In early December, a small group of Year 12 students visited the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society near the Central Station, more commonly known as the Lit and Phil. The students were greeted by school governor Malcolm Gregor, who had organised the tour of this fascinating building for the students. The tour began in the impressive staircase, hung with portraits of former presidents of the Lit and Phil. It was founded in 1793 as a ‘conversation club’ and has now grown and evolved into an independent library in Newcastle, housing over 170,000 books. Since opening in 1825, the Lit & Phil has been a centre of learning in the heart of the city, witnessing ‘world firsts’ in innovation and growing a unique collection of books. In fact, it is the largest independent library outside of London.
During their tour of the building, the students discovered the Lit and Phil is so much more than a library. Depending on who you ask, it is an historic building, a meeting place, an office, a theatre, a lecture hall, a jazz venue, a performance space, as well as an exceptional library. After the tour, the students took refreshments in the library and relaxed in the beautiful surroundings, chatting to the librarian and browsing through the vast collections. Many students hope to return to work and study in the library, with some students already inspired to start their Extended Project Qualifications or to attend some of the public lectures over the coming months.