Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, January 1, 2015)

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

10 YEARS AGO – December 30, 2004

Council workers face a nervous wait as job losses are expected in a bid to make savings of around £10million. Northumberland County Council has warned that it is inevitable that job cuts will be made as it attempts to balance its budget. However, the exact number of compulsory redundancies is not known as council bosses are preparing to seek volunteers first. County council deputy leader Bill Brook told the executive there were likely to be about 150 redundancies, but that the council will be looking at redeploying staff within the authority. “We have shown that we have got a good record in how we handle redundancies,” he said. “We would hope not to make compulsory redundancies and do everything we can so this does not happen.” Coun Peter Hillman said: “It is inevitable when we have to save £10million that there will be job losses.”

25 YEARS AGO – December 28, 1989

Christmas trade in Alnwick was down by up to 20 per cent as shoppers were sucked into the Metrocentre at Gateshead. And this has prompted the town’s Chamber of Trade to press for urgent action in the form of free car parking in the town centre. Chamber Chairman, Ken Kim, said: “I have checked and in general trade seems to be down by between 10 and 20 per cent, allowing for inflation.” He said that people had definitely been drawn away from Alnwick to the Gateshead complex, where they completed the bulk of their Christmas shopping. That was a view echoed by Mrs Eileen Woodward, licensee of the Queen’s Head Hotel. She said people were being lured away from Alnwick by day trips to the Metrocentre run by coaches which only charged £3.50 a head. Mr Kim explained that free parking is the first thing that shoppers want.

50 YEARS AGO – December 31, 1964

Snow over the greater part of Northumberland on Thursday gave the county its first white Christmas for years and motorists their most testing time of the winter. Snow, sleet showers and severe overnight frost turned many roads into veritable skating rinks necessitating the calling-out of county council workmen, who missed their Christmas dinners. Main traffic routes, including the Great North Road, were kept open and only a few minor roads were slightly affected by drifting snow. Happily, apart from some skidding, no road accidents were reported. Tuesday saw an easing of the five-day cold snap and with 1965 waiting in the wings to make its entrance, the weather outlook, according to the met. men at Acklington RAF Station, is rather more hopeful, although there may be wintry showers with night frost and it will stay cold.