Disabled Access


We aim to cater for the needs of our members, visitors, guests and staff to the Lit & Phil to the best of our ability. The following is a summary of our how we do this. If you have any specific questions please do contact us.


The Lit & Phil Library and its rooms are within 300 metres and to the east (two minutes walk) of Newcastle Central rail station, the Tyne and Wear Metro Central station and many local bus routes: these are all on Neville Street.

Taxis are plentiful from Newcastle Central Station area.

The Lit & Phil has no private car parking facilities.

There are 1hr coin operated parking meters on both sides of Westgate Road to the east of our building. The road is one way, heading west.

There is a pelican crossing immediately outside our premises: vehicles dropping off visitors could stop just outside the zone, should space be available.

We are constrained in the adaptations that can be made for people with some disabilities because our Premises are Grade II* listed as a building of special architectural interest dating from 1825. We do have an external lift for wheelchairs/disability scooters.

You can contact us by telephone, letter or email, details are at the bottom of this page.


The Society’s premises are at 23 Westgate Road, at this point the road is effectively an extension of Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The entrance to the Library is up five steps, each 17.5cm (7’’) high, with a double handrail placed almost centrally.

There is a wheelchair lift at the right hand (West) end of the steps. If it is necessary to summon the lift to ground level, the operation buttons are set in the stonework to the left of the lift. The ‘down’ button needs to be pressed continually until the lift stops at ground level.

Instructions for operating the lift are displayed on the glass during opening hours.

Main Entrance

The front doors are 122cm (4′) wide and are open during opening hours, with level access from the top step.

Internally there are two quite heavy semi-glazed lobby doors each 60cm (2’) wide which open outwards automatically when motion is sensed.

You are now in the main entrance (which is an area of the Library where mobile phones may be used for conversation).

Access to the Lecture Room, which includes toilets, and the Loftus Room are directly ahead of you and level but through sets of non-automatic doors, the narrowest being of oak each door 60cm (2′) wide, one is usually fixed. Toilet doors are 73cm (28”) wide.

Physical Library Access

Library access is up two flights of our main staircase: there are 12 steps 16 cm high (6½”) on the first flight and 13 on the second, hand rails are present. There is a 15cm (6”) step on the half landing.

A stair lift is installed and can be summoned, if necessary, by pressing the bell marked Friedland. We do not have a lift.

Entrance to the Library is by two doors 65cm (2′ 2”) wide, these pull outwards. Behind these is the security loop which is 100cm (40”) wide. Library access is to the left or right and is 96 cm (3′ 3”) wide. The main library desk / reception is directly in front of you.

Currently we do not have a loop system for those with a hearing impairment.

The Library does have some large print books and magnifying glasses.

The main library floor is level. There is a gallery for members only, or visitors to certain events and the music collection. It is accessed by steps or spiral staircase.

The printed music collection, housed in the Committee Room, is accessed from the gallery and is up a further five 20 cm (8”)  steps.

Ladies’ toilets are accessed through the Ladies’ Room on the right towards the rear of the Library. The outer door is 75cm (30”) wide, internal doors to the toilet cubicles are narrower.

Currently we do not have toilet facilities which are accessible to those with some disabilities, although assistance bars have been fitted in the Ladies’ toilet to the right.

Gentlemen’s toilets are on the ground floor and are accessed by steps down, at the rear of the Library. The toilets are immediately on your right, adjacent to our Silence Room. Entry doors are 99cm (3′ 3”) wide, cubicle doors are narrower.

On the Library floor simple refreshments are available from the Coffee Hatch between 10.00am and 2.00pm. A coin operated coffee machine is available for use during all opening hours, and is situated on the marble surface to the right of the rear doors at the back of the library.

Additional Information

Assistance dogs are welcome.

Two computers are equipped for internet access, staff will be happy to advise with this.

Out of hours, an electronic bell is sometimes hung on the front outer door,  to enable staff to open doors to allow visitor access.