LCT 7074 – Hebburn’s Remarkable D-Day Survivor

Written by Geoff Woodward, Museum Manager, North & South Tyneside The tidal waters of the River Tyne were a swirling grey and the gusting wind stung a chilled greeting as a newly-completed vessel was hastily handed over to the Royal Navy.  The date was 7 April 1944 and Britain had been at war for more than four and a half years.  Any witnesses to this occasion would perhaps have been singularly unimpressed with this latest addition to British sea power.  Designated as Yard Number 677, it was an insignificant-looking, somewhat peculiar, drab boat.  With its long, flat-bottomed design, shallow draught, and armament limited to two meagre 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns, it didn’t appear to promise to make much difference to the war effort.  But in reality number 677 was destined, along with a flotilla of similar craft, to play a key role.  Yard Number 677 was one of six craft built to the same design at the R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co. yard in Hebburn, now part of South Tyneside.  Once delivered to the Navy it was re-designated as Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 7074, and in June, only two months later, took part in the momentous D-Day landings in Normandy.  Today LCT 7074 is one of only ten LCTs to survive anywhere in the world, and the only one in the UK.  In 2014 it was saved from a watery grave at Birkenhead on the River Mersey by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) thanks to a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.  Then a national partnership project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and marking last year’s 75th anniversary of D-Day, led to the LCT’s restoration and preparation for public display at the D-Day Story museum at Southsea in Portsmouth.  Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is one of the partners in the project and has worked closely with members of the Jarrow & Hebburn Local History Society to uncover the vessel’s Tyneside story; its construction, launch and handover.  Members of the Society searched through the Tyne & Wear Archives, held at Discovery Museum in Newcastle.  The trawl revealed that detailed records relating to the craft’s construction at the Hawthorn Leslie shipyard have survived.  Interestingly, the documents also show that the Hawthorn Leslie yard first built tank landing craft (the original version) in 1940, three years before construction began on LCT 7074 and its five sister vessels.  Basic landing craft, designed to carry troops, were introduced during the First World War, then further developed in the 1920s.  The first landing craft for tankswere those built in 1940 – known as LCT Mark 1s.  They were commissioned on the instructions of Prime Minister Winston Churchill to enable small-scale commando operations to be conducted against enemy coastal targets. As British shipyards were already very stretched most of these LCTs were built in the United States, but some were built at Hawthorn Leslie’s and other Tyneside shipyards in 1940 and 1941. The vessels had flat bottoms, a shallow draught, a hinged ramp to allow vehicles to drive on and off, and a high-sided double hull to protect the vehicles from the weather and from enemy fire.  At the rear were, the engines, wheelhouse and living quarters for the crew.    In 1943 LCTs of an improved design were commissioned from shipyards around the country to be constructed to take part in Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France, originally scheduled for the following May.  The date of D-Day was later put back to June, as not enough craft were available for May.  Hawthorn Leslie built six of the Mark 3, modified LCT design.  Yard number 677, which became LCT 7074, was one of these craft.  It was powered by American Sterling Admiral petrol engines due to a shortage of the specified Paxman diesel engines. Steel from northern steelworks, including the Consett Iron Works, was used in the craft’s mainly riveted construction.  The vessel was completed in a mere three months, at a cost of about £28,000, the equivalent of just over a million pounds today.  The documents and ledgers from the Archives provide some fascinating detail, recording the progress of construction of the LCTs.  The various types of tradesmen involved are noted, including riveters, joiners and painters, as are the wages they received.  The ledgers also show the weights and costs of materials used such as plate, iron, rivets, and even nuts and bolts!  The date and time of the launch of LCT 7074 is provided in the Launch Book records – 7.40pm on 29 March 1944.  The entry states that it was a wet evening with a light north-easterly wind.    Once LCT 7074 was handed over to the Navy on 7 April the crew were brought together.  The vessel carried twelve crew members, including two officers.  Sub-Lieutenant John Baggott RNVR, a 20-year-old trainee solicitor from Swindon, was in charge.   Sub-Lieutenant Philip Stephens was his deputy.  Stephens recorded his experience on board in a diary, providing us with a precious insight into what followed.  LCT 7074 was scheduled to sail south to Great Yarmouth to join the 17th LCT Flotilla that formed part of Operation Neptune, the naval element of Operation Overlord.  But we know from Stephens’ diary that the vessel suffered trouble with its new engines that caused a delay.  It spent its first month on the River Tyne while the problem was resolved.  As the days went slowly by, and the weather began to warm up, anticipation grew as the date for Operation Overlord drew closer and closer.  In Part 2 we’ll tell the story of what happened when LCT 7074 left the River Tyne, and the role it, and the tanks it carried, played in the Normandy landings.  With thanks to  Jarrow & Hebburn Local History Society  Tyne & Wear Archives   The D-Day Story, Portsmouth  Arts Council England  National Lottery Heritage Fund  National Heritage Memorial Fund  South Tyneside Council  Portsmouth City Council  National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN)

As a charity, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums rely on donations to provide the amazing service that we do and our closure, whilst necessary, has significantly impacted our income. Please, if you are able, help us through this difficult period by donating by text today. Text TWAM 3 to give £3, TWAM 5 to give £5 or TWAM 10 to give £10 to 70085. Texts cost your donation plus one standard message rate. Thank you.

The Return of the Samurai

Our awesome exhibition “Other Worlds: The Art of Atomhawk” had barely been open for two weeks before we learned that we’d have to shut the Great North Museum: Hancock down for the safety of visitors and staff alike, as we try to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we won’t be able to experience and enjoy the exhibition for a little while, I thought I’d try and bring the displays to our visitors via a virtual format – the humble blog post.  This week, I’m looking at the mighty Samurai armour exhibit.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Atomhawk’s work, I’d strongly recommend you have a look at their website and see some of their designs (  With headquarters based in Gateshead and Vancouver, the Atomhawk designers  work with movie studios and game developers to produce amazing conceptual art.  Many things can provide inspiration for these talented artists, not least some of the weird and wonderful objects we have within the collections of the Great North Museum.  For the realms of sci-fi and fantasy, Japanese Samurai warriors can be a wonderful inspiration for an imaginative artist who wants to create a new fighting character.

So it seemed only fitting that we display some of this fantastic armour among the Atomhawk artwork- which also gave me an unexpected opportunity to learn more about this fantastic museum piece.

Samurai armour on display in the exhibition “The Art of Atomhawk”

Who were the Samurai?

The Samurai were the warriors of pre-modern Japan. They followed the ethic code of bushido – “the way of the warrior,” which stressed loyalty to one’s master, self-discipline and respectful behaviour. The 15th and 16th centuries saw widespread civil war throughout Japan but the dawning of the 17th century brought about the Japanese Ed period which ushered in a time of peace. During this time, the importance of martial skills declined with many Samurai becoming bureaucrats. In 1868, Japan’s feudal era came to an end and the Samurai class were abolished shortly afterwards.

The helmet we’ve chosen to display is known as a zunari kabuto, which simply means “head shaped helmet”.  This type was developed during the Japanese civil wars that occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries. As they were light, effective and simple to construct, they became popular for daimyos (feudal lords) to equip their warriors with.  Our helmet probably dates to the Edo period, which lasted from 1603 – 1868, although we can’t pin the date down further than this with any confidence.

NEWHM : D527, Samurai helmet: “zunari kabuto”

The helmet has some striking distinguishing features.  An inlaid decoration of a dragon and clouds can be clearly seen.  Beautifully designed, it may have helped to set the wearer apart.  Alternatively, the inlay may have been added at a much later date to help the armour appeal to the taste of a western collector.

Detail of inlaid dragon and cloud decoration

Close-up of the fukigayeshi and mon heraldic devices

What is also distinctive about our helmet is the two black-lacquered protuberances on the sides known as fukigayeshi.  These were designed to stop a sword from slashing down to the neck area, and the ones here appear to be displaying a mon– a crest symbol, similar to a European heraldic device.  This mon is associated with the Shimazu clan, the daimyo of what was then the Satsuma province in Japan (an area that is situated on the modern day southern Japanese island of Kyushu).  We can see the same mon on other pieces of Samurai equipment- the Royal Armouries in Leeds has a beautiful Japanese tanto (dagger) displaying the same symbol.  Understanding the crest gives us a fascinating insight into the previous owner of our helmet.  Was he a retainer or even a family member of the Shimazu? We can’t be sure, but it’s certainly compelling speculation.

Tanto dagger displaying mon of Shimazu clan. Object no. XXIS.364. Credit: Royal Armouries Collection

The second piece of armour we have on display here is the facemask or men yori, an iconic piece of Samurai equipment.  Men yori often have exaggerated features, with some attempting to depict demons or evil spirits.  Many (including ours) have gold teeth and facial hair  to present a fearsome appearance.  The inner surface of the masks are sometimes covered in a red lacquer to give the Samurai a red, warlike appearance.

The armour of the Samurai is one of the most recognisable of all ancient warriors.  While the traditional Samurai way of life all but ended in the 19th century, the remains of their equipment and weaponry are cared for in collections and museums across the world.  As a source of inspiration, the Samurai warrior is a perfect muse for artists.  Here at the GNM, the Samurai’s return has been a welcome source of stimulation and creativity not just to the Atomhawk artists, but also the curators and conservation staff who have worked to recreate some of the splendour of the ancient Japanese feudal era.

Close-up of Samurai armour after conservation work, ready to go on display

On display in the exhibition “The Art of Atomhawk”

As a charity, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums rely on donations to provide the amazing service that we do and our closure, whilst necessary, has significantly impacted our income. Please, if you are able, help us through this difficult period by donating by text today. Text TWAM 3 to give £3, TWAM 5 to give £5 or TWAM 10 to give £10 to 70085. Texts cost your donation plus one standard message rate. Thank you.

The British Music Collection from Heritage Quay at Huddersfield University – by Carmela Barbaro, Placement Student

I am a PhD student at Newcastle University, currently in my third year and I have recently started a placement experience at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) for the Unlocking our Sound Heritage Project.

My area of research is Early Music Pedagogy. In a nutshell, I look at primary sources (i.e. music treatises from the 16th century) to learn how music was studied back then, and compare it to how it is studied now.

Usually relying on ancient manuscripts and early print sources (or on modern recordings and performances) to experience the music I study in my field of research, it is particularly interesting for me to have the opportunity to relate to different kinds of musical documents as witnesses of a more contemporary era of music history. In this post, I am going to share my experience and some of my thoughts during my time here at TWAM.

Lately I had the opportunity to listen to some of the recordings from the British Music Collection which especially comprises recordings of contemporary music (c.1980s to 2000s). The collection is from Heritage Quay, the official archive for the University of Huddersfield, which acts as the guardian of archives of other organisations, families and individuals dating back over 200 years. The aim of this particular collection, in collaboration with the British Music Information Centre and other organisations i.e. the Society for the Promotion of New Music, is to promote contemporary British music.

Live performances of contemporary classical music at the British Music Information Centre and the Society for the Promotion of New Music


The Unlocking our Sound Heritage Project has digitised 65 compact cassettes, archived at the British Library as audio files.

The collection includes registrations of concert performances of different natures, i.e. piano recitals, orchestras, recordings of concerts of new electro-acoustic music etc. The music performed is mainly written, and sometimes performed directly, by British composers like Dave Smith, Vaughan Williams, William Walton, Malcolm Arnold, Michael Finnissy, Alan Bush, and sometimes by renowned composers from other countries, i.e. Astor Piazzolla, Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie, Luigi Nono, Salvatore Sciarrino, John Cage etc.

The first document I encountered was the registration of ‘Woman’s Life’ by Alan Bush, performed by Sylvia Eaves and Priscilla Stewart (05/02/1991); the theme of this song cycle is the life of women and their relationship with work. Immediately after, I started to look for recordings of performances of music written by women, finding various examples. Worth mentioning is the recording of a piano recital by Martyn Dyke that includes only works by women composers: Madeleine Dring, Ruth Gipps, Morfydd Owen, Freda Swain and Madeleine Dring (20/02/1992).

Three cassettes from Heritage Quay at the University of Huddersfield

The performance of a music composition is always different, and this is particularly true for pieces of music that involve a component of improvisation. An example of the recording of an improvisational performance in the collection is the piano recital by John Tilbury at the British Music Information Centre, London (20/11/1990), where he performs improvisations on Cornelius Cardew’s ‘Ah Thel’ (1963), and on Hanns Eisler’s Der Mensch (1942).

When listening to these recordings, it sometimes happens that a registration is cut abruptly, and a fragment of a different concert, a previous recording, suddenly appears. For example, the recording of a concert with music by William Baines (26/03/1992), performed by N. Duncan (piano) and Julia Frape (violin), is cut in the interval and suddenly we hear a fragment of what seems to be a performance of The Little Sweep by Benjamin Britten. This immediately takes me back in time, before the widespread diffusion of the internet as an aid to listening to music, to when people would record music via cassettes whilst listening to the radio, sometimes mistakenly erasing a previous registration.

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage are excited to be digitally preserving these cassettes from Heritage Quay in Yorkshire

I myself still have my own collection of cassettes: a patchwork of fragments of songs carefully stored somewhere in my house…


Unlocking Our Sound Heritage is funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as generous funding from charities and individuals. 



Images of the North – A Guest Post by Leah Newbigging

Hello, my name is Leah Newbigging and I have been undertaking research using the collections in the amazing library of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. This is located in the Great North Museum: Hancock Library which is free to use and open to everybody. All of the books I mention below are located in the GNM: Hancock Library.

My preoccupation with “the North” began when I was at university, studying the music of the Icelandic artist,  Björk. (When I use the term “the North” I am generally referring to regions in the Arctic Circle, including Scandinavia, Greenland,  Canada and Russia.)  At the time, I was writing about how she uses and refers to nature in her music; she used recordings of footsteps in the snow as percussion, and created deep, distorted noises to emulate the sound of volcanoes erupting to evoke Icelandic landscapes. I went on to do a master’s degree where I researched musicians in Northern regions who use Northern landscapes to build a brand based on their national or regional identity. This is not a new practice by any means – countries have drawn upon their natural scenery for their national identity for centuries, particularly in the 19th century Romantic era.

The more I listened to musicians who branded themselves as “Northern”, the more I began to notice that there were common themes in audience reactions, often referring to something pure, simple, authentic, and primal. I needed some guidance in understanding how the North has been portrayed and imagined historically, in order to  understand why people reacted to Northern landscapes in this way.

This is where Peter Davidson’s book “The Idea of North” (2005) came in. Davidson writes about how Northern landscapes have been portrayed in myth, poetry, literature and film, ranging from Nabokov’s Zembla, the Old Norse sagas, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (the inspiration for the film “Frozen”), to Dutch and German Romantic landscape paintings, and accounts of Arctic expeditions.

Davidson describes how the North has often been used as a metaphor for the edges of the known world; its remoteness and difficult climate mean that the North was often framed as a challenge to be explored and conquered. Portrayals of the North generally fell into two categories, often with moral undertones; the North as a place of death, and the North as a place of beauty and purity.

The television series “Game of Thrones” and the film “The Revenant” are modern examples of portraying the North as a place of death and monotony; long, cold dark nights, storms, isolation, decay, and the dead walking again (called draugr in Norse mythology, and now commonly referred to as revenants from the French for “to come back”). Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, as a sort of embodiment of winter, was originally meant to function as a warning against the perils of social isolation and selfishness, since survival often depended on being able to cooperate and pool resources. Of course, the perception that winter landscapes are devoid of life is primarily us projecting our fears, as winter biomes are still rich with life under the snow.

On the other hand, you do not have to look far for modern portrayals of the North’s beauty, between the many musicians, travel agencies and Instagram accounts who rely on images of these landscapes. This portrayal of Northern landscapes tends to focus on snow, ice, glass, snowflakes, and the midnight sun. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the Hyperboreans were mythical people who lived in a perfect land of untouched nature constant sunshine to the far North; this land was referred to as “Thule” or “Ultima Thule”, the edge of the known world. This meant that travellers would often arrive in places such as Shetland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Greenland with expectations of a land of beauty and purity, only to be confronted by poverty and the reality of surviving on subsistence agriculture.

“Off the Edge of the Ice – Gathering Storm, 14 September 1893” from Fridtjof Nansen’s “Farthest North”

For anyone who has an interest in reading about human relationships with Northern landscapes, this book is a thorough and fascinating account of the ways we have historically portrayed Arctic scenery and culture. It provides an insight into each work of literature, so we can understand the period of time the author was writing in and how this influenced the way they think of the North.

The musicians I focused on during the research for my Master’s degree heavily relied on these historic portrayals of Arctic scenery and culture. For example, many musicians in the Faroe Islands chose to brand their music with images of a mythologised pre-Christian, Viking, pagan North, including stereotypical Northern landscapes such as snowy mountains, and a cultural mishmash of symbols of paganism such as drums, feathers and bones, and nature such as the sun and moon.

I started to understand that the images of the North we still have today are saturated with a long history of authors, travellers and outsiders shaping the way we imagine “the North”. Scientific, missionary and trade expeditions were a common feature of European exploration and colonialism. The travellers would write about their experiences visiting far-off, exotic lands, often describing the landscapes and culture in terms of morality, such as purity or barbarity. Eventually I found a plethora of Scandinavian scholars who confirmed my suspicions that contemporary explorers perceived the North as another “Orient” to be conquered; as exotic, dangerous, wild and alluring as the Asian or African places they would visit, only colder and whiter. (You can find my citations at the end of post).

There is certainly no shortage of first-hand reports that help to corroborate this claim. British travellers like Richard Burton, Anthony Trollope, Mrs Alec Tweedie, Sabine Baring-Gould and William Morris all ventured North to try to find Ultima Thule. Morris even wrote in his accounts that he was undergoing “a Viking adventure”, and that the Faroese land was his first experience of the true North.

“At Sunset, 22nd September 1893” From Fridtjof Nansen’s “Farthest North”

I continued my search and found many similar accounts in the NHSN library which contains original 19th and early 20th century books and journals about scientific expeditions to the Arctic. Dr Fridtjof Nansen begins his account of their expedition rather dramatically in his book “Farthest North…” (1897)

“Unseen and untrodden under their spotless mantle of ice, the rigid polar regions slept the profound sleep of death from the earliest dawn of time. Wrapped in his white shroud, the mighty giant stretched his clammy ice-limbs abroad, and dreamed his age-long dreams. Ages passed – deep was the silence.” (page 1)

He continues talking about Norse mythology, mentioning frost giants, Niflheim (or Nivlheim as he spells it), Helheim and Baldur, and in a similar fashion to William Morris, Nansen frames himself as a Viking explorer by mentioning that the old Vikings were “the first Arctic voyagers”. His writing is also a perfect example of the colonial conquering tendencies so prevalent in 19th century Europe:

“The spirit of mankind will never rest till every spot of these regions has been trodden by the foot of man, till every enigma has been solved.” (page 3)

His attitude is echoed by other writers when they describe the native inhabitants of Greenland (then called Eskimo, but now Inuit), characterising them as naïve and simple, or barbaric. It is rather  uncomfortable to reproduce what they say in a modern setting, but as an illustration, Aubyn Trevor-Battye’s book “Ice bound on the Kolguev…” (1895) describes the “happy, good-tempered character of these child-like people” (page 242). When describing the native inhabitants’ navigational and hunting techniques, almost all of the writers I reviewed for this article lean heavily into the idea that the Inuit are more closely connected to nature and are a simpler people than their European counterparts.

The above examples are indicative of the way that the travellers wrote about both the landscape and the native inhabitants, containing many similarities in themes that focus on purity or danger as I mentioned earlier. Many of the authors have a love-hate relationship with ice in particular. Ejnar Mikkelsen, in his book “Lost in the Arctic…” (1913), describes how they are in near-constant danger of their vessels being caught, crushed or sunk by the ice, in what is by far my favourite quote:

“Thoroughly disgusted with things in general, and unanimously agreeing that ice and the Arctic were hell upon earth, we were at last obliged to make fast.” (page 24)

“Evening Among Drift Ice” From Fridtjof Nansen’s “Farthest North”

Another common gripe that many of the authors have with the Arctic landscape is the monotony, extreme days and nights, and the perceived lifelessness:

“It was certainly about as miserable and uninviting a coast as you can well imagine. Trees you cannot expect to find in these latitudes, but often their absence is more than made up for by beauty of scenery in other ways – in splendour of glacier or strength of the bastion cliffs across which the sea-birds go in myriads like driven snow. Here we had not this. We had only a long low line of level monotony.”
Trevor-Battye, Ice-bound on Kolguev (page 32-33).

“The sameness of everything weighted on the spirits… On the land there was nothing of picturesque to admit of description: the hills displayed no character, the rocks were rarely possessed of any, and the lakes and rivers were without beauty.”
Sir John Ross, Narrative of a Second Voyage (page 598).

“This snowless ice-plain is like a life without love –  nothing to soften it.”
Fridtjof Nansen, Farthest North (page 297).

And yet also found are reverent descriptions of the very same ice, snow and sun in the same texts, echoing the distant and otherworldly conceptions of Ultima Thule.

“There was life enough up here among the pack ice – life and natural beauty, and splendid colour beyond words”.

“For an hour we lay motionless, staring at the ice, which lay there, an unchanging, dazzling expanse of white as far as the eye could see.”
Ejnar Mikkelsen, Lost in the Arctic (pages 22 and 27).

“A beautiful sight, the level, slightly drifted snow plain stretching away apparently infinitely to the North.”

“The slender spars of the [ship] looked very, very beautiful in the yellow midnight May sunlight.”
Robert E. Peary, Nearest the Pole (pages 109 and 167).

“The beauty of the scene before us [the mountainous coast] is much enhanced when the sun circles low to the south, we then get the most delicate blue shadows, and purest tones of pink and violet on the hill slopes.”
Sir Clements R. Markham, The Lands of Silence (page 464).

 “The aurora appeared with more or less brilliancy on twenty-eight nights in this month, and we were also gratified by the resplendent beauty of the moon.”
John Franklin, Narrative of a Journey (page 257).

“Moonlight, 22 November 1893. A Vertical Axis Passes through the Moon with a Strongly-Marked Luminous Patch Where it Intersects the Horizon…” From Fridtjof Nansen’s “Farthest North”


One of my favourite things about studying history in libraries and archives is that it is possible to learn from the past so that we can evaluate how our current culture reacts to Northern landscapes. For example, the recent growth of Germanic neo-paganism and heathenry* and white nationalism continues the 19th century Romantic tradition of tying nationality to ethnicity and land. Amongst these demographics, Northern landscapes tend to function as an exotic place of escapism, where you can find sanctuary from modern life and contemporary values with regards to gender and race, so life can be lived in a simpler way (check out my citations at the end). When I was researching musicians who brand themselves by using images of Northern landscapes and paganism, I noticed that online audience reactions made frequent references to “true European culture” and “protecting European culture from external influences”. Some commentators went further and specified which external influences they wanted to keep out. This strongly echoes the ethno-nationalist and racist ideologies that were present when people like Wagner and Tolkien originally took inspiration from the Old Norse Sagas to start forming the fantasy genre as we know it today. An occultist, völkisch group called the Thule Society, founded in Germany in 1918, theorised that Thule was the lost homeland of the Aryan race, believed in the power of runes, and made all members swear that they had no Jewish or otherwise non-white heritage. One man who attended these meetings, Dietrich Eckhart, would go onto be a key influence on Hitler in his rise to power years later.

Thule (or Ultima Thule) is just one example of how a fictional landscape can capture the imaginations of people for hundreds, or even thousands of years. When I first started investigating the North, I was searching for an answer as to how and why people connect with images of the North in a strictly modern context. Having since spent the better part of a few years delving into this subject, I now know that I wouldn’t have achieved a nuanced understanding of contemporary cultural reactions and their significance without being able to view and consider relevant material from the past.

So, if you can, pay a visit to the Great North Museum: Hancock Library where you can read stories and accounts that were written by people from earlier times.  You might find yourself recognising something of the modern-day in what they have to say.

Further information about the library is available at


 Resources external to the Great North Museum: Hancock Library.

Gaini, Firouz, ‘Cultural Rhapsody in Shift: Faroese culture and identity in the age of globalization’ in Among the Islanders of the North, ed. Firouz Gaini (Tórshavn: Faroe University Press, 2011), 132-162.

Granholm, Kennet, ‘“Sons of Northern Darkness”: Heathen Influences in Black Metal and Neofolk Music’, Numen, 58/4 (2011), 514-544.

Heesch, Florian, ‘Metal for Nordic Men? Amon Amarth’s Representations of Vikings’ in The Metal Void: First Gatherings, ed. Niall W. R. Scott (Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010), 71-80.

Hicks, Jonathon, Uy, Michael, Venter, Carina, ‘Introduction: Music and Landscape’, The Journal of Musicology, 33/1 (2016), 1-10.

Loftsdóttir, Kristín, ‘The Exotic North: Gender, Nation Branding and Post-colonialism in Iceland’, NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 23/4 (2015), 246-260.

Loftsdóttir, Kristín, Lund, Katrín Anna, ‘Þingvellir: Commodifying the “Heart” of Iceland’ in Postcolonial Perspectives on the European High North: Unscrambling the Arctic, ed. Graham Huggan, Lars Jensen (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 117-141.

Oslund, Karen, ‘Imagining Iceland: Narratives of Nature and History in the North Atlantic’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 35/3 (2002), 313-334.

Piotrowska, Anna G., ‘Scandinavian Heavy Metal as an Intertextual Play with Norse Mythology’ in Music at the Extremes: Essays on Sounds Outside the Mainstream, ed. Scott A. Wilson (Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015), 101-114.

Ridanpää, Juha, ‘Laughing at Northernness: Postcolonial and Metafictive Irony in the Imaginative Geography’, Social & Cultural Geography, 8/6 (2007), 907-928.


Sounds like Christmas! Songs from Fenwick’s Christmas Window – Dominique Bell, UOSH Project Manager

Christmas doesn’t seem quite complete without a visit to Fenwick’s Christmas Window, does it?

Fenwick’s Christmas Window 2019: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


With Christmas fast approaching, we’ve been enjoying digitising and cataloguing material from the Fenwick Archive, which is held by Tyne & Wear Archives. This collection includes radio adverts and soundtracks from the Christmas windows from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Our favourite Christmas window soundtrack is “Fenwick’s Fairytales” from December 1996, which featured songs about traditional fairy tale characters such as Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood.

Introduction to Fenwick’s Fairytales

Master cassette tape and copy, held within the Fenwick Archive


There is a lovely mix of songs with a fast-paced jolly tune sung by the seven dwarfs and a slow ballad by Snow White.

Snow White wanders lonely in the woods

The introductions to each window are as enjoyable as the songs sung by the famous characters. Here are two clips from the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty windows.

Introduction to the Cinderella themed window

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, Fenwick’s Christmas Window, December 1996, Tyne & Wear Archives DT.FEN.6.5.320 (8807-15)


Introduction to Sleeping Beauty themed window


Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood, Fenwick’s Christmas Window, December 1996, Tyne & Wear Archives DT.FEN.6.5.320 (8807-6)


This one has a bit of a different flavour and we imagine it made quite a few people pause the first time they heard it on Northumberland Street.

Hansel and Gretel rap

Oh My! What big teeth you have! The eerie yet perky Little Red Riding Hood has a happy ending like all the others, of course.

Little Red Riding Hood meets the Big Bad Wolf


As you would expect there is also the famous singing tree which has featured in many windows over the years and “Santa Santa, good old Santa Claus, we all love his cheery ho ho ho” along with other familiar Christmas songs.

Do you remember the singing tree?


How about Good Old Santa Claus?

With or without children in tow, a trip to see Fenwick’s Christmas Window is always an amazing spectacle.  How many past Christmas windows can you remember?

Listening to the Fenwick Christmas Window soundtracks has really got us in the Christmas spirit. We’ve loved preserving these important audio archives which give a taste of North East heritage and life.

We can’t wait to discover all of the other treasures within our collection and partner collections from across the North East and Yorkshire.

Merry Christmas from everyone working on the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.