Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, January 8, 2015)

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

10 YEARS AGO – January 6, 2005

A Wooler man on a three-month trip to Thailand left the area now devastated by the tsunami two days before the waves struck. James Jeffery and his girlfriend Emma Powell were staying in a beach hut at Phuket until Christmas Eve when they moved to Ko Sumai to spend time in a hotel. Before that, the couple had visited Ko Phi Phi and other places now flattened by Boxing Day’s disaster. James’ mother Thelma said: “When they went away, we gave them some money and said treat yourself at Christmas and stay in a nice hotel – if they had stayed in Phuket later, it would have been a very different story.” Thelma’s sister Susan rang to tell her and husband Sandy about the earthquake at 8am on Boxing Day. However, it was not until noon when they got word from Emma’s mother to say the couple were all right.

25 YEARS AGO – January 5, 1990

Businesses in the Alnwick district face an average increase of 8.09 per cent on their rateable values. The news comes with the release of the new valuation list this week and businesses will now be able to assess what their rates are likely to be in April. It has been calculated that, on average, the rateable values of shops have increased by 9.87 per cent and those of factories by 4.12 per cent. As it is, the larger shops with a new rateable value in excess of £10,000 will not face a rise from their current rate bill of more than 29.12 per cent and the smaller shops in the district, with a new rateable value of less than £10,000, will not see an increase in excess of 23.74 per cent. However, the new rates will not be less than 96.3 per cent of the existing bill paid by larger firms and 90.92 per cent for smaller concerns.

50 YEARS AGO – January 8, 1965

A thaw before the new year enabled the Percy Foxhounds to hold their traditional meet on New Year’s Day at the White Swan Hotel, Alnwick. The meet was favoured with a mild, sunny morning and hundreds of people gathered in the town centre to watch horses and hounds. Traffic on the Great North Road through Alnwick was diverted for an hour or so while the hunt assembled. For huntsman Fred Kinch, the meet was a bitter-sweet event as he is retiring at the end of this season and this was his last official appearance at the traditional gathering. He has been huntsman with the Percy for the past 32 years. The master, the Duke of Northumberland, and the Duchess, who were accompanied by Sir Malcolm Sargeant, were present. Nearly 70 riders followed hounds as they moved off up Clayport to Alnwick Moor.

If you have a tale to tell about any of the featured stories or pictures from 25 years ago, contact us on 01665 602234 or email ben.oconnell@jpress.co.uk.

To order copies of any of the old photographs featured, click on the Buy A Photo link at the top of the page underneath the Gazette masthead. Or call 01665 517171.