Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, June 12, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, June 10, 2004

The future of Northumberland’s middle schools looked bleak today after councillors met yesterday to debate a switch to two-tier education. Once again they were greeted by strong protests at County Hall, Morpeth, as they considered approving in principle a move to a primary and secondary structure. The move would allow education bosses to tap into the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, worth around £270million to Northumberland’s education budget. Campaigners, who have fought hard to save the three-tier system, displayed banners before the meeting of the authority’s full council in a final bid to influence members. And inside the packed chamber, they had a chance to lobby councillors before the controversial issue was put to a vote.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, June 8, 1989

A Rothbury student took shelter in the British Embassy at Peking after being trapped on the university campus there when violence exploded in the city over the weekend. Twenty-one-year-old Selma Piper, of Hillside Road, was nearing the end of a year’s stay in China as part of her degree course at Durham University. Along with 13 of her colleagues from Durham, she had been confined to the campus since the early days of the Chinese students’ protest in Peking’s Tiananmen Square.Her worried parents, Harry and Sheila Piper have spoken to her by telephone two or three times since the start of the unrest. But their anxiety increased as violence erupted in the city and news reports indicated that the military were expected to move on the university itself in search of student activists.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, June 12, 1964

Seventy customers have threatened to boycott their village local unless they received a promise that improvements will be carried out. The threat has been made by the regulars at the Farriers’ Arms at Shilbottle – a Newcastle Breweries’ house believed to be more than 200 years old. They complain that the seating and toilet accommodation at the pub is bad and that the building is antiquated. They say they have put up with things as they are for long enough. “The seats are hard with little pads on them and the toilet situation is atrocious,” said Mr Bob Mather, the spokesman for the customers. He told the Northumberland Gazette: “We are fighting for better conditions. The company has promised to redecorate the place but say it is not on the list of houses to be improved.”