Images that recall Newcastle’s Northumberland Street at Christmas 55 years ago, courtesy of the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust
This was the colourful festive scene in central Newcastle in December, 1965.
Folk were approaching the end of a year which had seen cigarette adverts banned on UK television; the speed limit on motorways capped at 70mph; and racial unrest in inner cities reflect the changing demography of the British people.
The Beatles were on the rise; the mini skirt made its first appearance in London; and Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison and fled to Brazil.
As Christmas arrived in the North East 55 years ago, the Fab Four were number one in the pop charts with Day Tripper; Doctor Zhivago was a new release at the cinema; and up at St James’ Park, newly-promoted Newcastle United were toiling in 19th position in football’s First Division – although they would claw their way to 15th place and survival by the end of the season.
David Dunn, the trustee of the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust, kindly sent us these striking images of Newcastle’s Northumberland Street illuminated by Christmas lights in December, 1965.
At that time, the road was still one of the main traffic routes through the city, and shoppers had to dodge passing cars, lorries and buses. It would not be pedestrianised until 1998.
Our vivid night-time photos will bring back memories for folk who remember the city and its shops in the mid 1960s.
In our main image, we see once-popular stores C&A, Eve Brown and Woodhouse.
In another, as the 66 bus to Swarland Avenue in Benton pulls in at a bus stop, we see another lost retail favourite, British Home Stores.
In our third image, we can see the corner of the Woolworths store which had traded there since 1913 and, next door, Fenwick’s Christmas window – but with a difference!
Back in 1965, the annual themed festive displays we know and love today were yet to arrive, and we can see regular mannikins. The first Christmas window – featuring a Camberwick Green presentation – would go on show in 1971.
Our final image shows the still-present Marks and Spencer – although it was a smaller incarnation then – and the now-departed shoe shop Freeman Hardy Willis, a favourite brand that disappeared in the early 1990s.
The Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust, as its name suggests, curates and archives old photographs of North East railways and rail infrastructure, as well as buses, collieries, and shipping – but also other miscellaneous subjects, such as the images here.
There are around 500,000 images currently in the collection of the Trust which was started by a group of enthusiasts following the death of North East railway aficionado, Jack Armstrong.
If you have any transport images you’d like to share with the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust collection, email David Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our new Memory Lane local history website.