Watchtower was named after a Bob Dylan record, reveals owner

Kate Stephenson in her new gallery in Berwick, where she is showing her late husband Ian Stephenson's art work.

Kate Stephenson in her new gallery in Berwick, where she is showing her late husband Ian Stephenson's art work.

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SINGER Bob Dylan was the inspiration behind the naming of the Watchtower building in Tweedmouth West End, the owner has revealed.

Although many believed the name was connected to Jehovah witnesses, who used the building for 52 years, Kate Stephenson has revealed that the Watchtower name can in fact be traced to one of Dylan’s biggest hit records.

‘All Along the Watchtower’ initially appeared on Dylan’s 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations.

The Watchtower building, which opened last month after a major refurbishment, now houses a superb art gallery, and other facilities include a high-class recording studio used by a steadily growing group of young local musicians. Built in 1848 as a Presbyterian Church, it also has a fascinating history.

Speaking at Berwick Probus Club, Mrs Stephenson explained: “Dylan had a big hit with a song which referred to a Watchtower and then Jim Hendrix produced a successful cover version. It was the Berwick youngsters who suggested the name.

“Among its former uses as a church hall and carpet store it was also the Kingdom Hall used by the Jehovah witnesses for 42 years and they have a magazine which bears the same name.

“My project has nothing to do with that. I bought and restored the property because it had the space to hang some very large paintings by my late husband.”

She explained how builder Michael Richardson and his team unblocked many windows and false ceilings to create height and width. More than 400 people have visited the building since its opening and exhibitions have already been arranged into 2014. Music is a major feature and more concerts are being organised.

Mrs Stephenson said there is strong support from those interested in art and that sharing information with the Maltings has helped to develop a good relationship.

Mrs Stephenson believes the building provides has “exciting possibilities” and has “something for everyone.”

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