The Hatton Gallery

The Hatton Gallery is named in honour of Professor Richard George Hatton, the first Head of the King Edward VII School of Art. The gallery is part of the King Edward VII building, which opened in 1912.  

Hatton 2018, |, photographed by Chris Bishop

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the King Edward VII building, along with other University buildings, was requisitioned by the War Office as a part of the First Northern General Hospital, a military hospital for wounded service personnel.  

One of the most recognisable photographs in Special Collections to visitors of the Hatton Gallery is Ward C1 of the First Northern General Hospital. The pillars and domed skylights in this image are still a prominent feature of the Hatton’s main gallery.  

Photograph of wounded servicemen and staff on Ward C1 of the First Northern General Hospital 1914-19, NUA/041017-15, Newcastle University Archives, Newcastle University Special Collections, GB 186

Less recognisable is this view of the roof of the gallery. However, careful inspection of the photograph reveals the Hatton’s domed skylights in the bottom left-hand corner.

After the First World War, Professor Hatton organised occasional exhibitions in the gallery and, following his death in 1926, the Art Committee decided to name the school’s public art gallery in his honour. 

The Hatton Gallery gained some new spaces in the 1960s when a large new extension to the Fine Art Department was built on stilts. In 1965, the iconic Merz Barn Wall, part of a construction created in a Lake District barn in the late 1940s by German artist Kurt Schwitters, was brought to the gallery and incorporated into the fabric of the building. 

Schwitters Mertzbarn installation in the Hatton Gallery 1968, NUA/054946/2, Newcastle University Archives, Newcastle University Special Collections, GB 186

 In 2017 the gallery underwent at £3.8 million redevelopment. A modern exhibition space was created whilst at the same time conserving the historic and architectural elements of the Grade II listed building. 

Hatton Gallery Autumn 2017 (post refurb), Credit and Copyright ©: Colin Davison.+44 (0)7850 609

The Hatton Gallery, which is now managed by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums on behalf of Newcastle University, stages modern and contemporary art exhibitions and events. It also works closely with students from Newcastle University, hosting an annual exhibition celebrating the work of students graduating from the Fine Art Department. 

Find out more about the Hatton Gallery on their website.

Find out more about the University buildings during the First World War in this online exhibition.


Hatton Gallery (no date) Hatton. Available at:

Newcastle University Library Special Collections (no date) A Higher Purpose: Newcastle University at War. Available at:

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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