Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, December 11, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, December 9, 2004

Plans to build a housing estate in Beadnell have been dramatically scaled down in the face of strong local opposition. Grainger Homes has submitted a planning application to erect 34 properties at Benthall – 102 fewer than originally proposed. But the new application is only for part of the seven-acre site. Campaigner Carole Field said: “I welcome the reduction and, if it was the original site, this would have been a significant victory for consultation with a community. However, the campaign goes on as we look to what might happen on the remainder of the site – lots of questions need to be addressed. Potentially we could end up fighting an application for as many houses as were originally proposed. Residents launched the Save Beadnell Village campaign earlier this year to fight the plans.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, December 7, 1989

Freddie the dolphin found himself the centre of national attention this week after a fishing boat landed an unusual catch. For when the Girl Hayley vessel trapped a 500lb Second World War mine in its nets off Amble Harbour, experts were left with a tricky dilemma – how to blow it up without harming Freddie. The drama began on Sunday morning when horrified skipper Peter Robinson, of Ladbroke Street, Amble, looked back and saw the explosive catch in his vessel’s nets while fishing 20 miles north of Amble Harbour. He radioed the coastguard, who contacted the Royal Navy bomb disposal squad at Rosyth in Scotland. Overnight, Freddie’s plight saw local and national media attention switch to Amble Harbour as experts debated how to safeguard the town’s only bottle-nosed, finned resident.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, December 11, 1964

Better road facilities are in the offing for Alnwick Infirmary. “Work on the widening of the present carriageway should be finished early in the new year,” the Northumberland Gazette was told this week. When completed, the drive improvements scheme will have the effect of providing a modern roadway to the hospital in place of the years-old lane-like type of road, the bane of motorists because of its narrowness. It will also benefit the proposed central surgery to be built by the town’s doctors. It is hoped the surgery will occupy about half-an-acre of land between the infirmary and the Great North Road. It will comprise a number of consulting rooms and a committee room. Provision will be made for dealing with minor accidents by way of surgery and parking facilities will be provided for up to 20 cars.