NOSTALGIA: Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Thursday, February 25)

Delving into the Gazette archives
Delving into the Gazette archives

Take a look at some stories of yesteryear from the Gazette archives. We reported on a river of fire sweeping through the village of Branton; the demise of the company that ran Alnwick’s cinema; and the end of passenger train services between Alnmouth and Alnwick, and from Pegswood, Widdrington, Alnwick, Belford and Beal stations.

10 YEARS AGO: Thursday, March 2, 2006

Residents in Branton watched in horror as a river of fire swept through their village. Villagers were woken by the blaze just before 6am on Monday and emerged from their homes to find thick, black smoke and flames speeding 100m along the road. Witnesses described the scene as like something out of a disaster movie and “war zone”. The fire began in commercial wheelie bins at Old Barns and the heat melted adjacent tanks containing 1,800 litres of diesel oil. The fuel caught fire as it gushed from the tank, burning the gable end of a nearby cottage, and poured past homes. On the way, it destroyed two parked cars and scorched another. Wooler firefighter Ian Newton said: “It was like being in a Hollywood film as there was lots and lots of smoke.”

25 YEARS AGO: Friday, March 1, 1991

The company that has run Alnwick cinema since its comeback in 1987 has gone out of business, but despite the collapse, it is hoped to continue big screen entertainment in the town. EH Poole and Sons, which also operated five cinemas in Scotland, recently signed a trust deed, handing over control of its affairs after a disastrous last six months of 1990 when a combination of the World Cup, good weather and poor films led to a slump in viewer figures. Compounded by the closure of its Dundee cinema, which was condemned by the local authority and closed down to make way for a new road, the firm found itself in financial trouble. Partner Mr Eddie Poole said that after assessing the company’s cash flow, and on the advice, trustees were voluntarily appointed.

50 YEARS AGO: Friday, February 25, 1966

The veil has finally been lifted as to the future of passenger train services on Britain’s East Coast line between Newcastle and Berwick. Yesterday, British Rail served notice of its intention to modify passenger train services between Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnwick and Berwick, and to withdraw others. Passenger train services between Alnmouth and Alnwick, and from Pegswood, Widdrington, Alnwick, Belford and Beal stations will cease to run. If no objections are lodged the proposals will take effect from Monday, June 6. In the event of no objections being lodged, it seems likely that at least two local authorities will protest. These will be considered by the Transport Users’ Consultative Committee, which will report on the hardship, if any, which they consider would be caused.