Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Dec 19, 2013)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, December 18, 2003

More than one million people visited Alnwick district this tourism season, pumping £45.5million into the local economy, a study has found. Furthermore, the Alnwick Garden has attracted more than half-a-million visitors since April 1 and an estimated 370,000 have visited the town during the 2003 season. The scale of the tourism boom was revealed at a full meeting of Alnwick District Council on Tuesday night, at which members received a report from their operations, scrutiny and oversight committee into the attraction’s impact. The report, compiled using data from Northumbria Tourist Board’s 2003 survey, further shows that 88 per cent of district businesses have experienced an increase in takings over the summer, with the average business turnover 30 per cent higher than the same time last year.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, December 15, 1988

Local firemen are on red alert to help victims of the Armenian earthquake disaster. Five firemen from the area are among those from the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service on stand-by to fly out to Russia. If the Northumberland contingent does fly out to the USSR, they will be led by Alan Davieson, divisional fire commander, from Amble, who is an ex-miner. And Amble will have another link with the potential rescuers, because Phoenix Mountaineering have offered to supply the firemen with specialist clothing, free of charge. Since the earthquake struck last week, killing an estimated 50,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, offers of help have been pouring in from all over the world.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, December 20, 1963

The big pre-Christmas spending spree is in full swing in northern towns and villages and busy shops in Alnwick, Morpeth, Amble, Rothbury and Berwick testify to the rush of trade. The festive season is also bringing what looks like being a bumper sale in wines and spirits with rather more emphasis on wine buying. “Our sales have shown a marked increase over last year,” two Alnwick wine and spirit merchants told the Northumberland Gazette. The reasons for the popularity in wine drinking can maybe be attributed to an increasing appreciation of good wines in general and to a habit acquired from Continental holidays. The food line is offering more variety and this year the housewife will find the Christmas dinner bird slightly cheaper.