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Fenwick Newcastle celebrates its 140th anniversary!

We popped down to see how Newcastle’s iconic department store is celebrating its milestone birthday...

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 24.03.2022

After first opening its doors back in March 1882, Fenwick has always been at the heart of Newcastle.

And it’s safe to say that nearly all of us share fond memories of visiting the famous Fenwick’s window, shopping for gifts in its tremendous toy department, or losing track of time in its fabulous food hall. Yep, this iconic department store holds a special place in the hearts of every generation.

To mark its 140th anniversary, Fenwick is hosting a parade of celebratory collaborations, exclusive events and thrilling activities – including a live circus show this weekend.

As well as providing many of us with memories to cherish since our childhood, over the decades Fenwick has also been at the centre of empowering women through fashion. So, to capture this, Fenwick has launched Exhibition 140, which showcases pieces designed by Northumbria University fashion students who have used rarely-seen Fenwick’s archives for inspiration to tell the brand’s story.

The exhibition and wider celebrations represent founder John James Fenwick’s visionary ability to dress women for modern life, as well as his son Arthur – who ran away with the circus for several years – and his lifelong passion for the circus’s spirit of curiosity, discovery, playfulness and individuality.

Here’s what we can expect from the packed programme celebrating this landmark year in Newcastle’s history…

Exhibition 140

From Thursday 24th March

Fenwick has partnered with Northumbria University’s BA fashion programme to inspire students to create fashion pieces which showcase their brand’s story. Drawing influence from the rich Fenwick archive, the students have created contemporary reimaginations of pieces and stories they discovered to produce fashion which symbolises female empowerment today.

Café 140

A new café has opened as part of the celebrations, which now serves us a show-stopping breakfast and weekend brunch, beloved lunch dishes created from only the finest ingredients, sumptuous cream teas and joyously nostalgic cakes and desserts. All the contemporary dishes on the menu are inspired by Fenwick’s rich history of hospitality and dining experiences.

The Woman Who… Podcast Series Narrated by Zawe Ashton 

Whilst celebrating its history, Fenwick is also making history in the modern day with the launch of its first podcast series. ‘The Woman Who…’ – narrated by actress Zawe Ashton – celebrates women past and present who embody female empowerment.

For 140 years, Fenwick has dressed and worked with modern women for modern life, from stage and film actresses and princesses to motorcar drivers and aviation pioneers. To continue this legacy, the series will consist of 10, 10-minute episodes featuring inspirational stories which will be released weekly.



Exclusive Brand Collaborations

Fenwick and its brand partners, which include the likes of Edeline LeeRixo, Paul Smith and Never Fully Dressed, will draw inspiration from its founder – a dressmaker with a bold, entrepreneurial spirit whose creations always appealed to the modern woman – in creating exclusive collections across womenswear, menswear, beauty and fashion accessories.

Live Circus Performance

Saturday 26th March

Inspired by Arthur Fenwick’s love of the circus, head along to Fenwick this Saturday and witness a spectacular live circus performance at 11am. Prepare to be amazed by some of the finest circus performers from the UK and beyond – including a gravity-defying aerialist, an internationally renowned hula-hooper and some spectacular acrobats. Performers will then move inside to dazzle us throughout the afternoon, with performances at 1pm and 3pm.

For more information about Fenwick’s celebrations and to stay up to date with events, visit their website, Instagram and Facebook.

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