The Common Room: A Bustling Hub For Business Innovation

Issue 74

Located in the heart of Newcastle' The Common Room is steeped in a rich and intriguing history' offering a unique and inspirational setting for any meeting or event. We spoke to Nicky Sherman' The Common Room Sales and Marketing Manager' to find out more.

What is your background and what attracted you to the role of Sales and Marketing Manager at The Common Room?

I have worked in hospitality for more than 30 years’ most recently at Jesmond Dene House where I was Director of Sales and Marketing for 13 years. I took a career break for three years before taking on the role of Sales and Marketing Manager at The Common Room’ covering maternity leave. The thing that excited me about The Common Room was the opportunity to play a founding role in a unique project with such a rich heritage. I love older buildings and enjoy being part of the team that undertakes the transformation and the opening stage having done this at Jesmond Dene House and The Vermont Hotel. The Common Room has unexpectedly allowed me to have one further opportunity which has also given me a background insight into a non-hotel venue which has been very interesting and exciting.

What does The Common Room bring to the North East events sector?

The Common Room has taken the enormous potential of this beautiful Grade II listed building and reimagined it as one of Newcastle’s most exciting meeting and events venues. We have a number of superb spaces available for events and conferences and our location means we are perfectly placed with a range of accommodation’ amenities and transport connections on our doorstep. The Common Room really is the jewel in the crown of the city. We want businesses to become a part of our story so we are offering some great corporate sponsorship opportunities’ including the chance to buy a brick on our fabulous LEGO® brick model of The Common Room.

The Common Room has undergone a huge transformation. What is your favourite space and why?

The Wood Hall is our largest space with a capacity of up to 150. It’s an amazing Victorian space with a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows where you can breathe in the history and heritage. If you hold your business event in The Wood Hall’ you will most definitely feel inspired. We also have our Edwardian Lecture Theatre for up to 100 people. Originally built as a place for lectures on engineering in the early 20th century’ the Lecture Theatre has kept that unique charm while offering modern’ comfortable facilities. My most favourite space though is to stand in the main foyer outside the entrance to our new café bar 5|Quarter which used to be two offices – it totally intertwines the past with the present.

What type of catering does The Common Room offer?

The Common Room caters for all types of meetings and events for numbers of up to about 150 depending on event. We are incredibly flexible with our food and beverage offerings and are more than happy to work with clients and our catering team to create bespoke menus if required.

We’re also really proud of 5|Quarter’ our new café bar which is open to the public offering a locallysourced food menu. 5|Quarter is named after a coal seam that ran through the Great Northern Coalfield’ celebrating The Common Room’s industrial heritage.

The Common Room has been open for several months now’ what has the reaction been from visitors so far?

I think a lot of people didn’t know The Common Room was here so when they come in and see it’ they’re amazed that this wonderful hidden gem is open to them. There has been a real buzz since we opened. It’s been bustling with people from all walks of life’ from weddings’ to business meetings’ to former miners or engineers enjoying the history and innovation. That’s the great thing about The Common Room – it’s a place for everyone.

The Common Room of the Great North was established to manage the redevelopment of the former Mining Institute building following an award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £4.1m towards the initial project costs of £7.1m. Further funding to reflect the project costs due to the pandemic have seen a grant increase of £950’000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and £440’000 from other sources. The revised project costs due to covid-19 now stand at £8.9m of which c£1.2m is left to raise.

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