`

Plaque unveiling to mark 100 years of South Tyneside village landmark

Head Chef at Blacks Corner John Craig with the brass plaque, which will be installed today.
Head Chef at Blacks Corner John Craig with the brass plaque, which will be installed today.

A charcuterie which prides itself on the provenance of its dishes today unveils a plaque to honour the history of its building.

Blacks Corner in East Boldon turns one this weekend and to mark the anniversary of the business, which has breathed new life into a landmark village building, they’ve unveiled a plaque which honours the heritage of the site.

Blacks Corner in East Boldon.

Blacks Corner in East Boldon.

This month also marks 100 years exactly since George Black opened his grocery business in the building, which became affectionately known as Blacks Corner.

Though the name was used colloquially over the decades, the building underwent many guises, from being used as a Halifax to a business centre, before business partners Jonathan Dryden and Christopher Lowden brought the name back to life officially with their deli and wine bar.

The businessmen are marking the plaque unveiling with a free community event taking place this afternoon from 4pm to 8pm, featuring canapes, reception drinks and live music from Sarah Connelly.

Jonathan said: “As a business we’ve always prided ourselves on the provenance of our ingredients. A lot of supermarkets use phrases such as ‘outdoor bred’ and ‘outdoor reared’ to blind side customers into thinking the animals have a good life. But we realise how important it is to meet the farmer and think of the ethics behind the menu we put together. Because of that, the provenance of everything has become important and, because I have a law background, I looked into the deeds of the building, which showed it had opened on September 18. 1918. We opened on September 22 2017, and it all came together.”

Jonathan and Christopher came up with the idea for their business after hosting a cheese and wine night for a friend’s birthday in which they paired flavours. It was a light bulb moment for the pair and, despite having no experience in the industry, they rang a stall at London’s famous Borough Road and volunteered in a bid to learn more about British farm produce.

Two years after the cheese and wine night, and armed with their new knowledge, they opened the formerly derelict Blacks Corner site, which specialises in cheese and charcuterie plates.

Their first year in business has proved a success with the charcuterie making the finals of the Northern Design Awards and being nominees in the international category in the Bar & Restaurant Design Awards. In May this year they returned to Borough Market London, this time with their own stall, for the British Cured Meat Awards.

As part of the renovation of the building, which took a year to complete, they created a community garden for all to use.

Jonathan said: “When we first talked about opening Blacks Corner people said no one would come here, as they just walk past it. But the community have really supported us and they say it’s brought both sides of the village together.

“With the plaque we want to say thank you to people as we never expected this level of support and community spirit.”

•Today’s plaque unveiling starts at 4pm with the plaque reveal at 6pm. All are welcome.