August 20, 2020 @ 10:26 by Richard Dawson
The redevelopment of an historic Newcastle building has taken a step towards completion thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players.
Grade II listed Neville Hall, which was built between 1869 and 1872 to provide a headquarters for The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, is due to reopen in spring 2021 as The Common Room, a new hub for innovation and engineering in the North East.
The Common Room will support future generations of engineers and has recently received an additional grant of £170,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund Emergency Grant Scheme.
Liz Mayes, chief executive of The Common Room, said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players, we can continue with the restoration and also with our programme of learning activities which has already engaged almost 2000 children and young people. COVID-related delays to our building programme have been able to be mitigated by this support.
“We’re delighted to have secured this vote of confidence in our project, much of which will feed directly to our supply chain of small businesses for the common good.
“When we reopen next year, The Common Room will become a place for the next generation of engineers to learn about the heritage of mining and engineering, and to be inspired about the future.”
The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers was founded in 1852 to address safety issues in mines and to promote research and learning in the fields of mining and engineering.
New artist’s impressions reveal how the historic spaces within the building – including its Victorian Library, Edwardian Lecture Theatre and Arbitration Room, where mine owners and workers would meet to settle disputes over working conditions – will be restored, ready for use as events spaces for educational workshops, meetings and weddings.
To support the final stages of the redevelopment and sustainability of the project, The Common Room is launching a package of partnership opportunities aimed at attracting North East businesses through sponsorship, room naming, room hire and input to the public lecture series.
Liz added: “The support of businesses across the North East means that we will be able to work with more schools, colleges and universities to encourage young people to pursue their ambitions of a career in the STEM sector, given the challenges facing young people in the current climate we will provide innovative ways of inspiring their future careers choices.’’