Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Jan 30, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, January 29, 2003

A Thropton haulage business has been left on the brink of bankruptcy after a local quarry owner pulled the plug on more than 80 per cent of its work. Eddie Simpson has been forced to lay off two employees in the wake of Tarmac Northern’s decision to give the transportation contract for Harden Quarry to another firm. Tarmac ended Mr Simpson’s eight-year service as the Biddlestone site’s main haulage operator on Friday, January 16, without warning, leaving him feeling he has been ‘stabbed in the back’. The decision to give all work to one company is set to hit the other local firms which work out of Harden. Already a driver and an Alwinton-based office worker among Mr Simpson’s small workforce of five have been laid off and an order for a fourth wagon has been cancelled.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, January 26, 1989

Killer stretches of the notorious A1 trunk road are to come under close scrutiny. Local MP Alan Beith, speaking to the House of Commons early on Tuesday morning, demanded improvements to the infamous road from Roads and Traffic Minister Mr Peter Bottomley. On the Alnwick by-pass section alone, 17 people have been killed in accidents since it was opened in 1970. In reply to the Liberal Democrat’s forthright speech, the Minister commented: “We are keen to look at the A1 in Northumberland. “We have put forward additions to the roads programme and they are likely to come one by one.” In his speech, Mr Beith outlined the problems on Northumberland’s 50-mile stretch of the A1, ‘which stands out for its inadequacy’ and has been left behind in the motorway era.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, January 31, 1964

Because they were considered too dear, eight tenders, ranging from £62,000 to £79,000, submitted by building contractors for houses at James Street, Seahouses, were thrown out by Belford Rural Council when it met on Wednesday night. Instead the members agreed to open negotiations with Gregory Housing Ltd for the construction of the 28 two-bedroom houses, 22 two-bedroom bungalows and 19 garages plus ancillary works. The councillors decided to ask Gregory Housing Ltd. to tender in the first instance, to their basic specification, and to arrange for a representative of the firm to discuss design and specification at a meeting to be arranged after the tender is received. They also accepted an offer from their Newcastle architect, Mr Richard Turley, to withdraw his services.