The society modelled itself on the Royal Society, in London, but at the same time explored local activities including coal, lead and mineral mining, agriculture, inland navigation, mathematical sciences and antiquarian history. Its early work spawned some of the local specialist organisations which thrive today, such as the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The society's library, which covers the arts and sciences, fiction and non-fiction has a significant collection of historical science and technology books, as well as travel and natural history books. There is a large reference and periodical section and the society prides itself on the open access it allows to its 18th-century material.
Lord Quinton will speak on 'The Society and its Library' on Friday 19 November as part of the bicentenary celebrations. The President's Evening, on Friday 3 December for members and friends, aims to encourage people to become members. David Mayne will demonstrate the process of etching: Mr Mayne has produced 70 etchings of the society's exterior which are to be sold to raise money for the society's endowment fund. Sue Veitch, a picture restorer, will demonstrate how she cleaned the society's oil painting of Lord Brougham, by Andrew Morton, a local artist; Brougham, a Whig Lord Chancellor, was an admirer of the society. The picture, painted during the 1830s, is one of many which have been restored recently, including one by Richard Todd of the Duke of Sussex, who laid the society's foundation stone in 1823.
For tickets for the lecture and further information, contact: The Literary and Philosophical Society, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE, telephone 091-232 0192.
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