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We do not know where this originally came from, it is period to the mid to late 's and does match almost exactly to the only photo of the Newgate prison knocker. It measures approx.

Ames Hawes This phrase was known by and remained popular well into the 20th century. Latterly it seems to have been most commonly used by parents chastising children for getting mucky.

Neighbours: Newgate’s knocker

My late mother often used an expression which must have had very old origins. The earlier, As black as Newgate in use between meaning a dark expression or frown or also referring to soiled clothing. A Newgate knocker was also a Victorian hairstyle popular with costermongers in the s and 50s.

The original heavy iron knocker which gave rise to these phrases was attached to the main door of Newgate Prison from until , when the prison was demolished to make way for an enlarged Old Bailey. Please note: We put up a very ecclectic collection of items and are not experts in every area, so descriptions are our best guess as to what something is.

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The meaning and origin of the expression: As black as Newgate's knocker

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Daily Prompt: As Black as Newgate’s Knocker | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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If we use a private insurance company the package will not be marked insured, but it will be. We accept Paypal. This is one of many English similes that are used to indicate blackness:. Newgate Prison was a notoriously grim and forbidding place. It was rebuilt several times before being replaced by The Central Criminal Court, more widely known as the Old Bailey. Public executions took place outside Newgate and it isn't surprising that it became synonymous with dark deeds.


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The knocker itself was probably singled out because of the alliteration with 'Newgate' rather than any special property although, as can be seen from the accompanying picture of the actual knocker from the door of the jail, it is indeed an uncompromising, black, cast-iron affair bearing in mind that, given the many knockers that the prison must have had over the centuries, it is safer to say this is a picture of a Newgate knocker, rather than the Newgate knocker.

Dear Jack, I wish your old dad would tip off [ the perch, that is, die ], that you might come once more: damn it, he is as old as the knocker of Newgate, but I think as tough as a gad.

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The phrase 'as black as Newgate's knocker' originated in the mid 19th century. The earliest example of it that I can find in print is in The Cornishman, March , in a column that explained dialect phrases from difference parts of England for a Cornish audience:.

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There is another meaning of a Newgate knocker. It was the slang name of a form of hairstyle which had hanging curls in the shape of a club.