Film ID:
NEFA 21792

FENWICK 1882 - 1982


Visitor Tabs


A promotional film about the history of the family run Fenwick department stores made as part of the company’s 100th anniversary in 1982. The film uses a mixture of paintings, historic photographs and Fenwick's own archive material to tell the story of the development of the company from the arrival of John James Fenwick, the founder of the company, in Newcastle in 1868 to the present day. The film capturing some of the company’s key milestones including the opening the first store in Newcastle in 1882, their first store in New Bond Street, London in 1891 and the 140,000sqft store at Brent Cross in London opened in the 1970s.

The film opens on a series of still images showing women in green sashes showing people around the ‘Great Fenwick Picture Show’. A crowd sit in a darkened theatre; an image of the Newcastle High Level Bridge appears on the screen.

Title: Fenwick 1882-1982

Title: Newcastle upon Tyne 1882

A picture of John James Fenwick, the founder of the company, is followed by images from the painting ‘Newcastle and the River Tyne in 1895: Bridges and Ships’ painted by Niels Moller Lund to indicate what the city would have been like when John James arrived from Richmond in Swaledale in 1868. A series of black and white photographs follows next showing views of coalmines and the steam locomotive Puffin Billy on a display plinth. The film fades to show another painting of the Newcastle quayside with a number of sailing ships moored alongside it. This is followed by a pen and ink drawings of workers at the Armstrong Whitworth factory standing beside a large naval gun.

Title 1868

More black and white photographs and colour paintings of Newcastle follow as the narrator describes the early career of John James Fenwick within the retail sector in Newcastle.

Title: Fenwick

Title: A Store in the City. A City Itself.

Several photographic views showing various architectural features is followed by an image of a fabric emblem for the company Charles Bragg & Company where John James Fenwick had risen to the position of manager. More architectural features are intercut with archival photographs to help visualise both John James professional life as well as personal marrying Mary Burnard in 1872 and the birth of his four children; Fred, Arthur, Herbert and daughter May.

A pen and ink drawing showing the first store opened in Northumberland Street in 1882 is followed by a series of black and white photographs of the interior of the store as well as the development of other properties. An article in a magazine or newspaper describes the sale of the first item on the first day being a sealskin handbag. The sequence ends on contemporary images of a stone road sign for ‘Northumberland Street’ and the Fenwick logo about the display window on their Northumberland Street store.

The film changes to show images from their first sales catalogue from 1882 advertising ‘ladies walking gowns’. Images follow of models from the 1920’s and them images from an earlier period for the sale of corsets with the narrator reading from the catalogue. An image for the Burbury brand showing a knight on horseback promotes Fenwick being appointed an agent for the brand in Newcastle for ‘waterproof garments for ladies wear’.

Title: New Bond Street 1891

Archive photographs show London and the Bond Street area of the period. A newspaper article describes the purchase of buildings in New Bond Street and Brook Street by John James Fenwick. A photograph shows a trellis shop interior, possibly in the Fenwick store, popular at this time. This is followed by a photograph of the store on the corner on of Bond and Brook Street around the time of it’s opening on the 12th December 1891.  

The portrait photograph of John James Fenwick seen previously is shown followed by images from a theatre programme for a production of ‘Trilby’ and the lead actress whose costume was designed by John James. Colourful promotional images follow of the new Fenwick Terrace Tea Room at their store in Newcastle as well as image of the menu and a poster for the ‘Guy Bland and the Terrace Tea Room Orchestra’. Other promotional images follow for various sales, Christmas events and other activities taking place in the store during the early part of the 20th century.

The film cuts to a 1970s photograph of the Fenwick department store at Brent Cross in London. This is followed by an image of the store on Northumberland Street in  Newcastle. Contemporary photographs follow of Fenwick stores in Leicester, Oxford and Windsor.

The film ends showing images of people looking in the department window in Newcastle and shopping in the store.

End title: Fenwick

End credit: Narrative Dick Graham

End credit: Paintings from the collection at the Laing Art Gallery Newcastle Upon Tyne and the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear County Council Museums

End credit:  Pictures of old London by courtesy of the Francis Frith collection

End credit: Special Pictorial material from the archive of Fenwick's Ltd (London and Newcastle)

End credit: Design and production by Sparks Associates Ltd, Colchester, England

End credit:  Special photography by Photo Mayo Ltd, Gateshead