Old Quadrangle 1950-1960, NUA/UNCAT/quadrangle c1955, Newcastle University Archives, Newcastle University Special Collections, GB 186

The picturesque gardens of the Old Quadrangle have been a popular site for graduation photographs for many years. The Quad is situated in the oldest part of Newcastle University Campus, and is framed by listed buildings – the Armstrong Building, Hatton Gallery and Architecture Building. It hasn’t always been a relaxing green space. During World War I, auxiliary army huts were placed in the Quad, where they remained until after World War 2, operating as makeshift classrooms. The Quad was also a thoroughfare for cars. 

Old Quadrangle with auxiliary army huts 1935-1949, NUA/UNCAT/quadrangle pre 1949, Newcastle University Archives, Newcastle University Special Collections, GB 186

This all changed between 1947 and 1949, when the Quad was laid out and planted as a memorial garden. The garden is dedicated to members of the University community who lost their lives during the two world wars. A memorial plaque can be seen on the low wall in front of you as you walk through the Arches. At least 276 staff and students from Armstrong College and Newcastle College of Medicine lost their lives in World War I alone (these two institutions formed the origins of Newcastle University). The Quad remains the venue for Remembrance Day services. 

Visit this online exhibition to learn more about World War I and Newcastle University.


Ernest Marsden Bettenson. (1971) The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne: a historical introduction, 1834-1971. Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Newcastle University Art on Campus (2018) Old Quadrangle. Available at: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/art-on-campus/outdoor-spaces/

Newcastle University Library Special Collections (no date) A Higher Purpose: Newcastle University at War. Available at: https://speccollstories.ncl.ac.uk/Newcastle-University-at-War/

Sitelines (no date) Tyne and Wear HER (9927): Newcastle, University Quadrangle- Details. Available at: https://twsitelines.info/SMR/9927

Want to learn more about the history of Newcastle University campus? Why not explore all the articles in our Campus Tour blog series.

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