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Photo of Charles Baudelaire

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.  

Ball of twine

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!

Portrait of Lord Armstrong

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.

Head of Irtyru

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.

Photo of Linda Coulby's graduation.

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.

Wilson in the Sinai 1869

The Ordnance Surveys in Jerusalem and Sinai

The Lit & Phil has copies of many fascinating if perhaps rather obscure texts. Two such are the 1869 reports of two expeditions to survey Jerusalem and Sinai with the intention of providing clean water for the city. Many of the people behind the reports have strong North East connections.

Hellenes and Philhellenes

On March 25th, 2021, Greeks celebrate two hundred years since they became an independent country after the revolution against their Ottoman rulers. They had been under this rule for 400 years as a result of the fall of Constantinople. Greek author Lito Seizani, born in Athens, has written a short blog to celebrate the  anniversary.


Newcastle’s first Mummy, Bakt-en-Hor

Egyptian mummies have long had a strange fascination. None more so than the one brought from Thebes in Egypt to Newcastle in 1820 and given to the museum at the Lit & Phil in 1821 when 10,000 people came to see it. It's now in the Hancock Museum in Newcastle. This is the story of Bakt-en-Hor.

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