Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, May 22, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, May 20, 2004

A battle has begun between two historic market towns over the right to the title County Town of Northumberland. The town councils of Alnwick and Morpeth each believe they are entitled to county-town status. Back in January, Alnwick Town Council threw down the gauntlet to Morpeth by voting unanimously in favour of having new signs made proclaiming Alnwick County Town of Northumberland. They subsequently wrote to Morpeth Town Council informing them of the decision and of their intention to challenge Morpeth’s right to the title. But at the May meeting of Alnwick Town Council, the clerk read out a letter from Morpeth Town Council clerk, Mrs Chris Beattie, who stated: “Both towns are very special in their own right, but the criteria for which County Town Status should be granted favours Morpeth.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, May 19, 1989

What runs just outside Alnwick and was designed by psychopaths? The A1, according to one town councillor. Ex-Mayor Philip Deakin gave his forthright view about the notorious road at last Thursday’s Alnwick Town Council meeting, which discussed the dualling programme currently being undertaken just south of the town. He told councillors: “The road must have been designed by psychopaths – they must be either utterly incompetent or mad.” He was speaking about a one-and-three-quarter-mile programme to make the single-lane road into a dual carriageway, stopping at Smiths the antique dealers. Coun Ray Farnsworth said: “It would be very hard indeed to find a worse place to go back from a dual carriageway to a single carriageway – it is virtually on the brow of a hill.”

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, May 22, 1964

A violent thunderstorm broke just before the Whit Monday Carnival procession was due to start at Rothbury. At the scheduled time of its departure from the station yard, everyone was under cover while torrential rain drenched the newly-decorated floats and streamed along the gutters. Meanwhile, traffic from the surrounding countryside converged on Rothbury, building up to an extent which was described by the police as ‘fantastic’. When the storm tempered to a fine drizzle, a number of hurried mopping-up operations began on some of the floats in an attempt to ‘restore them to their former glory’ as Frank Starling remarked. He and Allen Proudlock had decked out the Leek Club’s wagon, demonstrating various forms of leakage.