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.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 11 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)