Fabric shop will move a few doors down

Jill Fenwick and Les Sage in the unit that will be The Sewing Boxs new home.
Jill Fenwick and Les Sage in the unit that will be The Sewing Boxs new home.
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A long-established Morpeth business is moving – but it will remain in the same street.

The Sewing Box has been trading at 50 Newgate Street for 40 years. Next month, the independent fabric shop will be located at number 17 in a section of the building that was previously fully used by the Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader.

It will be in the front unit and the shop will benefit from the new window that has been put in place at the side.

Another five retail units have been created, with timber shop fronts. They are accessed from the alley to the side of the property and the walk through it includes a nice view.

Perriss Antiques has already opened and others that will be opening soon include a model shop and an art shop.

The Sewing Box was owned by Mary Baker when it began trading in 1976. Her daughter Jill Fenwick, the current owner, has been working there since she was a teenager.

Its products include patchwork and quilting fabrics, trimmings, haberdashery, sewing boxes, sewing machines, craft items, embroidery, lace and buttons.

Jill said: “I have mixed emotions because it’s the end of an era for the shop and we are moving to a new phase.

“But it’s an exciting time for us, our ethos will stay the same and we’re delighted to be remaining in Newgate Street as it’s an important street for independent traders.

“I spoke to the building’s owner, Les Sage, to find out more about what was available at number 17 and I was keen to start formal discussions with him because it’s an excellent location for us.

“Our new home will provide much better access for our customers, as we will be on one floor, and we’ve received plenty of positive comments about the upcoming move.

“We’re all looking forward to it, although there is a lot of hard work ahead in the next few weeks.”

On the first floor of the building, three new flats have been constructed to add to the existing flat.

Work started at the site 12 months ago. It began life as The Pack Horse Inn and was used by British Gas as a showroom from the 1920s until the 1990s, when it became a newspaper office and photo-processing shop.

The newspapers moved to a business unit at Loansdean in December 2014.

Les said that the works have uncovered some cast iron structures and other features from when the building was a pub.

He added: “We’ve had a great response to the units here and I’m glad that we’ve attracted independent businesses. It will be a nice little business community where the owners can work together.

“I need Newgate Street to be successful as I have shops in the street, so hopefully the six shops and the alley feature will help to attract more people.

“It’s a lovely walk through the alley and you can now see a lot more of St Robert’s Church in the distance than you could before the works got under way.

“We will be putting up signs and pictures on the walls of the alley, along with information about the building when it was used as a pub.”