Northumbrian Cambridge Association members meet in most months for walks, talks, concerts, films, an annual dinner, an AGM with a lecture and supper, and freshers and festive events.

Find out more below from our newsletters, recent and past meetings, and AGM minutes.

NCA Newsletters

Our newsletters are published in January and July each year. The current newsletter (#21) and nine previous ones (13-21) can be viewed by clicking on the images below. Earlier newslettters can be found on our archive page.

Please note that older newsletters (pre 2021) can be very large documents (the largest pdf file is 1 Gigabyte and will take time to download).





Past Meetings

Prospective NCA members are welcome to attend one of our meetings and bring guests. There is a record of previous events below. More detail on 2021 and subsequent events can be found in newsletters (above).


Saturday, May 11th 2024

Hexham Races

We enjoyed six exciting races at Hexham, including The Heart of all England Hunter Chase! Situated 600 feet above Hexham, Hexham Racecourse takes full advantage of its natural amphitheatre setting to provide superb viewing of racing. The left-handed undulating track extending to 1 mile 4 furlongs places emphasis on stamina and is surrounded by magnificent countryside. We enjoyed the meeting and some of us won more than we wagered.

Wednesday March 13th 2024

NCA Annual Dinner
Northern Counties Club, Newcastle

The 2024 annual dinner of the Northumbrian Cambridge Association was again held in the splendid surroundings of the Northern Counties Club in the centre of Newcastle. We have dined here over the last nine years, and had another enjoyable evening there again .


Saturday December 9th, 2023

Festive Film and Tea

Tyneside Cinema

For ten years now our Festive Afternoon Tea and Film at the Tyneside has proved to be a wonderful pre-Christmas treat for members, guests, and children. We gathered in the Tyneside Cinema’s digital lounge, decorated for Christmas. We were served a glass of prosecco followed by sandwiches, cakes, and tea or coffee on vintage china. After tea and a chance to chat, we very much enjoyed a showing of It's a Wonderful Life, even those of us who've seen it several times now.

Friday December 1st, 2023

Christmas Lunch 

County Hotel
Newcastle upon Tyne

This year we again booked the County Hotel, a fine Grade 2 listed Victorian hotel with many of its original features.  As last year, we will dined in the beautiful County Suite, exclusively ours, together with its own bar, for the duration of the lunch. We met in the bar before hand and then moved through for a marvellous lunch, followed by some fun Christmas quizzes.

Sunday October 22nd, 2023

Autumn Concert
Glasshouse International Centre for Music (formerly the Sage Gateshead)

A select group of Abba fans met for a drink before the Abbamania concert.  NCA committee member Peter Cleland tells us that there was a wide spectrum of age groups represented but he was relieved to see that he was not the oldest.

There were a surprising number of young women in the audience who were clearly on the lookout for a lively evening.
We were treated to the full retinue of Abba songs starting with Mama Mia. There was little dialogue in between the songs.
As the evening continued the audience became more lively with most of us standing and swaying side to side with the music.

As always Abba songs were uplifting and everyone left feeling more positive and optimistic and perhaps a bit nostalgic for those good old days.

Wednesday October 4th, 2023

AGM and Annual Lecture

Martin Luther King in Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1967

This talk revealed the circumstances surrounding Martin Luther King  Jr’s remarkable trip to Newcastle upon Tyne in November 1967 – his last trip outside the United States before his murder in April 1968 and the only time he visited anywhere in the UK outside London.

Thursday September 21st, 2023

Freshers' Reception, Lit & Phil, Newcastle

Five committee members welcomed 15 freshers, one parent, and four returning second year students to a lively reception at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle.

Saturday  September 9, 2023

(Late) Summer Barbecue

We held a late summer barbecue at the house of NCA president, Heather Cordell. This was well attended, and very well provisioned. The weather was good to us. It was good to catch up with NCA members.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

The Auckland Project
Bishop Auckland

We visited the striking replica siege tower for a panorama of buildings restored by the Auckland Project, a regeneration charity working to establish Bishop Auckland as a heritage visitor destination following the demise of its mining industry. After this, we split up to visit the newly opened Spanish Gallery and the Mining Art Gallery. We then gathered for lunch in Auckland Palace before visiting the refurbished palace/castle and its visiting Sin exhibition from the National Gallery. It was a very full day and many of us will be returning for a second or third look.

Saturday, May 27th, 2023

Ryhope Engines Museum

The Museum is based at the Ryhope Pumping Station, which was built in 1868. The station ceased operation in 1967, after 100 years of continuous use. Ryhope Pumping Station has been a local icon ever since its construction. The Station and Site supplied water to Sunderland and its environs, after its decommissioning, the building and the surrounding site brings the community together through local history.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Annual Dinner
Northern Counties Club, Newcastle

This was the ninth annual dinner held at the Northern Counties Club in Newcastle (the first was in 1930). As a result of member feedback, werelaxed the dress code to smart casual (black-tie optional) and everyone had a relaxed evening. As ever, the Club’s excellent chef provided a wonderful three-course meal, followed by coffee/tea. Committee members Joanna Quinton and Ian Lawley shared their experiences at Cambridge (ice hockey and rogue Varsity supplements respectively) and toasted the university and the NCA. It was a very enjoyable evening for everyone there.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Winter Outing
National Glass Centre, Sunderland

We visited the National Glass Centre in Sunderland for a private demonstration of Glass Blowing, followed by individual visits to the shop and galleries, and then lunch in the pod (with excellent chips!). Several of us walked to the river mouth after lunch, with a few carrying on up the beach and through Roker Park to Seaburn for the metro back to Newcastle. Although somewhat chilly first thing, it warmed up slightly and there were marvellous clear views.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Festive Afternoon Tea & Film
'm Alright Jack
Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Now in its ninth year, the NCA Festive Afternoon Tea and Film at the Tyneside proved again to be a wonderful
pre-Christmas treat. We followed a glass of prosecco with sandwiches, cakes, tea or coffee on vintage china. We were then thoroughly entertained by the classic British comedy I’m All Right Jack, which proved to be far more topical than we had expected when we booked this film. We were close to capacity in the Tyneside Cinema’s digital lounge. The film was as funny now as it was in 1959. We all left smiling.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Christmas Lunch
County Hotel, Newcastle

We again met for Christmas Lunch at this fine Grade 2 Listed Victorian hotel with many original features. As last
time, we had the beautiful County Suite with bar and dining area to ourselves. A great time was had by all with a very enjoyable lunch followed by festive carols.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Autumn Concert
Queen's Hall, Hexham

For this year’s autumn concert, we reserved tickets
at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham to hear the Teesside duo
Megson: Debs (Vocals, Whistle, Piano Accordion) and Stu
Hanna (Guitar, Mandola, Banjo). Megson have several
award nominations and successes. Contradicshun, their
2019 album, brought then much critical acclaim including
The Sunday Times Folk Album of the Week.

We dined beforehand at Danielle’s Bistro, 12 Eastgate,
Hexham, NE46 1BH. We all enjoyed the evening.

7th October  2022

AGM & Annual Lecture
Lit & Phil, Newcastle
Coming Soonish, Design Tripos

The annual lecture after the AGM and buffet on October 7th was to be given by Sir Liam Donaldson. Unfortunately, a change to his travel plans means that he could no longer be in Newcastle as arranged . NCA Honorary Secretary Gilbert Cockton stepped in to give a replacement lecture.

In November 2021, the university announced a new tripos in Design, to begin in 2024. Gilbert's lecture briefly covered the professors involved, what makes design different to almost all existing Cambridge disciplines, and how creative work can is made possible via a range of practices that continue to improve through innovative approaches within design projects.

Wednesday 14th September 2022

Freshers' Reception
Lit & Phil, Newcastle

We once again welcomed freshers from the north east and their guests to a reception before they went up for their first term at Cambridge University. Although the turnout was lower than in 2021, the event was very lively and sociable. All those who attended found it very valuable. We hope to see some of them back for future fresher and student events.

Saturday 23rd July 2022

Summer Walks: Wylam, Tyne Riverside Park and Close House

Following the successful addition of summer walks to the NCA programme in 2021, we visited Wylam for two walks and a pub lunch.

Saturday 18th June 2022

Summer Outing

Brancepeth Castle

We visited the Grade 1 listed medieval Brancepeth Castle in the village of Brancepeth, some 5 miles south-west of the city of Durham. First constructed in the mid-12th century, it has a dynamic history, constantly changing hands and use. Tea/coffee and biscuits preceded a tour of the castle (exterior  and principal interiors) led by a member of the current owner’s family. A light lunch was provided followed by an opportunity to buy postcards, guidebooks, and other merchandise.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Spring Outing and Walk

Raby Castle

We visited Raby Castle, a medieval castle located near Staindrop in County Durham, among 200 acres of deer park. It is famed for both its size and its art, including works by old masters and portraits.

We had in refreshments the Grand Hall, prior to a tour of the Castle, which was followed by lunch in the servants' kitchen. After lunch, some of us completed two or three of the walking routes through the 200 acre estate, with views of herds of red and fallow deer.

Saturday April 23, 2022

Spring Outing
Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens

We visited Kirkley Hall, long known as an agricultural college, which has trained thousands of young guardians of the British countryside. In recent years it has expanded its Animal Management programme to encompass more exotic species in its zoological garden. It now has a range of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatics, and runs events that introduce the public at close quarters to a variety of species.

Wednesday March 16, 2022

NCA Annual Dinner

The 2022 dinner was a special occasion, after last year’s cancellation. Once again it was be held in the Northern Counties Club in the centre of Newcastle. We dined there over  seven years to 2020. We very much enjoyed returning.

Saturday February 26, 2022

Winter Outing
Heritage Centre at Bellingham

The Heritage Centre at Bellingham tells the stories of the people of the North Tyne and Rede valleys through text, imagery, sound and, of course, objects. The displays present the social, agricultural and industrial history of the area as well as a small section about the Border Reivers.

Following the museum visit, weparted company and explored Bellingham village and had lunch. After lunch, some of us walked to Hareshaw Linn.


Saturday December 11, 2021

Festive Afternoon Tea and Film
Tyneside Cinema

For several years now, our Festive Afternoon Tea and Film at the Tyneside has proved to be a wonderful pre-Christmas treat. After a two year break, we returned to Tyneside Cinema’s digital lounge, beautifully decorated with Christmas baubles, tree, stockings and a cheerful fire. A glass of prosecco was followed by sandwiches, cakes, tea or coffee on vintage china, and popcorn and a candy cane to go with the film, Meet me in St Louis, starring Judy Garland at the age of 21 in one of her early roles.

Friday December 3, 2021

Christmas Lunch, County Hotel, Newcastle

After a two year pandemic pause , we were delighted to return to the County Hotel, on Neville Street, opposite Newcastle Central Station. This fine Grade 2 Listed Victorian hotel has preserved many of its original features. We dined in the beautiful County Suite, exclusively ours, together with its own bar, for the duration of the lunch.

Sunday November  28, 2021

Autumn Concert,Sage, Gateshead

Marking a return to large-scale music making, and in memory of those who have lost their lives to Covid-19,
this performance featured a massed orchestra and choir, consisting of Royal Northern Sinfonia, Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia (including your own NCA President, Heather Cordell), and over 200 musicians from the North East community.

We were immersed in the wonderful sound produced by 250 musicians and singers . It was a truly uplifting, dramatic and memorable rendering of this dramatic Requiem and very special to attend a live choral concert after the cultural desert induced by the pandemic.

Friday September 17, 2021

AGM and Annual Lecture

The annual lecture Violence and Hope on Pakistan’s Border: an Educational Encounter was given after the AGM  by  Dr David L. Gosling, well known as both a scientist and a theologian.This was originally scheduled for 2020, but was highly topical after a delay of one year.

Monday September 13, 2021

Freshers Reception

We welcomed 46 undergraduate and postgraduate freshers and their guests to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Friday June 18, 2021

Two Walks along the Ouseburn, Newcastle

Peter Cleland and Gilbert Cockton respectively led shorter (2 hours) and longer walks (4 hours) down the Ouseburn and back. We had a coffee stop at The Cycle Hub.

Wednesday 31st March 2021

Online talk
The Work of the HALO Trust
Chris Loughran

Chris is Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor for The Halo Trust and leads their global advocacy strategy as well as the organisation's policy change agenda. He is also responsible for leading political engagement in the UK. Chris is an accomplished spokesperson, with a decade of experience of high-level representation at the United Nations. He has over thirteen years of senior management and leadership experience in the UK and overseas, including three years as Country Director in Iraq.

The Halo Trust is an international humanitarian NGO working in 25 countries affected by conflict, instability, and humanitarian crises. HALO specialises in clearing landmines and addressing human suffering caused by small arms and ammunition.

The Halo Trust helps countries recover after conflict. Whilst clearing landmines, to save lives, is at the heart of what they do, they continue to work with communities that are too often forgotten once the fighting has ended.

Chris talked about the work of HALO and their recently established Action on Conflict campaign. He stressed the increased influence of the north east through the recenrly elected Conservative MPs in 'red wall' constituencies.

For more information on HALO's work, see:

Thursday February 25 2021

Online talk
Ruth Dodds and Tyneside in the 1920s, Margaret Bozic MBE

Margaret, a retired Chartered Surveyor, lives in Washington and is a former Board member of the Lit and Phil, and a current Trustee of the Tyne and Wear Buildings Preservation Trust. She gives regular talks to organisations including U3A, Rotary and WI groups. Before Covid, she led tours and walks in the region and hopes to do so again soon.

Ruth Dodds was born in 1890 and lived in Gateshead. She was a playwright, Quaker, volunteer and local politician. She joined the Labour Party after the First World War and was one of the first women to be elected to Gateshead Council in 1929. In 1939 she resigned from the Labour Party in protest at its support for war, and although she later rejoined she was not as politically active. She was made the first woman Freeman of Gateshead in 1965. Together with her sisters, Hope and Sylvia, she helped to found the Little Theatre in Gateshead. Ruth Dodds kept diaries, from which this interesting and inspiring talk took extracts and placed them in the context of  Tyneside in the 1920s .


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Zoom quiz

22 members and partners registered for an online quiz. Committee members prepared five questions each. Colin Dunnighan's visual questions were outstanding. Sue Austin was the clear winner. Attendees enjoyed the evening and looked forward to futher online events.

March 11, 2020

Northern Counties Club

90th Anniversary
Annual Dinner

February 8, 2020

Discovery Museum

Winter Outing


December 14, 2019

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Festive Afternoon Tea and Film with the Digital Lounge all to ourselves for the
classic 1952 drama,
The Holly and the Ivy.

December 11, 2019

Revolution, Newcastle

Freshers’ Reunion

Friday, December 6

County Hotel, Newcastle

Christmas Lunch

November 24, 2019

Sage, Gateshead

Pre-Concert Dinner and Concert
The Pitmen Poets

Friday, September 27

The Kennedys and the Gores
Professor Tony Badger

AGM and Annual Lecture 

September 16, 2019

Freshers’ Welcome Party 


June 16, 2019

River Tyne cruise

Summer Outing

June 2, 2019.

Chillingham Castle

Spring Walk

April 27, 2019

Bowes Museum,
Barnard Castle

Spring Outing

Wednesday, March 13

Northern Counties Club

Annual Dinner

February 9, 2019

Lit & Phil and
UTC (Stephenson Quarter), Newcastle

Winter Outing


December 15, 2018

Tyneside Cinema,
Newcastle upon Tyne

Festive Afternoon Tea & Film
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)


December 7, 2018

County Hotel,
Newcastle upon Tyne

Christmas Lunch


November 6, 2018

Sage, Gateshead.

Sixties Gold Final Tour with
Pre-Concert Dinner


September 28, 2018

Stalin's Playlist
Professor Marina Frolova-Walker

AGM & Annual Lecture

June 9, 2018

Togston Hall East Lodge and Amble

Summer Outing

Older Meetings before June 2018

The links below let you look at details and photographs of past meetings.

Spring Walk 2018

Spring Outing 2018

Annual Dinner 2018

Winter 2018

2017 Meetings

2016 Meetings

2015 Meetings

2014 Meetings 

Photographs of these meetings (plus some before 2014) can be found via the drop down menus on Archive options (web: top right; mobile: last down arrow (˅) on top of page menu (). If you can't see a ≡ on your mobile, then you need to switch to the full site (usually via a link at the bottom of the page).

Minutes of Previous AGMs 

You can view previous AGM minutes using the buttons below