The Society was established in the 1970s. It aims to encourage the study and enjoyment of architecture, buildings, their contents and settings by organising lectures and visits. It usually holds its lectures in the Fine Art Lecture Theatre, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne. and enjoys a close association with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape of Newcastle University. (Read our constitution, revised October 2018).

Update June 2020

Summerhill Park, looking over to Swinburne Place. Photo, Simon Cotterill

The committee would like to update you all on developments during this prolonged lockdown. In normal circumstances we would by now have held our AGM event in the Bowling Club in Summerhill Park, with a walking tour of the surrounding historic buildings (Photo, left, by Simon Cotterill.) Alas, that was not to be. Rather than hope for the best and re-schedule the event for some time in the autumn, we have now decided to postpone it until 2021.

Sadly, none of the outings we had in mind for this summer are now likely to take place either, though it might just be possible to hold a guided walk in Newcastle or elsewhere depending on relaxation of the lockdown rules.

It seems unlikely that group meetings without social distancing will be allowed until well into the autumn. Even when they are, many members might be reluctant to attend, understandably, and anyway we are unlikely to be allowed use of our usual lecture theatre in Newcastle University before the end of this year. So instead we are hoping to arrange a programme of 'virtual meetings' on an internet conference facility such as Zoom or Cloudcast for this autumn, probably at the usual time on a Wednesday evening once a month. These meetings will be recorded and made available on our website for watching at any time afterwards.

To meet the requirements of our constitution, we expect to schedule a short formal 2020 AGM at the beginning of one of these virtual meetings. We may need your e-mail address to invite attendance at such virtual events, so if you are receiving this update by post please send yours - if you have one - to . If you are receiving this by e-mail then you need do nothing as we clearly have your address already.

A programme will be issued well in advance of the first meeting, with details of how to log on and join in. Please accept the committee's apologies if you do not have internet access - we fear there is nothing else we can offer as an alternative in the present circumstances and would be happy to refund subscriptions to any and all who are unavoidably excluded. Please let me know if this applies to you (tel: (0191) 2760060; Post: 8 Holmside Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5AJ).

Planning further ahead, we expect to hold our customary Members' Evening in January 2021, as an actual or virtual meeting as circumstances dictate. If you would like to offer a ten-minute talk with pictures, please contact Hugh Dixon on or 01434 602655.

With all best wishes, and hoping that you are staying well,
Chris Downs,
Chair, on behalf of the committee.

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While we are unable to hold meetings in the usual way, because of lockdown restrictions, members may enjoy two articles which have been uploaded to this website.

The first is the text of a speech given by Andrew Greg at the unveiling of a plaque to John Dobson at his birthplace, The Pineapple, Chirton, North Tyneside.

In The County Durham Parthenon, Lucinda Lampton contributes to a series about 'Overlooked Britain' in The Oldie magazine (article reproduced with the kind permission of the editor).


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