|Abbreviation||The Mining Institute|
|Legal status||Royal Chartered Learned Society|
|Purpose||The advancement and promotion of Science, Technology and Engineering in the North|
|Academics and Industrialists across Science, Technology, Engineering and Industrial History in the North and across the UK|
|Dr Andrew Dobrzański|
|Dr Richard Curry|
|Dr David Bell|
The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME), commonly known as The Mining Institute,is a British Royal Chartered learned society and membership organisation dedicated to advancing science and technology in the North and promoting the research and preservation of knowledge relating to mining and mechanical engineering. The membership of the Institute is elected on the basis of their academic and professional achievements with Members and Fellows entitled to the postnominal MNEIMME and FNEIMME. The Institutes’ membership is predominantly from local industry and from academics at Durham and Newcastle Universities, though members are also located further afield across the UK.
The Institute was founded in 1852 in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1876. The Institute developed one of the largest collections of mining information in the world.Its library, named after the first President Nicholas Wood contains more than twenty thousand volumes of technical literature, 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.
In 2019 the assets of the Institute – building, library and archive collections and staff – were transferred to a separate charity, The Common Room of the Great North, established to "celebrate the region's engineering history through education and engagement, with a vision to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers". Neville Hall, the Institute building, was closed for refurbishment in 2019.
The Institute itself continues as an independent professional membership organisation for engineers, and is currently developing a new strategy that aims to increase its activities.
The origins of the Institute stem from William Turner, minister of the Hanover Square Chapel,just behind the position of Newcastle railway station. He began Newcastle's first Sunday School, 'a focus of light and learning' for the town. 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. 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.The committee secured the services of Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the safety lamp, in 1815. 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. 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.
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.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. 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:
First, - By a union or concentration of professional experience, to endeavour if possible, to devise measures which may avert or alleviate those dreadful calamities, which have so frequently produced such destruction to life and property, and which are always attended with such misery and distress to the mining population of the district; and Secondly, - to establish a Literary Institution, more particularly applicable to the theory, art, and practice of Mining, than the Institutions in the locality present, or which are within the reach of the profession in this locality.— Nicholas Wood, Inaugural Address, printed in the Transactions of the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers
Wood was president from the Institute's inauguration in 1852 until 19 December 1865 when he died aged 70.
A Royal Charter was awarded by Queen Victoria incorporating the Institute in the 28th of November 1876.
A School of Medicine founded in 1834, a predecessor of Newcastle University, occupied the site the Institute was built on. It was in this building part of the 1838 British Association meeting was held. 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.
Historically the Institute was concerned not just with measures to reduce accidents, but with the theory, art and practice of mining in general.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; flameless explosives; mechanical ventilators and mechanical coal cutting. There were research committees on such as strata control, set up in 1924 and safety in mines reporting, for example on horse haulage. In the 1900s 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.
During the later 20th Century NEIMME's role and importance declined as the coal industry changed and shrank in size. Its finances became precarious and by the beginning of the 21st Century its continued existence was in doubt. A working group of the Institute concluded that a widening of its role was needed and suggested it used its heritage and collections as a basis for a programme of training, conference, debates, etc about the future engineering, cultural, infrastructure and so on of the North East. A working title for the new body was the Great North Institute.Heritage Lottery grants enabled the development of the ideas and the creation of a new charity and limited company now named The Common Room of the Great North. Neville Hall and the NEIMME Library collections - books, journals, reports, maps, photographs, archives, etc - all legally transferred to The Common Room on 1 March 2019. Most of the material is in store until Neville Hall reopens in Autumn 2020 after refurbishment. There is a continuing digitisation programme of archives and other resources in the collection and a process to provide online access to digitised material is being developed.
Currently The Common Room has an exhibition, Graft and Glory, that explores the North East’s industrial heritage and is touring various venues in the region from the Tweed to the Tees. It is associated with a public programme of family activities, public lectures, oral history workshops and community engagement.
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 Collieryand when Robert Stephenson died in October 1859 he left £2000 to the Institute which started a fund to build its permanent home. 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 39 ft 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 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.
The Institute is a Royal Chartered membership organisation with members drawn from local industry and academia. The Institute has particularly good links with Durham and Newcastle Universities and with the local geotechnical industry. The Institutes' higher membership grades are judged upon academic and professional achievements, with unqualified but interested members of the public able to join in the lower category. The membership grades are:
The Institute has a monthly series of public lectures public lectures on developments in science and technology. These lectures range in topic from current and historical mining projects, active industrial developments with speakers from manufacturing industries, and research talks given by local PhD students. The Institutes' Younger Members Group arranges lectures and events for under-35s.
The Institute also arranges field trips to sites of geological and industrial interest for its members. Many of the Institutes' members have conducted research into the North Pennine Orefield with trips to mines and geological outcrops recorded in its Transactions since the late 1800s to the present day.
The Institute works with other learned and professional organisations to provide its members and the wider public with lectures and events across a range of disciplines. The Institute is a 'local society' of the IOM3 and runs events promoting the study and research of materials science. The Institute holds an annual joint-lecture with the Geological Society of London on strategic geological topics, and has had links with the Society dating back to the 1800s when the British Association meeting was held in Newcastle. The Institute also holds joint events with the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland on applied mineralogy and petrology subjects, with the Stephenson Locomotive Society on industrial heritage and transport topics, as well as the Institute of Corrosion, and Institution of Civil Engineers.
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.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.
The Institute regularly publishes articles in its online Transactions on topics ranging from mining engineering and industrial heritage, to materials science and industrial policy.
The Institute is governed by a Council - as dictated by the Royal Charter - comprising the President, two Vice Presidents, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer, the immediate fifteen Past Presidents, and members elected from the membership. The current Council is composed of professional mining engineers and coal miners from the North East collieries as well as representatives from the local geotechnical industry, academics from Durham University, industrial historians, and active exploration geologists.
In recent years the main hall of the Institute has also been used as a 100-capacity music venue, predominantly by local bands.The space has been described as "brilliantly atmospheric", and "an intimate setting for live music". The Mining Institute has also been used as a venue for Home Gathering Festival and is also available for conferences and weddings. The Institute building was closed for refurbishment but reopened in July 2021.
North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL for statistical purposes. The region has three current administrative levels below the region level in the region; combined authority, unitary authority or metropolitan district and civil parishes. They are also multiple divisions without administrative functions; ceremonial county, emergency services, built-up areas and historic county. The most populous places in the region are Newcastle upon Tyne (city), Middlesbrough, Sunderland (city), Gateshead, Darlington and Hartlepool. Durham also has city status.
Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, 1st Baronet, FRS was a Victorian ironmaster and Liberal Party politician from Washington, County Durham, in the north of England. He was described as being "as famous in his day as Isambard Kingdom Brunel".
A safety lamp is any of several types of lamp that provides illumination in coal mines and is designed to operate in air that may contain coal dust or gases, both of which are potentially flammable or explosive. Until the development of effective electric lamps in the early 1900s, miners used flame lamps to provide illumination. Open flame lamps could ignite flammable gases which collected in mines, causing explosions; safety lamps were developed to enclose the flame and prevent it from igniting the surrounding atmosphere. Flame safety lamps have been replaced in mining with sealed explosion-proof electric lights.
The Hartley Colliery disaster was a coal mining accident in Northumberland, England, that occurred on 16 January 1862 and resulted in the deaths of 204 men and children. The beam of the pit's pumping engine broke and fell down the shaft, trapping the men below. The disaster prompted a change in British law that required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape.
Matthias Dunn was a British mining engineer and one of the first government inspectors of mines. He was known for encouraging safe practices in mines.
John Buddle was a prominent self-made mining engineer and entrepreneur in North East England. He had a major influence on the development of the Northern Coalfield in the first half of the 19th century, contributing to the safety of mining coal by innovations such as the introduction of the Davy Lamp, the keeping of records of ventilation, and the prevention of flooding. He was also interested in shipping as an owner, and built Seaham Harbour, establishing an important trade dock. He was chairman of the company that built the Tyne Dock at South Shields, and was also involved in the creation of two harbours and the development of a tunnel.
William Hutton was a British geologist.
Nicholas Wood FGS FRS was an English colliery and steam locomotive engineer. He helped engineer and design many steps forward in both engineering and mining safety, and helped bring about the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, holding the position of President from its inauguration to his death.
Losh, Wilson and Bell, later Bells, Goodman, then Bells, Lightfoot and finally Bell Brothers, was a leading Northeast England manufacturing company, founded in 1809 by the partners William Losh, Thomas Wilson, and Thomas Bell.
Sir William Galloway was a Scottish mining engineer, professor and industrialist.
Thomas Lindsay Galloway MA, FRSE. FGS, AMInst, MInstME was the youngest son of William Galloway (1799–1854) shawl manufacturer and coal master of Paisley, Scotland and Margaret Lindsay (1818–1902). He was a civil and mining engineer and coal master of Argyll Colliery, Campbeltown, Kintyre, and like his brothers, Sir William Galloway and Robert Lindsay Galloway, he was also the author of several papers, lectures, designs and books.
John Hodgson (1779–1845) was an English clergyman and antiquary, known as the county historian of Northumberland.
George Clementson Greenwell was a British mining engineer.
John Marley was an English mining engineer from Darlington who together with ironmaster John Vaughan made the "commercial discovery" of the Cleveland Ironstone Formation, the basis of the wealth of their company Bolckow Vaughan and the industrial growth of Middlesbrough. He was an effective leader of engineering operations at Bolckow Vaughan's mines and collieries. He ended his career as a wealthy independent mine-owner and president of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME).
Edmund Mills Hann (1850–1931) was a Welsh prominent figure in the industrial life of South Wales, and a leading coal owner during the industrial struggles of the 1920s.
Thomas Young Hall was an internationally acclaimed mining engineer and coal mine owner. A native of Tyneside, he was a well-known figure in Newcastle in the mid-nineteenth century. Born in Greenside on 25 October 1802, his father, James Hall, was a mining engineer, manager of the Folly Pitt, and agent to several leading coal mine owners including the Dunns, G. Silvertop, Capt. Blackett, W. P. Wrightson, P. E. Townley, and John Buddle.
Edward Fenwick Boyd was an English industrialist who became the fourth President of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME). He held a leading role in the Mining Institute from its inauguration in 1852 as Treasurer and a member of the council before becoming the fourth president in 1869. As president, Boyd oversaw the installation of the Nicholas Wood Memorial Hall and the Newcastle College of Physical Science.
Thomas Emerson Forster was an eminent English mining engineer.
Addison Langhorne Steavenson was an English Mining Engineer. He became President of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME) in 1893 after being a member of the Institute for thirty-eight years. Steavenson was married to Anna Maria Wilson; they had three daughters named Anna, Frances and Hilda and two sons called Addison Langhorne Junior, who died young, and Charles Herbert Steavenson who went on to become a mining engineer in his own right.
William Coulson (1791-1865) was a mining engineer and master shaft sinker who was responsible for sinking more than 80 mine shafts in North East England along with others in Prussia and Austria. He was also notable for leading the rescue and recovery team after the Hartley Colliery disaster of 1862.
.. 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 ..