North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers

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Neville Hall and Wood Memorial Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME), commonly known as The Mining Institute,[1] is a British organisation dedicated to the research and preservation of knowledge relating to mining and mechanical engineering. Founded in 1852, the Institute, in Newcastle upon Tyne, possesses one of the largest collections of such mining information in the world.[2] Its library, named after the first President Nicholas Wood contains more than twenty thousand volumes of technical literature,[3] in the fields of mining, geology, mechanical engineering, government blue books, mine rescue, mineralogy, mineral chemistry, mining statistics, mining law, seismology and other related topics.

Background[edit]

John Buddle

The origins of the Institute stem from William Turner, minister of the Hanover Square Chapel,[4] just behind the position of Newcastle railway station. He began Newcastle's first Sunday School, 'a focus of light and learning' for the town.[5] One of his students, John Buddle, became a viewer (mining engineer) and wealthy mine owner, and member of the Literary and Philosophical Society and the Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne (now the Natural History Society of Northumbria). Buddle became a major influence on the Durham and Northumberland Coalfield, "the King of the Coal Trade". In 1816, Buddle devised a system of diverting underground ventilating currents that is in use today. He did not live to see the impact of his legacy, as he died in 1843, nine years before the founding of the Institute.[6] His papers and 'place books' were deposited at the institute.

Following an explosion at Felling in 1812, the Sunderland Society was set up to improve safety where gas was present in mines.[7] The committee secured the services of Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the safety lamp, in 1815.[8] Despite changes, explosions continued, culminating in a devastating explosion at St Hilda Colliery in which 52 persons were killed. The South Shields Committee recommended the introduction of government inspections of mines the education of mechanical engineers, leading to the first Government Inspection Act of 1850.[9] A coroner's court held at the Mill Inn at Seaham in 1852 suggested it would be advantageous to form a society to consider the prevention of accidents in coal mines.

Nicholas Wood statue in the Wood Memorial Hall

At a meeting of “colliery owners, viewers, and others interested in the Coal Trade” on 3 July 1852, it was proposed to form a society to discuss the ventilation of coalmines, prevention of accidents and other items connected with the general working of coalmines. It was to be called "The North of England Society for the Prevention of Accidents and for other purposes connected with mining", and Nicholas Wood would be chairman.[10] The title actually adopted was the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers, changed in 1870 to North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. [11]A committee was appointed to draw up rules and the inaugural meeting was held on 3 September 1852 at which Wood delivered the inaugural address at the lecture theatre of the Literary and Philosophical Society. In this address he gave the aims of the Institute:

Wood was president from the Institute's inauguration in 1852 until 19 December 1865 when he died aged 70.

A Royal Charter was awarded in 1876.

A School of Medicine founded in 1834, a predecessor of Newcastle University, occupied the site the Institute was built on. The College of Physical Science in Newcastle, linked to Durham University, was founded in 1871 following some years of discussion and promotion by the Institute. Its classes were taught in the Institute's lecture theatre. It was renamed Armstrong College and was for many decades part of the University of Durham, later to become Kings College and then Newcastle University.

Similar institutions to the Institute were set up in other parts of Britain and informal collaboration led to the creation in 1889 of the Federated Institution of Mining Engineers, comprising NEIMME; Chesterfield and Midland Counties Institution of Engineers; Midland Institute of Mining, Civil and Mechanical Engineers; South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire Institute of Mining Engineers and later the North Staffordshire Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, the Mining Institute of Scotland and the Manchester Geological and Mining Society. The name was changed to the Institution of Mining Engineers in 1898. The constituent societies kept their identity within the national Institution and many, like NEIMME, exist today as local societies of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

Institute building[edit]

Inside the Wood Memorial Hall

In early years meetings of the Institute were held in the Literary and Philosophical Society and other local premises, but the need for its own building became apparent. Robert Stephenson, son of George Stephenson, a colleague and contemporary of Nicholas Wood, was his pupil at Killingworth Colliery[13] and when Robert Stephenson died in October 1859 he left £2000 to the Institute which started a fund to build its permanent home.[5] In 1867 plans were made and the building constructed in 1869-72 in Grainger's new town on the site of the medical school on land traditionally held by the Dukes of Westmorland, the Nevilles. It comprises the Wood Memorial Hall containing the Library, lecture theatre and other small rooms and Neville Hall which was primarily office space that from the beginning until recently was let to various mining and other organisations, such as the Coal Trade Association, Blyth and Tyne Railway, Freemasons and the Law Society.

The architect was Archibald Matthias Dunn, whose father, mining engineer and Mines Inspector Matthias Dunn, had been present at the Institute's inaugural meeting. It was built at the height of the English Gothic Revival and shows a mixture of gothic and Tyneside Classical themes. The Library has high windows and a sky lit barrel-vaulted ceiling - the highest point 39ft above the floor - with stained glass windows by Cooke of London. It includes a monumental statue of Nicholas Wood mounted on a throne in the setting of an iconstasis. There are other works of art including marble busts of John Buddle and Thomas Forster, the Institute's second president[3] and a carving of the River God Tyne including the Institute motto Moneo et munio - I advise and I protect. The original lecture theatre was replaced by the current one in 1902 designed by local architects Cackett and Burns Dick, and modelled on that at the Royal Institution in London. It features a steep rake of seating constructed from Cuban mahogany and the walls display portraits of all the Institute’s Presidents since 1852.

Activities[edit]

As already noted, the Institute was concerned not just with measures to reduce accidents, but with the theory, art and practice of mining in general. [12] So through meetings, presentation, discussion and publication of research papers, investigations, experimental work, and so on, the Institute tried to fulfil these aims. Working groups were set up, for example on tail ropes [14]; flameless explosives [15]; mechanical ventilators [16]and mechanical coal cutting. [17] [18] There were research committees on such as strata control, set up in 1924 [19] and safety in mines reporting, for example on horse haulage.[20]

In later years there was also collaboration with Armstrong/Kings College in areas such as ventilation and mine lighting. The Institute also worked with National Coal Board committees such as the Divisional Strata Control Research Committee. [21]

Now, with mining a diminished industry in the UK, the Institute continues publicising developments through its public lecture series.

Library collections[edit]

The collections include books, statistical compendia, Mines Inspectors reports, journals, Government committee reports, archives, tracts, maps, photographs, technical reports, artworks and there is a searchable catalogue. [22] In recent years library material has been transferred to the Institute following the closure of institutions such as the NCB Coal Research Establishment at Stoke Orchard, the NCB Mining Research and Development Establishment at Bretby, the British Coal Utilisation Research Association and the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Newcastle.

Other uses of the building[edit]

In recent years the main hall of the Institute has also been used as a 100-capacity music venue, predominantly by local bands.[23] The space has been described as "brilliantly atmospheric",[24] and "an intimate setting for live music".[23] The Mining Institute has also been used as a venue for Home Gathering Festival[25] and is also available for conferences and weddings.[26]

Gallery[edit]

The lecture theatre 
Richard Grainger's 1836 proposal for a Central Railway Depot 
Birkinshaw's patent railway 
Thomas Young Hall's system for penetrating dangerous gases 1853 

Notable members[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henderson, Tony (8 May 2014). "Historic Newcastle hall opens its rooms to public for the first time". The Journal. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Home of the Black Diamond - The Nicholas Wood Memorial Library (PDF), p. 2, .. the Nicholas Wood Memorial Library, reputed to be the largest mining library in the world. Formed by The North of England Institute of Mining Engineers in 1852 .. 
  3. ^ a b North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers The Mining Institute Renaissance - Anniversary Celebrations 1852–2002. 2002.
  4. ^ 'Protestant Dissent: Chapels and meeting-houses', Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead (1827), pp. 370-414. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43362 Date accessed: 07 February 2014
  5. ^ a b Harding, J.T. (1986), "A History of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers", The Mining Engineer - Journal of the Institution of Mining Engineers, 146: 252–6 
  6. ^ Hiskey, C.E. John Buddle (1773–1843): agent and entrepreneur on the North-East coal trade. MLitt thesis, University of Durham, 1978. Available online
  7. ^ The first report of a society for preventing accidents in coal mines comprising a letter to Sir Ralph Milbanke, Bart. Author: Buddle, John Milbanke, Ralph (Sir) Society for Preventing accidents in Coal Mines. (Sunderland) Newcastle upon Tyne : Printed by Edward Walker, 1814. NEIMME In: Tracts 3, p. 15-62; 53, p. 93-140; 60, p.1-48; 94 p. 61-108; Bell collection, 4, p. 71-107. With list of members.
  8. ^ Leifchild, J. R. (1856), Our Coal and Our Coal-Pits; the people in them and the scenes around them (2 ed.) 
  9. ^ North and South Shields Gazette, "Government inspection of mines: report of the proceedings at a public meeting in South Shields, called by the magistrates, 7 June 1850", NEIMME Tracts, 45: 94–118 , Extracts from the North and South Shields Gazette
  10. ^ Anderson, Wm. Meeting of Colliery Owners, Viewers, &c Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining Engineers 1 1852-3,1-2
  11. ^ Report of the Rules Committee Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers 19 1869-70, 99-100
  12. ^ a b Wood, Nicholas. Inaugural address Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining Engineers 1 1852-3, 11-32
  13. ^ Doubleday T. Memoir of the late Nicholas Wood, Esq. Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining Engineers 15 1866, 49–59.
  14. ^ North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers On the haulage of coal: being the report of the committee appointed by the Mining Institute to investigate the subject. 1869
  15. ^ Kayll, A.C Report of the proceedings of the flameless explosives committee of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers NEIMME, 1896
  16. ^ Brown, M Walton Mechanical ventilators: report of the Committee of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers and the Midland Institute of Mining, Civil and Mechanical Engineers Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers 48 1898-99, 171-266; Transactions - Institution of Mining Engineers 17 1898-99, 482-576
  17. ^ North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Report of the committee upon mechanical coal cutting. Part 1 - Longwall machines. 1903
  18. ^ North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Report of the committee upon mechanical coal cutting. 1905
  19. ^ North of England Institute Strata Control Research Sub-Committee Control of the strata in mining: investigations in the Durham and Northumberland Coalfield Mining Engineer 113 1953-54, 83-95
  20. ^ North of England Safety in Mines Research Committee First report of an investigation into the causes of accidents due to haulage: derailments in horse-haulage operations Transactions - Institution of Mining Engineers 971938-39, 340-359
  21. ^ North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Centenary brochure, 1852-1952. 1952
  22. ^ North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Collections Accessed 30 August 2016.
  23. ^ a b Jeffery, Sarah (21 December 2015). "Independent music venues in the North East mapped: Where to see the best live music". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  24. ^ Whetstone, David (2 March 2016). "Singer songwriter Kathryn Williams lines up another North East gig". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  25. ^ Jeffery, Sarah (27 May 2016). "The Unthanks' Home Gathering Festival returns to Newcastle with stellar-line-up". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  26. ^ https://mininginstitute.org.uk/events/rooms-available-to-hire/

Main sources[edit]

  • Harding, J.T. A history of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Mining Engineer 146 1986, 252–6
  • Harding, J.T. A short history of the Institution of Mining Engineers' North of England Branch and the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Mining engineer 148 1988-9, 356-358
  • North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Centenary brochure, 1852-1952. 1952
  • North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers The Mining Institute Renaissance - Anniversary Celebrations 1852–2002. 2002.
  • Wood, Sir L. Address [for NEIMME Jubilee] Transactions - North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers 52 1902-03, 66-77; Transactions - Institution of Mining Engineers 24 1902-03, 68-79

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°58′10″N 1°36′51″W / 54.9694°N 1.6143°W / 54.9694; -1.6143