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Northumbria University

The origins of Northumbria University can be traced back to 1877 when Rutherford Technical College was established in Newcastle by John Hunter Rutherford. In 1969, Newcastle Polytechnic was formed by the merger of Rutherford College, the College of Art & Industrial Design, and the Municipal College of Commerce. Several new buildings were constructed on the run-up to the formal establishment of the Polytechnic, including the Ellison Building, Library and Lipman Building. Then in 1992, the Polytechnic was reconstituted as the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, now usually known as the Northumbria University. It takes it's name from Northumbria, which was an ancient kingdom covering what is now northern England and south-east Scotland. In 2004, Northumbria University purchased the former Warner Brother's cinema complex near Manors. New buildings were constructed on the site and City Campus East was opened here in 2007.

A work in progress..."

Building/Place Year Built Notes
 Burt Hall  1895  Grade II listed building
 Business and Law School    
 Camden Court    
 Campus Services    
 Clapham House    
 Claude Gibb Hall    
 College House  1883  Grade II listed building
 Drill Hall  1849  Grade II listed building
 Ellison Building  1960s  Built for Rutherford College
 Ellison Place (nos 21& 22)    
 Ellison Terrace  1810 Grade II listed building
 Glenamara House    
 Hadrian House    
 Health Centre    
 Lipman Building    
 Lovaine Hall and Flats    
 Northumbria Nursery    
 Pandon Building    
 Rutherford Hall    
 Sutherland Building  1895  Grade II listed building
 Trinity Building  1895  Grade II listed building
 Victoria Hall    

Northumbria University (legally the University of Northumbria at Newcastle) is a UK public university located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. It has been a university since 1992, but has its origins in the Rutherford College, founded in 1877. It holds the Silver Award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Northumbria University is primarily based within City Campus located in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre with other campuses based in Coach Lane, London and Amsterdam. It is organised into four faculties — Design and Social Sciences, Business and Law, Engineering and Environment and Health and Life Sciences. As of 2019, Northumbria has around 26,450 full-time students and 2,684 academic and research staff. It had a consolidated income of £254 million in 2018/19. Northumbria is a member of AACSB, the Association of Commonwealth, Universities UK and the Wallace Group.


Northumbria University has its origins in three Newcastle colleges: Rutherford College of Technology, which was established by John Hunter Rutherford in 1877 and opened formally in 1894 by the Duke of York (later King George V), the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce.

Newcastle Polytechnic

In 1969, the three colleges were amalgamated to form Newcastle Polytechnic. The Polytechnic became the major regional centre for the training of teachers with the creation of the City College of Education in 1974 and the Northern Counties College of Education in 1976.

University Status

In 1992, Newcastle Polytechnic was reconstituted as the new University of Northumbria, as part of a nationwide process in which polytechnics became new universities. It was originally styled, and its official name still is, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (see the Articles of Government) but the trading name was simplified to Northumbria University in 2002. In 1995, it was awarded responsibility for the education of healthcare professionals, which was transferred from the National Health Service.

2017 Testing Accident

In 2017, the university was fined £400,000 after a sports science experiment gave volunteers a hundred times the safe dose. Two students volunteering in a study of the effects of caffeine were given a dose of 30g instead of 0.3g, because staff conducting the experiment tried to calculate the dose on a mobile phone calculator and misread the decimal point. Both were hospitalized and one reported loss of short-term memory. A court hearing heard that the university had not trained staff in safety and had not carried out a proper risk assessment, and that the dose was above the level known to cause risk of death.

2020 IT Incident

On 28 August 2020, Northumbria University's IT infrastructure was the target of a cyber attack. Northumbria University said there had been "operational disruptions across networks and IT systems" on Friday the 28th. Student access to the campus was restricted for the following week. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Peter Francis said in a statement that the university is working with external specialists who launched an investigation. Elsewhere in the city, Newcastle University has also reported a "number of operational issues" but it is not known at this stage whether the two incidents are linked.

Campuses and location

United Kingdom

The university has two large campuses situated in Newcastle and one in London. City Campus, located in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, is divided into City Campus East and City Campus West by the city's central motorway and linked by a £4 million bridge which in 2008 was officially opened by the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones.

City Campus

City Campus East is home to the Schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School (NBS). NBS and Law are housed in one building, and the School of Design is across a courtyard.

City Campus East, designed by Atkins, opened in September 2007, winning awards from The Journal newspaper and the Low Carbon New Build Project of the Year accolade.

City Campus West is home to the Schools of Arts & Social Sciences, Built & Natural Environment, Computing, Engineering & Information Sciences and Life Sciences. Also located on this campus is the University Library, Students' Union building and Sport Central, a £31m sports facility for students, staff and the community which opened in 2010.

The Sutherland Building, formerly the Medical School of Durham University, which was a naval warehouse during World War II, and the Dental School of Durham University (1945–78) is the home of Administrative Departments including Finance & Planning and Human Resources, using the space vacated when the School of Law moved to City Campus East.

The Students' Union building, at City Campus West, underwent a multimillion-pound makeover with new lobby and recreational facilities, and a refurbished bar and cafe space, in summer 2010.

In September 2016 the Sandyford Building was acquired from Newcastle College.

In 2018 a £7m building for Computer and Information sciences was opened in City Campus West in place of the demolished Rutherford Hall.

Coach Lane

A second campus is located 2.6 miles (4 km) outside of Newcastle, on Coach Lane, and is known as the Coach Lane Campus at Cochrane Park near the A188 (Benton Road). It is in the Dene ward near Longbenton and round the corner from Tyneview Park; a large Department for Work and Pensions office, accessible via the Four Lane Ends Interchange.

The Coach Lane Campus is home to School of Health, Community and Education Studies. Coach Lane Campus has computing and library services; its own Students' Union, and sports facilities, including indoor courts, a fitness suite, outdoor rugby and football pitches, and an all-weather floodlit pitch. A free shuttle bus scheme runs between the two campuses.

London Campus

The London Campus offers full-time or part-time programmes, from a range of Business, Computing, Cyber, Project Management and Technology focused programmes.


Northumbria University has an international campus based in Amsterdam, Netherlands through a partnership with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences where it offers accredited postgraduate qualifications and the opportunity for undergraduates to experience overseas studies.

Organisation and structure

Northumbria describes itself as a comprehensive university, offering 30 of Britain's 32 most frequently chosen academic disciplines. It specialises in law and business, arts and design, computing, environmental science, built environment, applied healthcare, sports science and psychology, and teacher education.

Northumbria University employs more than 3,200 people and offers approximately 500 study programmes through four Faculties:

  • Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Engineering and Environment
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Northumbria University Press is the university press, established in 2002. It is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and publishes a diverse range of books, including publications on language, photography, biography, travel and music.

Newcastle Business School

In September 2007, Northumbria University opened its new Newcastle Business School building on the site of the former Warner Brothers cinema as part of a £136m city campus east development. Newcastle Business School is the only university in the UK to hold double AACSB accreditation for business and accounting which makes them form part of an elite group of 190 institutions worldwide to hold this. As of 2020, The university also holds accreditation for EPAS in 21 different undergraduate programmes, more than any other university in the UK. Newcastle Business School has also developed relations with a wide range of other professional bodies. As a result, the university can offer a wide range of professional exemptions in its programmes such as the Accountancy degree which holds exemptions from many of the top accountancy boards including ICAEW, ACCA, and CIMA.

In 2015, Newcastle Business School was the winner of ‘UK Business School of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards.

Northumbria Law School

Northumbria Law School is the largest law school within the north-east of England. It is part of only six institutions outside of London that provides the Bar Professional Training Course. Northumbria Law School is located within City Campus East where it shares its building with Newcastle Business School.

Northumbria also offers 'clinical' courses in law accredited by the Law Society and Bar Council. These allow graduates direct entry to the profession. The institution's Student Law Office is a clinical legal education enterprise, where law students participate in a legal advice and representation scheme on behalf of real clients, under the supervision of practising lawyers. The student law office has managed over 7,000 enquiries and represented over 3,000 clients since 2005. In 2013, the university was awarded with the Queens Anniversary Prize in Further and Higher and Further Education for outstanding community work of its student law office.


Although the university roots are linked with medicine through the Sutherland building being formerly the Medical School of Durham University, it has not offered medicine as a programme until recently. Northumbria has a joint medical programme through a joint partnership with St George’s University of Grenada. As part of the programme the teaching hours are split between time spent within the Grenada and the United Kingdom. The programme has been expanded in recent years with an increased amount of time that students can spend within the United Kingdom.

Academic profile


In the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008 some research in nine of twelve areas submitted was described as "world-leading". In the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise, Northumbria was one of the UK top 50 for research power and the university which had risen fastest up the rankings.

Reputation and Rankings

Under Vice Chancellor Andrew Wathey, Northumbria University has climbed to 27th place on the Guardian University league tables.

The Times Higher Education Supplement's World University Ranking places Northumbria University in the 401-500 range.

In the 2014 REF, along with Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, humanities and arts subjects were the best scoring Units of Assessment.

Student life

Northumbria Students' Union is a campaigning and representative organisation. It is a charity currently exempt from registration and is led by five Sabbatical Officers (President and 4 Vice-Presidents) and a 19-member Student Council.

The Students' Union offers a range of student activities such as NSU/Community, NSU/Media (Which encompasses NSU/TV, NSU/Radio, NSU/Life and NSU/Snaps), NSU/Rag (Raise and Give), NSU/Societies, NSU/Employability, Duke of Edinburgh awards and Fast Friends. It represents students in academic and non-academic matters through a nationally recognised School Reps and Postgraduate Research Reps Systems.

The university building contains several venues for students to socialise in a safe environment, chiefly at Habita (formerly Bar One), Domain (formerly The Venue) and Reds.

In 2011, Northumbria Students' Union received the National Union of Students award for best higher education students union.

In 2016, Northumbria Students' Union received the National Union of Students award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award.

Due to the city of Newcastle's sister status with Atlanta, Northumbria University runs an annual student exchange programme with Georgia State University, offering students from both institutions the chance to experience student culture in their respective cities.


Northumbria University rugby team joined the RFU structure in 2007, under the name ‘Team Northumbria’. They won three promotions in as many years. First from Durham/Northumberland 3 in 2008, winning Durham/Northumberland 2 in 2009 and promotion from Durham/Northumberland 1 in 2010. They played at their highest level, in North 1 East until relegation in 2012. The team was then disbanded from the RFU league structure. However, they still play in the Northumberland Senior Cup, winning the cup for the first time in 2015.


  • Durham/Northumberland 2 champions (1): 2009
  • Northumberland Senior Cup winners (1): 2015

Notable alumni

  • Jeevan Thondaman State Minister of Sri Lanka
  • Sam Ainsley, artist.
  • Bibiana Aído Almagro, Spanish politician, previously served as Minister for Equality
  • Vera Baird, Victims's Commissioner for England and Wales, former Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, former MP for Redcar
  • Tunde Baiyewu, vocalist, lead singer of the Lighthouse Family
  • Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA
  • Rodney Bickerstaffe, former General Secretary of UNISON
  • Gavin Brown, art dealer
  • Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth
  • Nigel Cabourn, fashion designer
  • Chris Cook, GB Commonwealth and Olympic swimmer
  • Martin Corry, England rugby international, and Leicester Tigers
  • Steve Cram, English athlete and television presenter
  • Ali Dia, Senegalese footballer
  • Rick Dickinson, designer of the ZX81 computer
  • Anke Domscheit-Berg, member of the German Bundestag
  • Robbie Elliott, footballer and coach
  • John Fashanu, footballer and TV personality
  • Toby Flood, England rugby international, and Leicester Tigers
  • Bridget Galloway, Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies and England youth international
  • Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside
  • Lady Edwina Louise Grosvenor, prison reformer
  • Scott Henshall, fashion designer
  • Max Lamb, furniture designer
  • Jason Holland, designer
  • Louise Hopkins, artist
  • Ben Houchen, the first Mayor of Tees Valley
  • Sir Jonathan Ive, industrial designer, Chief Design Officer (CDO) of Apple Inc. and Chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London
  • Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham
  • Riley Jones, actor
  • Bharti Kher, contemporary artist
  • Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields
  • Duncan Lloyd, lead guitarist of Maxïmo Park
  • Guy Mankowski, author
  • Neil Marshall, film director
  • Alexei Mordashov, Russian business oligarch
  • Bob Murray, former chairman of Sunderland AFC
  • Jamie Noon, England rugby international, and Newcastle Falcons player
  • Victoria Pendleton, Olympic cyclist
  • Laura Pidcock, former MP for North West Durham
  • Jonathon Prested, poker player
  • Gerry Steinberg, former MP for City of Durham
  • Sting, musician
  • Alan Tomes, Rugby International Scotland and British Lions
  • Kevin Whately, actor
  • Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport
  • Zeb Kyffin, professional cycist for Ribble Weldtite
Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 01/02/2021).
Visit the page: Northumbria University for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.

Universities Nos. 1-5, Ellison Place Universities in Newcastle City Centre John Hunter Rutherford (1826-1890) Rutherford Technical College Warner Brothers, Manors (1989-2004) Pillar Man by Nicolaus Widerberg College House, College Street Burt Hall Drill Hall Ellison Building Lipman Building Sutherland Building Trinity Building
Northumbria University
- Official website of the University.

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The Sutherland Building

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Trinity Hall

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Burt Hall

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Northumbria University, New Bridge Street, NE1 (3)

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Northumbria University, New Bridge Street, NE1 (2)

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Rutherford's Ladder: The Making of Northumbria University, 1871-1996
- Book: Joan Allen and Richard Buswell, Northumbria University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9781904794097

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Pillar Man by Nicolaus Widerberg
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Pillar Man by Nicolaus Widerberg
- Overview Map Street View 'Pillar Man' is a bronze sculpture by Norwegian artist Nico Widerberg situated off Sandyford Road, outside the Art Gallery at Northumbria University. It was commissioned as …
College House, College Street
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College House, College Street
- Overview Map Street View College House on College Street in Newcastle was built in 1883 by R.J. Johnson as a new location for Dame Allan's Schools (est. 1705). In more …
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Northumbria University bridge plaque, A167(M), Newcastle upon Tyne

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Newcastle Civic Centre and its surrounding area, 1977

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Sculpture by Austin Wright (1981), University of Northumbria, Sandyford Road

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Brady and Martin Court, Northumberland University

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Figure, Northumbria University

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Bookstack, Northumbria University

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Three Figures, Northumbria University

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Five Figures, Northumbria University

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Gallery North Wall, Northumbria University

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Nos. 1-5, Ellison Place
  Co-Curate Page
Nos. 1-5, Ellison Place
- Nos. 1-5, Ellison Place (aka Ellison Terrace) in Newcastle was built c.1810. No. 4 has a plaque noting that Cardinal Basil Hume (1923-1999) was born here. Also, no. 5 was …


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