Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, April 16, 2015)

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

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The probe into the cause of a serious gas explosion in Shilbottle could take months, experts have warned. The blast at Farriers Rise on Sunday morning demolished one house, injuring its occupants, and seriously damaging two others. Rescuers said that it was a miracle nobody was killed. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said on Tuesday that it had begun clearing the site in preparation for further investigations. “These are expected to last months rather than weeks,” said a statement. The HSE also moved to refute suggestions that the explosion was linked to reports of a gas leak the night previously, when Transco engineers visited the site. The statement said: “Contrary to information given earlier by the HSE, we can confirm that while a fracture in the gas main has been discovered, we are not making any connection.”

Friday, April 13, 1990

The Alnwick Duke’s School rooks have finally lost their battle against Northumberland County Council, much to the disgust of a leading Northumberland ornithologist. However, residents living in the direct vicinity of the rooks have leapt to the defence of the council and praised their actions. Last year, following complaints from nearby residents about the noise and mess made by the birds, the county council employed a local rifle club to try to scare the birds from their nests at the Alnwick school. That ploy failed and the birds looked to have staved off the threat. The rooks even received the support of the children at the school who staged a play and made posters all about the rooks at that time. However, the county council recently employed a firm of tree surgeons who have in the last fortnight removed all 33 nests.

Friday, April 16, 1965

Opening the new ultra-modern £100,000 premises of Hardy Bros Ltd on Alnwick’s Willow Burn Trading Estate on Friday, the Duke of Northumberland said they made a notable contribution to the prosperity of a completely small town in a country district. The opening ceremony was held in a large, specially decorated marquee in the forecourt. Some 150 guests and many of the firm’s workers heard the Duke say it was indeed a very happy and important occasion not only for the House of Hardy, but also for the town of Alnwick. Then, in a humourous vein, the Duke said: “Having enjoyed some of the happiest hours of my life on various rivers equipped with the best of tackle from Hardy Bros, I rose readily to the fly which they dropped with Hardy precision in inviting me to perform this ceremony.”