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140 Years of Fenwicks



It’s 140 years today since Fenwick’s on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street opened its doors to Tyneside shoppers.

Opening on March 23, 1882, as a humble single shop, today the department store carries the reputation as the region’s foremost retail attraction. With its top-of-the-range household goods, array of high fashion, sumptuous food hall, variety of restaurants and cafes, and its famous Christmas window display, the store has been cited as Newcastle’s own version of Harrods.

Fenwicks circa 1910

Older than Newcastle United (1892) and the Tyne Bridge (1928, Fenwicks is known as one of the founding staples of our beloved city.

It was a mantle-maker and furrier called John James Fenwick who opened a single shop at 5 Northumberland Street 140 years ago.

At the time the street was becoming increasingly commercialised, being described as a row of old brick houses that “are rapidly becoming shops”. It’s hard to imagine today that the retail giant started life as a single house snapped up by the young shop assistant for the sum of £181.

The business initially sold mantles, silk goods, dresses, fabrics and trimming, but expansion was rapid and Fenwick and his son, Fred, soon bought up adjoining Northumberland Street properties, numbers 37 and 38 – and later number 40. These formed the shop frontage still used by Fenwick’s in 2022.

Inside Fenwicks: 1922

The store has also been recognised for the important role it has played in supporting the city’s economy, employing thousands of staff through the generations.

Newcastle City Council’s Director of Place, Michelle Percy, said: “Fenwick department store has been at the heart of Newcastle city centre since 1882 and is part of our history, heritage and culture. As a flagship store, it’s a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike many of whom come to shop from overseas.

Newcastle Central Labour MP Chi Onwurah said: “Fenwicks of Newcastle is a proud symbol of our city centre. Founded in our city, [it is] the pride of Northumberland and the source of so much joy, as well as the object of so many dreams and ambitions.

“Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Fenwick windows and our city wouldn’t be the same without Fenwicks!”

Fenwicks flyer: 1948

In 2022 the famous brand has branches in Bond Street and Brent Cross in London, and in Bracknell, Canterbury, Colchester, Kingston, Tunbridge Wells and York – as well as in Newcastle of course were it all started. Kieran McBride, Fenwick’s Newcastle store director, said: “This is a very exciting year for us at Fenwick as we celebrate the 140th anniversary of our very first store here in Newcastle.

“To mark the occasion, we have a fantastic line-up of spectacular events starting with a thrilling circus performance this Saturday inspired by our founder’s son’s love of the circus. There are also all-new celebratory in-store experiences such as Café 140 and Exhibition 140 which explore our rich archive and showcase future talent through our work with Northumbria University.

“We will announce a series of further events in the coming weeks which we are incredibly excited to share with you all. Fenwick has always been proud to be a big part of the community here in Newcastle and we can’t wait to welcome you all to join our celebrations.”

Fenwicks: 1966

What’s your fondest memory of Fenwicks?

Best of North East

Doner Kebab Toastie Introduced at Tynemouth Market



Mardi Gras No. 58 have made the ‘Doner Delish’ a permanent addition to their toastie menu.

This mouth-watering meal has been unveiled by a food stall at Tynemouth Market, where it “went down a storm” with customers on its debut weekend at the end of last month. So much so, the husband and wife duo Nicki Thompson and Dean Thompson, have made it a permanent addition to their Tynemouth Market food stall.

The couple set up their Mardi Gras No.58 food stall at the popular market in October last year, specialising in sourdough toasties “with a twist”.

The stall strives to serve up “quirky and modern” toasties  like the customer favourite Popeye Pesto, a toastie filled with pesto-coated chicken, spinach and cheese. Or for those who like a kick, there’s also the Buffalo Badboy, made of spicy beef mince with jalapenos and fresh chillies.

Mardi Gras has already taken inspiration from other popular takeaway dishes, with their Pizza Pepperoni toastie sandwiching pizza toppings between two sourdough slices.

Packed with doner meat, crispy red onion, gooey melted cheese, and finished off with garlic and chilli sauce, Nicki and Dean urged people via their Facebook page: “Don’t knock it until you try it!”.

The couple have hinted at toastie fans to “watch this space” for more indulgent inventions from Mardi Gras No. 58 coming soon!

What takeaway delight would you like to see in toastie form next? We’d love to try a take on the Teesside parmo!

Would you try the ‘Doner Delish’?

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Newcastle International named UK and Irish Airport of the Year in travel awards



Newcastle International has been named the UK and Irish airport of the year at the so called “toughest to win” travel awards.

The airport scooped the top spot at the Travel Industry Awards 2022, after being voted for by leaders across the tourism industry. The panel of judges were impressed by Newcastle Airport due to its ” strong new routes across a range of airlines and its impressive six-minute security average”.

They also noted its carbon measurement reduction strategy, with the airport aiming to become a net zero carbon airport by 2035, significantly earlier than many other European airport targets. The awards, which are put on by the Travel Trade Gazette, aim to recognise overall performance, support for trade partners, contribution to a fairer travel industry and smarter products.

Now in their second year, the Travel Industry Awards are considered some of the toughest in the industry due to a “robust” system of judging, and hundreds of entries for each spot. Newcastle was one of several entrants for UK and Irish Airport of the year, and was shortlisted alongside Birmingham Airport, George Best Belfast City Airport and London Stansted.

Nick Jones, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: ” This achievement is a testament to the work and dedication of employees and business partners across the Airport who have come together to create positive passenger experiences,” adding: “It is a great achievement for everyone at the Airport who has contributed to the award-winning service we deliver.”

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Greggs and Just Eat launch free sausage roll giveaway for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend



Greggs has teamed up with Just Eat to offer customers free sausage rolls in time for the Queen’s big Jubilee weekend. Between tomorrow (June 2) and Sunday (June 5) anyone ordering a Greggs – which is based in Newcastle from Just Eat will receive a free sausage roll or vegan sausage roll, when they spend £10 or more on food or drink!

Better still, sausage roll fans will be pleased to know that the big Jubilee weekend also happens to coincide with National Sausage Roll Day on Sunday, making it the perfect excuse to bag yourself one!

“A national icon with the power to unite Britons up and down the country, the humble pastry is set to claim a starring roll in the Queen’s big weekend,” Greggs said in a statement.

Separately, JustEat is offering a 20 per cent discount on all orders from restaurtants with the word “royal” in their name. To claim this, use the code “ROYAL20” at checkout.

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