William Armstrong, Magician of the North has been shortlisted for the Portico Prize for Literature and the H. W. Fisher Best First Biography Prize. The book is now available in hardback, paperback and as an ebook. It has received ten 5-star reviews on Amazon. Also available from Booksetc.


First World War centenary

Armstrong Whitworth will feature prominently in the BBC's regional coverage of the centenary of the First World War, beginning in 2014. Anyone with personal or family links with the company during this period is invited to make contact here.

Armstrong Whitworth came into being in 1897, when Armstrong's took over its great rival Whitworth's of Manchester. In 1927 another merger, with Vickers of Sheffield and Barrow, created Vickers-Armstrongs.


Len Deighton on Armstrong
Banqueting hall reaches 150
Swan and the light bulb
Thomas Sopwith's diary
The life of Anne Armstrong
Monster gun revealed


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Dramatic revival of the Admirable Speech

Sir William Armstrong's presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science has been dramatically revived by the actor Chris Connel. Connel's highly acclaimed performance – recorded live – took place in King's Hall, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University, as part of the British Science Festival 2013. It marked the 150th anniversary of the original speech, delivered in 1863.

'Armstrong's Admirable Speech', as Charles Darwin called it, covers a truly astonishing array of subjects, including the future of coal mining and the need to develop sustainable energy sources such as electricity and water power.

The event was chaired by Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central and a shadow cabinet office minister. Dr Andy Kerr, executive director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) gave a short talk about the extraction and use of carbon today and took part in an audience Q&A.

The 17-year-old musician Tristan Selden, from Longframlington in Northumberland, played the Northumbrian pipes to welcome audience and speaker to King's Hall, the heart of Newcastle University. A carbon-themed artwork by Jennie Speirs Grant of Armstrong Studio Trust, Newcastle, accompanied the presentation.



The event was filmed by Lodestone Studios, with the aim of creating a lasting educational resource. The organisers would like to thank Barbour and the British Science Association for their generous sponsorship.


More information about the Admirable Speech is available in the programme (click left).

A transcript of Chris Connel's anniversary performance is available on request.

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