Newcastle: good and getting better

Think of Newcastle and you think of shipyards, football, working men’s clubs – the Andy Capp country. This is a big part of the picture still in 1967, but behind the scenes a quiet revolution is taking place among Newcastle’s young people.

“Everyone knows everyone here. you make lots of friends. And the climate’s getting better for mini skirts,” says Valerie Ann Domoney, twenty, who arrived in Newcastle six years ago.

It has been a hard fight to break down the rock-hard walls of northern conservatism in social habits. Behind the growing acceptability of mini skirts and the fact that youth has a right to enjoy itself is the University of Newcastle.

Almost as if by accident, it is managing to educate a group much wider than its undergraduates.

Then there’s Arcadia, a steep hill of shops of every kind but more particularly some eight or ten boutiques – such as Paraphernalia, Pot, Fig Leaf and Target – even an exchange shop where, for 5s. you can swap your old gear for someone else’s.

A coffee bar, The Witches, is the centre of the swirling crowd of teenagers. for Newcastle’s young life is polarized between the University crowd and the Arcadia crowd and every shade between.

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