Constructed in 1911, Newcastle University’s redbrick Arches owe their existence to a donation made by John Bell Simpson, a North East mining magnate. Built in the neo-Jacobean style, their construction serves to commemorate King Edward VII and they have become a recognised symbol of the University around the world.
Today the Arches and their surrounding building form part of the Hatton Gallery, but in 1911 they functioned as part of the King Edward VII School of Art. If you look closely, you will be able to see a bronze statue of King Edward VII recessed in a niche above the Arches in addition to a coat of arms and a Latin inscription which reads, ‘To the pious memory of the most serene King Edward VII promoter of peace on earth by heavenly inspiration. John Bell Simpson gifted this school as a home for the lovelier arts. He saw to its building, 1910’.
The Arches served originally as the gateway to Newcastle campus from the city, but following developments on site now sit further back, framing the entrance to the University’s Armstrong Quadrangle.
Such is the iconic status of the Arches that the building has been replicated at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, our international branch campus in Johor, Malaysia.
Visit CollectionsCaptured to see more photographs of Newcastle University campus from the University Archives.
Co-Curate (no date) The Arches. Available at: https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/the-arches-newcastle-university/
Newcastle University (2021) Architectural delights. Available at: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/who-we-are/vision/architectural-delights/
Newcastle University Art on Campus (2018) The Arches. Available at: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/art-on-campus/iconic-buildings/#viewdetails
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/
Want to learn more about the history of Newcastle University campus? Why not explore all the articles in our Campus Tour blog series.