SEAM exhibition


The Mining Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne

A rarely-seen room in Newcastle’s Mining Institute, where mine owners and workers used to meet to hammer out their differences over working conditions, will be open to visitors this summer as it hosts a new exhibition, funded by the National Lottery.

The exhibition, called SEAM, will take place in The Mining Institute’s historic Arbitration Room, where visitors will also be able to see artefacts from the Institute’s collection which have never been on public display before. They will be used to tell the story of some of the North East’s greatest innovators and engineers.

The exhibition is funded by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Emily Tench, Special Projects Administrator at The Mining Institute, explained: “This is a really exciting opportunity for people to enter the Arbitration Room and get to know some of the people who walked the hallways of The Mining Institute and who also had a huge impact on industry and life not only in the North East but globally.”

The Mining Institute is home to one of the largest collections of information, books and artefacts relating to the mining industry in the world. Highlights from the collection – including a selection of fossils, recovered from areas where mining took place and which have never been seen by the public before – will be on show during the exhibition.

SEAM tells the stories of founding members of The Mining Institute including Nicholas Wood, The Mining Institute’s first ever President and, later, the great Robert Stephenson who created Rocket – the most advanced locomotive of its day.

The exhibition also introduces some lesser-known engineers and innovators including Sir George Elliot who began his career aged nine as a colliery labourer and became a successful businessman, advising Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and mixing with well-known characters including Dracula author Bram Stoker.

The engineering industry in the North East today is also represented in the exhibition, with staff from Peterlee’s Caterpillar (CAT) Articulated Trucks running a takeover day providing a series of free workshops where visitors of all ages can learn from their apprentices about what they engineer.

A series of heritage talks by speakers including Mike Thornton, son in law of artist Norman Cornish, whose work documented his local mining community and historian, author and expert on women in engineering, Henrietta Heald, will complement the exhibition.

Emily Tench added “This is the last chance for people to visit The Mining Institute before we close for a two year refurbishment from September.

“We’re really excited to open the doors of the Arbitration Room for this exhibition which I hope will not only bring to life the people who made the North East great but might even help to inspire the next generation of North East engineers.”

SEAM is on show from 25 June to 9 September 2018 every day except for Tuesdays, 10am – 6pm. Admission is free.


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