Wednesday, 4 February 2009

In appreciation: the 'Lit and Phil', Newcastle upon Tyne

UPDATE: this has just been sent to me, and hey, there's a financial reward:

I intend to be back later today with a longer blog of my own; meanwhile I commend Hazel's 'Bear' blog (see right column, for that and other linked blogs) and draw to the attention of readers that without people like Hazel giving freely of her time Newcastle's magnificent Lit and Phil would not be the place it is today.

Picture gallery:
"The expansion of such... industrial developments on Tyneside were only made possible by the investment and foresight of some of the greatest industrial pioneers the world has ever seen like George Stephenson, William Armstrong, Charles Parsons and Joseph Swan who were all Tynesiders by birth or adoption.

Some of these great industrial figures were great friends and would often meet to discuss their industrial and technological developments at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne. One of the greatest local institutions of Victorian Britain the `Lit and Phil' still exists today as a private library with a very famous lecture hall. It was here at the Lit and Phil that Joseph Swan first demonstrated his electric light bulb and where George Stephenson first showed off the Miner's safety lamp which made possible the opening up of ever deeper mines thus ensuring that the industrial revolution on Tyneside would continue uninterrupted."

More here about Joseph Swan:


Another great industrial pioneer of Tyneside was Joseph Wilson Swan who was born in
Sunderland on October 31st 1828 and began his career as an apprentice to a local chemist. In 1862 Swan moved to Gateshead and as a member of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society he had a strong desire to research and experiment in the field of chemistry.

Some of Swan's earliest developments were in the field of photography where he perfected the carbon process of photographic printing and developed the rapid photographic plate. He also patented the first Bromide paper in 1879. His photographic developments were of immense importance as they turned photography into a practical pastime and greatly spurred on its popularity.

Swan is however better known for his development of the incandescent filament electric lamp. This was the first practically usable electric light bulb and the first demonstration of this source of electric light was performed by Swan at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne on February 3rd 1879.

Swan's demonstration proved to be a success and at Benwell in the western suburbs of Newcastle he established the world's first electric light bulb factory. Later Swan went on to light up Mosley Street in Newcastle City Centre which became the first street in the world to be lit by electric light. By 1881Swan's light bulbs had arrived in London where 1,200 of them were used in the lighting the Savoy Theatre in front of an astonished audience. From the `Darkness' of the north, came light for London..."

Benwell - place of my birth.

A commemorative plaque exists in Gateshead at his former home:

I wonder what he would think about Swan House, named after him? The building where he invented his bulb is pictured here also:

and here it is:

Quote/fact: Swan's house at 99 Kells Lane, Underhill, Gateshead, was the first private residence to be lit by electric light. Mosley Street in Newcastle is believed to have become the first public road in the world to be lit by electric light bulbs at night in 1880. By coincidence, Mosley Street was the first in the world to be lit by gas in 1818.

Which brings us back to Saturday's blog.

Back soon.


PS Welcome Mrs Miggins as an official 'Follower' - here's a pic (A Deranged Woman?) and following on from yesterday's Creative Commons stuff, I like the bit in the box under..

Also - many thanks to one of the Republic's citizens for sending this script with Mrs M in all her lunacy:
Ah me. They rarely write 'em like that any longer.
Lovely. I'll do you a nice packed lunch.


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