Mining Institute saved with National Lottery grant

The Mining Institute and Common Room have been successful in securing £4.1m of a total £8.6m in National Lottery grants which will preserve UK’s industrial heritage

Projects focussing on the industrial heritage of cities and towns across England and Wales have been awarded National Lottery funding to support the regeneration of key buildings,high streets and landscapes.

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers in central Newcastle, which houses an extensive archive of the industrial revolution, telling the stories of how the North East changed the world, will be rescued with a £4.1m grant.

The Institute, founded in 1852, was the first professional mining institute in the world, aiming to “advance the science and art of mining” and to bring down the death toll and accidents in the industry. However, 166 years later, the building was at risk of being sold, and the collection dispersed.

This new cash injection will revitalise the Grade II listed building and digitise the largest single collection of mining material in the world. The Institute will become the Common Room for the Great North, a public space telling the story of the North East’s industrial past, and inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.

Liz Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room project, said: “We are over the moon to have secured funding to revitalise the Mining Institute.

“This enables us to create an accessible, inspiring, high quality space, with a mission to use our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers.

“The Institute helped build the North East, with its innovations having global impact. We will now be in a position to open this heritage back up to the region that created it, as The Common Room, and provide inspiration and engagement for the whole region and become a landmark again.”

As well as preserving a historic building and collection, The Common Room will serve as a hub for education and training, for industrialists to shape the future of the region and for apprentices to be trained and meet their peers. The project team will build on partnerships and support gained from the Reece Foundation, Caterpillar and Nissan.

A range of public spaces will provide space for educational workshops and lectures, as well as events such as live music and comedy.

National Lottery funding has been awarded to three other projects preserving and regenerating post-industrial areas across England and Wales: Townscape Heritage projects will rejuvenate historic areas of Blaenavon in South Wales and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire; and Nottinghamshire County Council and local partners have been awarded funding to involve residents in uncovering and sharing Sherwood Forest’s industrial and mining past.