Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, December 4, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, December 2, 2004

The upgrading of major sections of the A1 in north Northumberland to dual carriageway moved a step closer this week. The dualling of the sections between Morpeth and Felton and Adderstone and Belford has been earmarked by the Government for ‘progress’. The Morpeth to Felton plans are currently open to public consultation with the closing date for responses being December 10. Plans to dual the stretch between Adderstone and Belford go on display between December 9 and 12 at Belford’s Erskine Church Hall, Nursery Street. There have been 43 accidents in the past eight years on the three-and-a-half-mile route. Alex Bywaters, project sponsor for the Highways Agency, said: “This section of the A1 has an accident record one-and-a-half-times worse than the national average for this type of road.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 30, 1989

The bitter ambulance dispute has started to bite in the region, although emergency calls are being answered. Hopes of a return to full 999 cover were dashed on Monday when a mass meeting of Northumbria ambulance staff rejected a peace plan. And on Tuesday, management dismissed an offer by crews to supply an ambulance for each police station in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, including Alnwick. Now Alnwick’s 14 full-time accident and emergency staff are set to maintain their vigil outside the South Road station, claiming an order by Northumbria Ambulance chief, Mr Laurie Caple, for staff to stay away unless they were prepared to work normally amounts to a lock-out. The Alnwick men now operate their eight-hour shifts from a tent erected in front of the station last Friday.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, December 4, 1964

On the eve of the second seal cull on the lonely Farne Islands, two Yorkshire zoo officials made a last-minute bid at Seahouses on Wednesday to save 360 seal pups from being wiped out in a three-day mass kill planned to start yesterday. As fishermen busied themselves with their catches, Mr Reg Bloom, curator of the Flamingo Park Zoo, near Pickering, told dozens of villagers, television and newspaper reporters gathered on a piece of private ground overlooking the windswept harbour that if public attention was not focused on seal culls, they would probably go on forever. “There is always a danger that when you interfere with nature, you never know what will happen,” he said. Amid interruptions, he argued that seals might help fishermen by feeding on non-edible fish which in turn fed on edible fish.