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Section of a painting celebrating the Great Ball at the mansion house in 1832

An opium dream ...

Alexander Armstrong’s recent e-mail to the membership of the Lit and Phil closed by suggesting an enormous party be held after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an excellent idea and what is more there is a precedent for such an event in Newcastle. If you have visited the Mansion House in Jesmond you will have noticed, on the wall of the dining room, a painting of a fabulous party. 

Alexander Armstrong at the Lit & Phil

A message from our President Alexander Armstrong

Alexander Armstrong was born in Rothbury, Northumberland and has family links to the Lit & Phil going back to Lord Armstrong, our sixth President in 1860 and Robert Spence Watson our President in 1901. In 2011 Alexander became our current President so we were delighted to receive an encouraging message from him.


Beelzebub has a devil put aside...

"I liked the idea of a witch just being someone who's taken up the  concept rather as one might decide to learn a new language or paint water-colours or grow geraniums - an involving occupation outside of working hours that adds a fresh dimension to your life."

A previously unpublished short story by Gail-Nina Anderson


Interaction in Jazz

Goethe once wrote that listening to a string quartet was like listening to ‘four intelligent people conversing among themselves’. I wonder what Goethe would make of a jazz quartet in full flow? 

The Lit & Phil... and Ghandi

On the 18th April 2009 Newcastle celebrated the life of Charles Freer Andrews, who was born at 14 Brunel Street, Elswick. He is very well-known in India, and schools, colleges, and villages have been ...

Quarantine, teeth and the BBC

Like the Lit & Phil itself, newspapers have long played an important part in the life of Newcastle and its environs. Among them was the Newcastle Courant which was published from Aug. 1711 and cea ...

Madonna, Maria Callas and The Lit & Phil

And the connection is - John Henry Pepper (1821 – 1900) a well-known speaker in the nineteenth century who toured the country giving scientific lectures and demonstrations. He is best remembered for p ...

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