The Common Room , Newcastle

This is an advertisement for August 2021. Any edits / shares beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. Information correct as of August 2021. Always check details with venue direct before making plans for the most up to date information as the information in this post may change over time. 

The Common Room , Newcastle
 

About The Common Room


The Common Room is a unique heritage venue in the heart of Newcastle Upon Tyne with a big focus on STEM learning, innovation and engineering (past and present). 

The Common Room is a charity which will lead the redevelopment of the Mining Institute with the support of a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant. Redevelopment work is already well underway and the building is now open for the public to visit. 

The Opening Festival will run from July - December 2021 and include a wide range of FREE activities, workshops, performances and events which will celebrate the North East's Industrial Past, Present & Future.

The events are all free to attend but you do need to pre-book a place. New events are regularly added to the festival programme so do take a look at what's on here and sign up to The Common Room's newsletter to keep up to date with new activities (scroll to the bottom of the homepage and enter your email address when prompted). 

The whole building is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. There is step free access to the side of the building (with a mini lift) and lifts inside of the building too. All rooms are accessible - please ask at reception if you can't find the way. 

As well as the opening festival and events, The Common Room can be hired for private events and conferences, gigs, cultural events, parties and weddings. There is space for up to 325 guests across a variety of rooms. I will share more information on this at the bottom of this post. 


The Common Room Location 


The Common Room is super easy to find and very easy to reach via public transport. It is just a couple of doors up from Newcastle Central Station which is easy to access by train, Metro or bus. Remember, up to three kids aged 11 and under travel free with a fare paying adult on Metro trains now. 

If you leave Central Station with your back to the station, turn right and walk along the path for 30 seconds, pass Jalou and you will see The Common Room entrance (photo below). 

Address: Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne. NE1 1SE. 

If you are driving, the best place to park is probably Times Square or Dean Street. 

A trip to The Common Room is easy to combine with the Discovery Museum which is a short walk away and also free to visit. You could also combine with a 'Toon Tour' which is an open top bus tour of the city starting at Newcastle Central Station. Oh and Newcastle Castle is a short walk away.

All four of these options will give you a fantastic insight into the history of our lovely city and are fun yet educational too (my favourite kind of day out). 



The Common Room , Newcastle Location



What's On at The Common Room 

Graft & Glory 

This exhibition is free to visit from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm and available throughout the opening festival until 31 August. If you are attending an event at The Common Room, you can just pop up to see the exhibition. Otherwise, please book a free general admission ticket here. If you don't manage to pre-book, you can just pop in during opening hours but you will need to provide your details at reception for Track & Trace purposes (or check in with the app). 

Find Graft & Glory in the Wood Memorial Hall on the first floor (lifts available). 


This exhibition shares the history of coal and mining in our region, why it was important but also how dangerous extracting coal was. The exhibition focuses on the North East's engineers and inventors during this time and how they campaigned to make mining safer across the region (and the rest of the UK). 

Could you be an engineering superhero of the future? 



The Polymorphic Carbon Library 


This exhibition is free to visit from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm and available throughout the opening festival until 18th December. If you are attending an event at The Common Room, you can just pop up to see the exhibition. Otherwise, please book a free general admission ticket here.   If you don't manage to pre-book, you can just pop in during opening hours but you will need to provide your details at reception for Track & Trace purposes (or check in with the app). 

Find this exhibition up on the first floor (lifts are available) in the most beautiful room (the Wood Memorial Hall). It is inclusive and suitable for all ages and abilities so please don't let the long title put you off. 

The interactive space allows visitors to get hands on and try some experiments around the theme of carbon and climate change including measuring how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, watching how it has changed across the region over the years and creating your own carbon piece of origami with a message about climate change to take home. 

 There are staff in this room to assist you and they are really passionate about carbon and will share the various experiments with you in a non-condescending manner while encouraging kids to think too. 

Visiting this exhibition felt like something different to what is usually on offer in museums / galleries and it was really interesting. It felt like a real set of experiments (probably because it is) rather than something designed for kids to play with in a museum.  I would recommend, especially if you have inquisitive kids who like to ask lots of questions (it is good to have an expert on hand to answer too). 

The Common Room , Newcastle Carbon Library



Fun Performance Lectures & Workshops

These events take place during school holidays and are FREE to attend (but you do need a ticket). There may still be some free tickets for The Greatest Show Un-earthed workshops on 30 & 31 August available if you are lucky. You can check here. 

There are plans for FREE workshops and lectures around the themes of dinosaurs and volcanoes for October Half Term so do keep your eyes peeled for announcements. 

We attended a performance lecture with The Rock Showman around the subject of fossils. First of all, how beautiful is the Edwardian Lecture Theatre? Such a nice space and a bit of a hidden gem in Newcastle I think.

The performance lecture feels very similar to the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures and it brought the subject of fossils to life with magic, light shows, storytelling, hidden treasures and music. The audience were super engaged and there were gasps at various times across the show. I would recommend these performance lectures and workshops to families with children in Primary School but everyone is welcome. 

We had a brilliant time during our 40 minute lecture and I cannot believe it was all free. 


The Common Room , Newcastle Rock Showman


Neville Hall LEGO® Brick by Brick Model 

This exhibition is free to visit from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm and available throughout the opening festival until 18th December. If you are attending an event at The Common Room, you can just pop up to see the exhibition. Otherwise, please book a free general admission ticket here.   If you don't manage to pre-book, you can just pop in during opening hours but you will need to provide your details at reception for Track & Trace purposes (or check in with the app). 

This scale model of the Neville Building has been built by Steve Mayes and features over 30,000 bricks. A must-see for LEGO® fans. 

The Common Room , Newcastle  LEGO model


Industry Takeover Days 


Just a quick note to say that FREE industry takeover days are taking place at The Common Room from 26-28 August 2021. Find out more and book your free ticket here. 

These takeover days will feature lots of hands on activities including Build Your Own LEGO® Metro, Storytelling, Virtual Reality, Town Planning activities with Nexus, Dressing Up, Games, Skill Tests and more. Check out photos over on The Common Room Facebook page, it looks great.  

Minerals & Ore Display 

This exhibition is coming soon and free to visit from Monday-Saturday between 10am-4pm and available throughout the opening festival until 18th December. 

The exhibition shares some of the fantastic minerals and ore which make up the 'Wealth of the North' The collection is pretty large and visitors can get up close to some unique and wonderful gems whilst learning about their history.  




5 Quarter Cafe & Bar 

You will find 5 Quarter on the ground floor just by reception. It is free to visit at any time during opening hours and an outdoor terrace is coming soon. The interior is stylish and reflects the heritage of the building. We loved looking at the maps hidden in the table tops. 



You can pop in for drinks or a bite to eat after visiting the exhibitions or an event at The Common Room or it is an ideal location to stop before catching a train. 

The Common Room , Newcastle  Cafe Bar


Sandwiches, snacks, children's meals and drinks are available in August with a wider variety of dishes being launched in September with a focus on local sourcing. Food is served from 12noon-6pm.



The kids menu is really good value with dishes available for less than £5. I loved this space and can certainly see myself popping in for a glass of wine in the future. 

The Common Room , Newcastle Children's Menu

Collections at The Common Room 

The Common Room holds one of the largest and most comprehensive collections on mining engineering in the world including over 35,000 printed books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, plans and more. A full digitised searchable database is coming soon. Watch this space. 

The Common Room | Private Hire 

I hope you have managed to take from my post so far that The Common Room is a beautiful space steeped in history. 

The venue is available to hire in full or part for a wide range of events and activities including weddings, events, parties and conferences alongside cultural events including live music gigs, comedy nights, lectures and more. The central location and accessibility by public transport really is hard to match. Find out more about venue hire here. 


The Common Room re-opened in July 2021 and it is already an exciting place to visit with lots going on. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the venue and no doubt events and exhibitions here will feature regularly in my what's on guides in years to come. 

Find out more: https://thecommonroom.org.uk/

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