Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, April 3, 2014)

The Northumberland Gazette delves into the archives to remind readers of stories from the past.

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, April 1, 2004

The Duchess of Northumberland has courted controversy with plans to grow illegal substances including cannabis, opium and ricin in the Alnwick Garden. Opium poppies, cannabis and caster-oil plants – the seeds of which can be used to make the deadly nerve-gas ricin – all feature on the list of plants for the new Poison Garden. Alnwick Garden liaison director Ian August said: “Those are some of the plants under consideration, it hasn’t been finally determined what will go in. “At the end of the day, what we are doing is a planting scheme within the garden and the theme will be poisonous plants. The whole brief behind this is making people, and in particular the younger generation, aware how dangerous these plants can be, but there is a historical element to this as well.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 30, 1989

People have been warned not to have anything to do with an occult shop which may soon open in the area. The warning came from Alnwick United Reformed Church Minister Joe Hislop, who described the occult as ‘superstitious nonsense, followed by gullible people’. “I feel it deals in presuperstition which appeals to the more gullible people in society and would advise people to have nothing to do with it,” he said. A letter was received this week from the Occult Society stating that it would shortly be opening an Occult Centre shop for the supply of occult material, information and instruction, within ‘our publishing area’. As we go to press, no one from the society, based in Lewisham, London, was available for comment or to say where they planned to open the shop.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, April 3, 1964

Belford Rural Council is to consider later this year the possibility of organising a cycling competition for children in the area as a further means of improving road safety in the area. At a meeting of the council last week, the Road and Sea Safety Committee reported that a letter had been received from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) inviting teams to enter the Northumberland and Durham Proficiency Championship. On the recommendation of the committee, it was decided that the invitation be declined, but that the headmasters of county secondary schools be informed that the committee were desirous of entering a team in the 1965 competition and hoped to organise a local cycling competition in the autumn.