Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne
(4.9/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web)
The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne is a historical library in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and the largest independent library outside London. The library is still available for both lending and as a free reference library.FoundingFounded in 1793 as a "conversation club" by the Reverend William Turner and others – more than fifty years before the London Library – the annual subscription was originally one guinea. The Lit and Phil library contained works in French, Spanish, German and Latin; its contacts were international, and its members debated a wide range of issues, but religion and politics were prohibited. Women were first admitted to the library in 1804. In February 2011, actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong became President of the Lit & Phil. He launched their funding appeal at a special gala event. At the start of 2012, membership of the Library reached 2,000, the highest number since 1952.HistoryDuring the 19th and 20th centuries, the Lit & Phil was host to a long list of the intelligentsia of the era. Engineer and inventor George Stephenson showed his miner's lamp there, and in 1879, when Joseph Swan demonstrated his electric light bulbs, the Lit and Phil building became the first public building to be so illuminated.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The Lit and Phil saw the first public demonstration of a light bulb light up. The Demonstrator was Swan. The light has not dimmed since. Northern genius has been celebrated and encouraged for centurie...  more »
  • If you like old book smell, this place is for you. It's like a big old library and people are very welcoming if you just fancy a little mooch around. 
  • For years I passed the Lit and Phil without going in, what a mistake to make, as it is a hidden gem. My wife and I took a guided tour which was due to last an hour but it took a hour and a half. Aliso...  more »
Google
  • I popped in on a visit to Newcastle. A wonderful historic atmosphere, smell of old books and quirky vibe. Clearly a huge range of old and new works but no public computers, which to keep the atmosphere I think is a good thing (although people bring their laptops). Obviously a place run by people who love it (it is a charity) so I would reccommend you visit and support this precious place!
  • Brilliant place to write, I'm working on my novel there. Amazing range of books (I got an original print by Joseph Stalin). Plenty of facilities- toilets, coffee shop, silent work rooms, performance rooms. If you want to do practically any research, check it out. If you want to do some work, you should definitely go!
  • Great place to read, study, discuss and meet good people.
  • one of my favorites
  • Fantastic resource for research