Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Feb 6, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, February 5, 2004

A controversial £340million rethink of the school system in Northumberland could spell the end for middle schools. Northumberland County Council has announced a multimillion-pound package of proposals which would replace the tradtional three-tier system with two tiers of primary and secondary schools. At present, a number of options are being considered for all schools – first, middle and high – in each of the school partnership areas covering north Northumberland - Alnwick, Berwick, Coquet (Amble) and Morpeth (including Rothbury). Each option includes scrapping middle schools altogether and reorganising the system so children aged four to 11 go to primary school and 11-19 go to high school. Under some of the options, high-school provision could be arranged into junior (11-14) and senior high (14-19).

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, February 2, 1989

Swarland villagers have had enough. After years of waiting, they are now insisting a new sewage-treatment works is built to clear gardens and streams of invading filth. Even the promise of more than £40,000-worth of repairs to the sewage system is not enough. Many villagers feel this will not stop the problems created by a wholly-inadequate system. However, the Northumbrian Water Authority is blaming residents for illegally tapping into what is fast becoming a crumbling sewage system and aggravating the situation. The final straw in the long-running saga came for one smallholder last week, when rains brought a new torrent of effluent into the burn which runs inside his land. A dead rabbit, human excrement, toilet paper and other waste matter were clearly visible the following morning.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, February 7, 1964

Alnwick Urban Council is to take a tougher line with its persistent rent offenders. They will be told: “Pay up or take the consequences.” And the consequences could well be - eviction. “We’ve barked long enough. Now we intend to bite,” warned Coun J Young (housing committee chairman), at Tuesday night’s council meeting. He added: “In one street alone, there are six tenants owing £50 between them. In another, five tenants owe £40. In the past when we have issued notices of eviction, they have been withdrawn when tenants have paid up. This time, it is going to be different. Eviction proceedings will be taken in some cases even when the arrears have been cleared off.” He said that notices to quit were also to be served in a number of cases and certain tenants would be asked to appear before the housing sub-committee.