Sutherland Building, College Street,
Sutherland Building, College Street, Image: Newcastle University
Rutherford College,
Rutherford College, Bath Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, from a drawing by T.R. Dawson 1887, Image: Northumbria University
Sutherland Building,
Sutherland Building, College Street, Image: Andrew Curtis, CC BY-SA 2.0, Geograph
Former Dame Allan's School,
Former Dame Allan's School, College Street, Image: Newcastle University
City Campus East,
City Campus East, Image: Peter McDermott, CC BY-SA 2.0, Geograph
Northumbria University,
Northumbria University, City Campus East, Image: Newcastle University

Charity Details:
Full Name: University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Field: Higher Education
Founded: 1894
Headquarters: Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST
Charity No.: N/A

History and Activities

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business-focused, professional institution with a global reputation for academic excellence. A bold, confident and ambitious university, it is an institution that embraces the future and faces challenges head-on.

The University can trace its origins back to three technical colleges which were established in the 19th century; namely, Rutherford College of Technology, the College of Art & Industrial Design and the Municipal College of Commerce. These colleges were deeply involved in the industrial expansion taking place across the North East in the 19th century, providing education and skills to the region's rapidly expanding industrial workforce.

Rutherford College was established in 1880 by the evangelist and social reformer Reverend John Hunter Rutherford (1826-1890). The official opening ceremony of its Bath Lane premises was carried out by the Duke of York (later King George V) and provided an opportunity for participants to contribute donations towards the £24,000 construction costs. The ceremony raised over £950, which included £100 from Lord Armstrong. In addition to providing cash, Rutherford’s personal contribution had included securing a long-lease on the building from Newcastle Council in 1890. At its opening, the college benefited from 37 rooms and laboratories providing state-of-the-art facilities and a broad syllabus which combined arts, science and the humanities. The college was renamed Rutherford Memorial College in 1894 after the death of Reverend Rutherford.

In 1947, shipping entrepreneur Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland (1867 – 1953) donated £50,000 to facilitate the Dental School at what was then King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne, part of the University of Durham, to move to the renovated former medical school building in Northumberland Road. The building is now known as the Sutherland Building and is a central part of academic life at the university.

More than 130 years on, Northumbria is empowering a new generation of innovators, visionaries and change-makers to transform lives, to make a remarkable impact on the world, and to take on tomorrow. Northumbria has students from over 134 countries and a growing international presence, with partners in Singapore, Indonesia, China and beyond.

The University has seen success in national and international league tables this year. Northumbria was ranked 48th in the UK for the second year in a row in The Guardian in 2019 – the University’s highest ever league table position – and it also significantly increased its standing in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 where it is now ranked in the top 401-500. The University has also seen a dramatic rise in its position for research in the world rankings, climbing 273 places in the last year from 522nd to 249th place. This positions Northumbria firmly within the global upper quartile for research citations.

Northumbria has also continued to invest in its campuses to ensure the University’s students have access to world-class facilities. In the last 18 months alone, the University has invested a further £52m, following £200m spent on facilities and new buildings in the last decade. These new developments included Student Central, which opened its doors at City Campus in September last year; a new £7m Computer and Information Sciences building, which was completed in April; and stunning new Architecture Studios, which are set to open in 2019 as part of an ambitious extension of the Grade II listed Sutherland Building.

Since 2012 the university has received donations from approximately 200 individuals. In 2017, the university reported receiving £579,000 from trusts and foundations supporting a range of research activities.

Vital Statistics (year to 31/07/2017)

Total Income (TI):
£ 248,291,000
Philanthropic Income (PI):
£ 579,000
PI as % of TI:
£ 243,789,000
Endowment at Year End:
£ 5,000,000



Allen, J. & Buswell, R. (2005). Rutherford's Ladder: The Making of Northumbria University, 1871-1996, Newcastle: Northumbria University Press.

Northumbria University. (2018). Northumbria University – History, Available here (Accessed: 12/10/2018).

Northumbria University. (2017). Annual Accounts and Financial Statements 2016/7, Available here (Accessed: 12/10/2018).

Northumbria University. (2018). Donor Roll, Available here (Accessed 19/10/2018).