate Halsall is a regular visitor to the Lit & Phil giving both solo piano concerts and often in collaboration with others. She has just released a new album recorded in the Lit & Phil.

Photo of open book and tea

New books July 2021

Every month, the Lit & Phil buys new books - we're a library after all! Here are just four that have come in recently

Painting of The Bellerophon ship

The Rotherams

Newcastle has a long history of families whose members have contributed enormously to the world of learning and discovery. The Rotherams are a fine such example.

The Rosetta Stone

Hieroglyphs from the North

The term 'Rosetta Stone' is now used to refer to the essential clue to a new field of knowledge. Read about its connection to the Newcastle mummy, Bakt-en-Hor, and how its inscriptions were amongst the earliest hieroglyphic texts to be read by French scholar and Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion.

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