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A Wing and a Prayer

Sin and desire - and where they can lead. A salutary tale for our times.

Photo of Sir Joseph Swan

Joseph Swan

By any standards, Sir Joseph Swan was a remarkable man. Born in Sunderland his many inventions included the first electric light (which he demonstrated at the Lit & Phil) as well as fairy lights, photographic paper and artificial silk. Amanda Hepburn has written a fascinating account of his life and works.

'Saints, Crooks & Slavers' - how to be a house detective!

Peter and Sue Cullimore were so inspired by A House Through Time that they penned their own book.  After all, when you’re stuck at home because of Covid, you might as well get stuck into exploring its history!



Still from Metalization of a Dream

The Metalization of a Dream

A brand new one-off event by The Galvanize Ensemble with a new interpretation and video of a work premiered at The Lit & Phil in early 2019.


"A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν, pan, "all" and δῆμος, demos, "people" the 'crowd') is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people.." (Wikipedia)

Local poet Dermot Killingley reflects...

Lost, Found and Told

Listening instead of watching focuses attention on the words and that suits Fiona Ellis. The writer tells David Whetstone about a new series of audio tales highlighting the magic of Northumberland.

Abram Gannibal, bust in Petrovskoe.

Abram Petrovich Gannibal

Kidnapped as an infant and taken to Russia, Abram Petrovich Gannibal was Alexander Pushkin's great grandfather. Peter the Great was his godfather, but after Peter's death Gannibal was exiled to Siberia then pardoned because of his skills in military engineering, eventually becoming superintendent of Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia). His first wife was Greek then he bigamously married his second (who was descended from noble families in Scandinavia and Germany); he attained the rank of General-in-Chief, the second highest military rank in imperial Russia. And there's much much more.

Dr. Chris Howell tells the extraordinary story of "the most prominent Black intellectual of the continent in the early 1700s".

Mug of tea

A Nice Cup of Tea

Tea has been around since 2700BC and its popularity has spread around the globe becoming an important part of people’s daily lives. In 1946 George Orwell wrote an essay “A Nice Cup of Tea” laying down 11 steps to the perfect brew. The essay was a reaction to a lack of guidance on tea-brewing in cook books. “This is curious,” he wrote in London's Evening Standard, “not only because tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country.., but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.” His opinions began a debate that has caused acute controversy within the tea-etiquette world.

One can only speculate about the modern habit of making tea with a tea bag in a mug!


Book shelves (with books)

Are the books missing us?

Along the lines of Bishop Berkeley's "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is present to hear it, does is make a sound?", do the books of the Lit & Phil miss us when there are no visitors?

Journalist Dave Whetstone has been wondering too....

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