Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Nov 28, 2013)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 27, 2003

Blackadder’s filthy little chum Baldrick came to Alnwick yesterday to clean up his act by being ducked in the river. Comedy actor and television presenter Tony Robinson was in town on Wednesday filming for a new series for Channel Four called The Worst Jobs in History. Dressed up as a fish wife, he sampled first-hand what it would have been like to be an unruly woman in Tudor England, when women were regularly ducked in the local river as a form of punishment. The team enlisted the help of the Alnwick Fair Militia men and their ducking stool to perform the ducking on the banks of the Aln in Alnwick Pastures opposite the Castle. Tony said: “This is the first time I have been in this field since we shot the opening scenes in Blackadder in 1983.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 24, 1988

People from all sections of the community gathered at St Michael’s Parish Church, Alnwick, on Tuesday morning to pay tribute to ‘Our Duke’. That is how Alnwick Castle estates manager, Mr Bill Hugonin, described the late Lord Hugh Algernon Percy in a crisp and poignant address to the packed church. The Memorial Service in the presence of Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland, was taken by the Rev Christopher Andrews, with Canon Bill Hinkley assisting in the prayers. In his address, Mr Hugonin said the late Duke may have been a nobleman, but he had never ‘lost the common touch’ and was ‘Our Duke’. Mr Hugonin said the Duke had been a fine man, one who wanted to break down the barriers yet never allowed himself or others to take things too seriously.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, November 29, 1963

More than 69 per cent of Northumberland’s male population are married and 26 per cent remain bachelors, according to the national census taken in 1961. Among men aged 15 and over, four per cent are widowed and one per cent divorced. The report says that the distribution of Northumberland differs from that of England and Wales as a whole, in having proportionately more persons in the under 15 age group and fewer in the 65 and over age group. Among the population in the country, 98 per cent were born in England, Wales or Scotland, one per cent in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic and one per cent outside the British Isles. In Northumberland, 799,813 people were listed in 263,744 private households, occupying 1,078,213 rooms.