BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
your place and mine
Your Place & Mine Radio Ulster Website

BBC Homepage
BBC Northern Ireland
greater Belfast
contact ypam
about ypam

print versionprint version

Contact Us

'Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle'

Your site showed a sign which said "Happy Days in Newcastle".

ML 1030

writeAdd a new article
contribute your article to the site


'Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle'

Article by Patrick Burns

Your site showed a sign which said "Happy Days in Newcastle". This belonged to the original joke shop (Central Prom) in Newcastle, which I owned for 20 years. It was featured in the BBC programme 'A Month of Sun Days' and I was interviewed about the history of the shop over the last 20 years.

Postcard featuring Richard Croft's painting of 'Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle'
"Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle" postcard
From a painting by Richard Croft RUA

One of the features of the shop was a bubble machine which blew bubbles for the children on the street to play with. Many mothers' tempers were tried trying to get the children away from the bubbles. Other attractions included flags of all nations flying above the shop, plus music played out into the street featuring Blackpool's famous wurlitzer organ playing wartime and seaside favourite tunes. This, plus children's rides and a bright display of seaside novelties to catch the holidaymakers' attention, made the shop one of Newcastle's most popular shops. It was featured on every TV travel show or news item about Newcastle or the Mournes that came to town. Thousands of holidaymakers enjoyed standing under the sign saying 'Welcome to Happy Days in Sunny Newcastle' to have their photograph taken - specially when it was pouring with rain! One American couple called to see the shop they said they had seen on a documentary on American television (sorry to say I was unable to trace this show).

A local artist Richard Croft (Dundrum) painted a giant picture of the shop , 5 ft x 3 ft, which was put on display at the Ulster Museum Belfast by the Royal Ulster Academy and was on sale for £3,000. I took great pleasure bringing my children plus granddaughter Sherdia to see this painting. Sadly it is now in storage in Downpatrick Museum. Prints of the painting were on sale in the Bucks Head Inn in Dundrum and one is still on display in the tourist office in Newcastle. One of the interesting features of the painting was that the artist painted himself, his wife, son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren standing outside the shop. I was the sinister one in the doorway with the dark glasses.

I still have some fond memories of happy days in sunny Newcastle.

I now have retired due to ill health and live in the seaside village of Dundrum, where I organised the first all-Ireland busking competition. (Sample the colour and excitement of the 2003 competition by clicking here .)

The 2004 All Ireland Busking Competition will be held on the 28th August at the Central Promenade Newcastle. The All Ireland Busking organisers have a website at: and if you want to enter you can contact the organisers at: See you there!

Listen to Patrick Burns talking about his Newcastle joke shop
Patrick mentioned how he featured in the BBC NI series "A Month of Sun Days". We've tracked down a clip of his interview - click here to watch it.

Note from NI Editor:
Patrick is also keen "to contact any artist or band who played the Pierrots or anyone who knows where they are now. I am also interested in any old photographs of the bandstand, artists or bands who played at that time - with the hope of collecting enough material to produce a book to mark this great era. I am also interested in any old photographs of Newcastle". If you can help click on 'Discuss this Article' at the bottom of the page and leave a message.


Niall Bradley - June '06
Hello i am researching Richard Croft's perspex box designs as i am undergoing a project of my own which will be aided immensely by examples of his work. But, i am unable to find pictures of his example and im seeking help - please email any pictures you have to sparkyballs89 at thank you!

Paul Crilley - February '05
I have the clock that was above the entrance door to the joke shop opposite Marlborough Crescent in Newcastle. The building was about to be demolished and being a collector of clocks I remembered the clock above the door, even though it had been painted over, and so reused it. Is this the same shop as in your feature? The information I am looking for relates to any photographs of the shop with the clock in situ. Anyone with any information can contact me through YPAM.



Click to return to 'Newcastle: A Month of Sun Days


Use the form below to post comments on this article
Your Comments
Your Name (required)
Your Email (optional)

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy