Newcastle – Laing Art Gallery (Steel Tailor’s Shears)

Just as an off-shoot of my post about the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.


One of the most intriguing exhibitions at the gallery is the “These Are Our Treasures” which has a variety of items which are very meaningful to local people. The exhibition has been put together with the help of artist Ruth Ewan and it’s there until 11 February 2023. I have a great deal of time for items which are unexceptional in themselves, but which have a story behind them.

The display label for this exhibit reads:

“Steel Tailor’s Shears. My father bought them from Bowman the Tailor on Newgate Street in Morpeth. He bought them to use in his shop, he was a draper. When I was 10 (I am now 83) I used to stop to see the tailor through his shop window. He would be sitting cross legged on his shop counter working by Tilley lamp (paraffin lamp) sewing suits.

I still use them today and feel they connect me to my family history, place of business and home town. They were used by me after my father died when I took over his business. The shears stayed on Newgate Street right up until 1999, my wife, son, daughter and staff used them until I retired and the shop closed. They have never been sharpened since Mr Bowman used them to cut fabric to make his tailored suits. So it is surprising how sharp they still are! Charles, Morpeth.”