THE circus came to ‘toon’ to mark a flagship store’s 140th anniversary and to herald its major development plans.

Circus performers displayed their skills on a specially-erected stage outside the Fenwick store in Newcastle city centre.

They included aerialist Freya Averley, of Newcastle-based Let’s Circus, Cirque du Purr acrobat twins Shelly and Safia, and hula-hoopist Satya, from Mexico, who amazed onlookers as she kept nine hoops spinning simultaneously.

All performed in true circus fashion under the direction of a ringmaster for an appreciative sun-drenched audience in Northumberland Street.

Saturday’s circus spectacular was all part of the department store’s 140th anniversary celebrations, which began earlier in the week with the opening of Exhibition 140, featuring rarely-seen items from the Fenwick archives alongside creations by BA fashion students from Northumbria University.

The store also opened its Café 140, serving what it described as, “a show-stopping breakfast and weekend brunch”, plus familiar cream teas, cakes and desserts.

It follows the recent announcement of a £40 million multi-year investment in the store to coincide with the launch of the anniversary celebrations.

The changes will be carried out in phases over the next five years and will include the creation of two new atria across all five storeys of the premises, a complete renovation of the beauty hall and accessories area over the next eighteen months.

Store director Kieran McBride said: “What a week it has been for our customers and the Fenwick Newcastle team.

“It was fantastic to see shoppers join us today for our spectacular circus performance as we continue our 140th anniversary celebrations.

“As we celebrate our rich heritage, it’s also incredibly important for us as a business to look forward and the announcement earlier this week of our £40m investment in our store will enable us to continue to evolve our offer and customer experience, and to continue to serve the people of the North East.

“We’re excited to see what the future holds for Fenwick and the city of Newcastle.”

Read more: Fenwick reveals Shaun the Sheep Christmas window at Newcastle store

The refurbishment continues works begun last year to upgrade the historic facade of the building, and forms part of a broader programme of investment being made by Fenwick in its stores across the country, as well as in its online offering.

Architect Ben Mailen, who has close ties to the region, has been commissioned to work on the exterior including new entrances and frontages with open views into the store.

He is working alongside design studio Sybarite.

John Edgar, Fenwick chief executive officer, said: “As a business with deep roots in the Newcastle community, we are delighted to be making this major investment in the future of the city.

“This commitment will see us working closely with the local council to support the regeneration of the city and open up opportunities for new partnerships with the business community.”

Further information on Fenwick Newcastle is available via, including details of the anniversary celebrations.

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