Welcome to the Newcastle Collection

The third City Library in Newcastle opened in June 2009 and “the jewel in the crown” of this new building is the Newcastle Collection, a varied range of books, illustrations and artifacts which the Library has acquired over the years, providing us with a continuous link between the past and the future.

With the help of a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund these unique collections will be conserved and made more accessible. This website will be a gateway to these special collections – welcome! We hope you enjoy the experience.

Special Compositions for the New Library

Listen to the Newcastle Schools’ Music service brass ensemble perform two special pieces of music to commemorate the opening of the new library.  New chaper and Turning the page

Taking Liberties in the North East

The Heritage Lottery funded exhibition, Taking Liberties in the North East, featured many items from the Newcastle Collection. It focused on the 900-year struggle for democracy in the United Kingdom, paying particular attention to the North East’s contribution to the fight for civil liberties and human rights.

The exhibition also included work by the Taking Liberties Project, in which asylum-seekers, migrant workers and refugees recounted their experience of civil liberties.

Find out more about Taking Liberties in the North East.

The key special collections featured on this website are:-

The Bewick Collection

View the Bewick Collection

The work of artist and engraver Thomas Bewick (1753 -1828) and his pupils, collected by John William Pease over 40 years. Of national and international significance, described as the finest and most complete collection (of printed material) now in existence

The Collinson Collection

View the Collinsion Collection

Three volumes of detailed watercolour paintings of the flora of Northumberland and Durham

The Crawhall Collection

View the Crawhall Collection

Artistic work from three generations of the Crawhall family, one of the most ancient families in the region

Gibsone’s Conches

View Gibsone's Conches

A collection of fine watercolours of species of sea-shells, painted in meticulous detail by local entrepreneur George Gibsone and acquired in 1890

The Mackey Collection

View the Mackey Collection

A unique library of locally printed works, notably local tracts of the 1640 -1660 period relating to the activities of the Scottish army in the North East of England

The Merrifield Library

View the Merrifield Collection

A collection of 18th and 19th century items on science and mathematics and including pre -1701 material

The Thomlinson Library

View the Thomlinson Collection

The first ‘public library’ in Newcastle. Originally the private library of Dr Robert Thomlinson (1668 – 1748) and bequeathed to the people of Newcastle

Other Books of Interest

View other Books of Interest

There are many individual items in the Newcastle Collection, from a dark punishment book to an 18th century cookery book.