Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Dec 24, 2013)

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

10 YEARS AGO - December 25, 2003

A term-long project by pupils at Rock Hall School, near Alnwick, has culminated in a stunning figure of an angel. The project, with artist Tony Murray and teacher Claire Ford-Hutchinson, has created The Rock Angel. Pictures of the Angel of the North formed the starting point of the project and the aim was to produce the Angel of the North North, which would represent and incorporate all the best things about the children’s rural environment. The pupils collected natural objects from around the school and these provided the inspiration for the angel figure, which is also constructed from plaster casts of the children’s own bodies. Both pupils and staff produced some wonderful pieces of writing – both stories and writing – inspired by the angel. The results were so impressive that plans are under way to invite another artist into school next year. Headmistress Lalage Bosanquet said: “In educational jargon, this would be called the enriched curriculum, but the project has gone way beyond anything you could call curriculum.”

25 YEARS AGO - December 22, 1988

Staying sober could cost you plenty this Christmas. A survey conducted among local pubs and hotels has revealed that, measure for measure, it could cost you less to drink alcohol than the ‘booze-free’ beers and lagers. The district’s hostelries are charging virtually the same for the low-alcohol tipples as they do for the usual bottled beers. The catch is the low-alcohol drinks are not subject to the usual Government taxes and duties. The local landlords are not accepting responsibility. They blame greedy breweries. Berwick MP Alan Beith (himself a strict teetotaller) ‘joined the wagon’ last week when the county council’s Stay Low roadshow stopped off in Alnwick’s Market Place. Launching an attack on the high prices charged in some hostelries, he said: “Some soft-drink prices are so high that you would almost think that you were paying duty on them.” He hoped public pressure would end up forcing down prices.

This point was echoed by county road safety officer Val Laidler.

50 YEARS AGO - Friday, December 27, 1963

Fire...and if it should happen in Bilton after 10.30pm, the unfortunate householder would have to run nearly a mile to Hipsburn roundabout to phone for the fire brigade. Bearing this in mind, Lesbury parish councillors decided at their meeting on Tuesday to continue to press the GPO to have a public telephone kiosk installed in the village. “There is a phone at Alnmouth Station, but it is not available all the time,” said Coun ECH Mansfield. “The station is closed every night and on Sunday mornings.” One request for a telephone kiosk at Bilton has already been turned down. Coun H Hunter drew attention to a nuisance caused by people riding horses on the pavement at Lesbury and said that one one occasion, a woman with a child in a pram had to get off the pavement to let the horse past. “If the horse had kicked out at the pram, there would have been a nasty accident,” he said. Coun Mansfield said that unfortunately there was no law against horses being ridden on the pavement. A new by-law would have to be instituted.