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As black as newgates knocker

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Thunderbird+ | 19:18 Wed 24th Jan 2007 | Phrases & Sayings
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I grew up hearing this reference which usually refered to a dark rain cloud heading our way. I sometimes still use the phrase today but get some odd looks from people (which is not that unusual) but I feel I need to explain.
So how did it originate ?
Another one I've heard ocaisionally is "It's dark over wills mum's" So who's Wills Mum ? Thanks


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It refers to the Massive iron knocker on the doors of Newgate prison.
my mother used to say "as black as hells door knocker"
and also when asked where something was she would say "at the back of Bill's mother's"- a variation on the one above- so I wouldnt mind knowing who Bill or Will was!
When I was a kid growing up in S.E. London it was always pronounced Noogits knocker - still Newgate but always black as noogits.
Burnhal, the "Bill's mother..." saying generally means rain is on the way. This saying seems to be more widespread around the country nowadays, but many - including Eric Partridge in his Dictionary of Catch Phrases - believe it started life in the East Midlands. The best explanation I've ever heard as to its origin is the one that suggests the �Bill', �Will' or �William' in the phrase refers to William (Will/Bill) Shakespeare. He was born in Stratford-on-Avon, to the west of the Midlands and - if the sky is dark and threatening over that area (ie over Bill's mother's) - it means rain is probably headed for the east of the Midlands region, because the prevailing winds are likely to push the wet weather in that direction.
Yeah my mum always said "Black as noogits" took years before I learnt what it meant.
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Thanks all, Yes we always pronounced it 'Noogits'
I'll probably still get the funny looks from some people but at least now I can explain the origin of the phrase.
I say this one quite a lot , normally when talking about dirt - my godchildren tend to get told to wash their hands/feet/face etc cos 'they're as blacks as noogits knocker'.
I know it comes from Newgate Prison (if anyone 's interested 'London a biography' is a fantastic read about the history or Newgate and much more).
I got the saying from my nan and being 31 and now living in the midlands no-one ever understands it.
Oh and it's always been pronounced 'noogits' in my family too' !

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