Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, May 29, 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 27, 2004

Dual unitary authorities in Northumberland would ensure the region’s urban and rural needs were best served after a council shake-up. That’s the view of Alnwick District Council, which is backing an option for two authorities to serve the county, should this autumn’s referendum go in favour of a regional assembly. The district council believes that one large council, the other option, would be remote from those areas not directly around its headquarters. The two options were announced this week after a nine-week public consultation process by the Boundary Committee. Coun John Taylor, district leader, said: “Having two unitary councils will recognise the diversity of rural and urban areas. It will make it more accessible to more people. It will enhance and keep democracy and allow people to get their views heard.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, May 26, 1989

An adventurous Craster canoeist is already planning his next feat of endurance after a successful record-breaking North Sea crossing. Kevin Danforth, 35, of South Farm, Craster, joined fellow canoe enthusiast Franco Ferrero in a race against time from Felixstowe to Zeebrugge last week – and completed the journey with time to spare. Not only was their time of 27 hours 10 minutes a record for a double-kayak crossing, it also beat the previous best for a single kayak by some one hour 44 minutes. Yet as Kevin said, it could have been even better. “In some ways, we were a little bit disappointed with the time, because we were confident beforehand of going faster than we managed.” Sadly, poor visibility, punishing off-shore breezes and erratic tide times combined to make it harder than expected.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, May 29, 1964

The Ministry of Agriculture staff at Alnwick hope to be flitting soon from the old wartime hutments which they have occupied in Northumberland Street since 1943, but they will not be going far. They expect to occupy new quarters on the Alnwick Industrial Estate some time in 1966. A Ministry of Works spokesman in London confirmed this week that negotiations for the site are going on and said it is hoped to start work early next year. Alnwick is said to be the only Divisional Office of the Ministry still to be housed in hutments, and the site under negotiation is understood to be one previously allotted to the CWS for a new creamer, which the society no longer requires. The new building will accommodate a staff of up to 150, much the same number as at present employed at Northumberland Street.