Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Do We Still Meet at the 'Kissing Clock' after All These Years?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Do We Still Meet at the 'Kissing Clock' after All These Years?

Article excerpt

SIXTY-FIVE years ago - and it was a busy weekend shopping day in central Newcastle. We see, in our main photograph, people and traffic competing for space at the corner of Blackett Street.

It was a bit quieter when our 2018 picture of the same location was taken.

In both main images, we see the famous golden clock of Northern Goldsmiths jewellery store. For decades, shoppers, revellers and lovers have used the clock as a city centre meeting place.

The store itself has sat on the corner of Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street since 1892 - the same year Newcastle United was formed just up the road.

It was once the head office of several other Goldsmiths stores around the region, before the company's expansion throughout the UK.

Back then, as a small family business founded by a Northumbrian called Thomas Cooke, it supplied Newcastle-made watches and marine chronometers to the Admiralty during the Great War from its workshop.

It managed to thrive during the austere years of post-war Britain, and is renowned today as a leader in the luxury watch market.

In 1935, the company installed the iconic golden clock - with a metallic lady Venus adorning a Rolex clock and finished in 24ct gold leaf, her outstretched arms symbolising progress.

The clock, which chimes every 15 minutes, has been the scene of numerous proposals over the years. It is still sometimes referred to locally as "the kissing clock" by old romantics.

For the folk in our 1953 photograph, eight years after the end of World War II, the country was slowly on the mend.

It was the year children in the region welcomed the end of sweet rationing.

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel - opened two years earlier - was being well-used.

And Gateshead FC basked in the most famous day in the club's history when 17,000 fans flocked to their old Redheugh Park ground where Gateshead narrowly lost an FA Cup quarter-final clash against Bolton Wan-Turn to Page 24 From Page 23 derers and Nat Lofthouse. …

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