The Beacon (also known as the Herd Groyne) stands proudly at the mouth of the Tyne and has welcomed generations of mariners into South Shields harbour
Built in 1882, it has not only become a famous north eastern landmark but also a famous trademark. When John Barbour established himself in South Shields in 1894, the Beacon would have been an obvious choice as the name for his protective outerwear. First introduced in 1908 in Barbour’s first ever catalogue, the Beacon brand remained an established brand name for almost fifty years. A tagline used in the catalogues during the early 1900’s was “Anywhere, always, Beacon oilskins keep you dry.”
The Beacon brand was the umbrella name for Barbour’s clothing range which in the beginning was mainly oilskins and developed over time into garments made of leather, rubber and thornproof materials. It represented the best in quality outdoor clothing, guaranteed to be waterproof and fit for purpose. It was unique in that the style, cut, tailoring and features were all built around the particular needs of a wide range of different working sporting and leisure pursuits including motorcycling and were often the result of Barbours’ own practical experience or of suggestions made by their staff and customers. It represented the clothing of choice for customers who were outdoors in the worst weather, whatever they were doing.