Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, March 13, 2014)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 11, 2004

Councils fighting for the future of RAF Boulmer have made a final plea at the heart of the Government to save the threatened base. Leaders of Northumberland County Council and Alnwick District Council have written to Defence Minister Adam Ingram, spelling out the catastrophic effects of shutting the base. The RAF has signalled that Boulmer is one of the four bases nationwide looked at in a review of combat support units. The recommendations are due to go before Mr Ingram within the next week before a provisional decision which will be subject to a 30-day trade union consultation. Coun Michael Davey, leader of the county council, said: “This is obviously a critical time for the hundreds of people who live on and work at the base, as well as the many more who depned upon it indirectly for their livelihoods.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, March 9, 1989

A technology exhibition at the house that sparked a scientific revolution has been given a sponsorship boost. English Estates is giving £15,000 towards the National Trust’s new exhibition about science and technology at Cragside, the first house to be lit by electricity and one of Northumberland’s most popular tourist attractions. The money will eventually be used to restore all Lord Armstrong’s water-powered installations, to create the Armstrong Energy Centre and provide a capital sum for its future. Around 40 guests gathered on Monday for the launch, with members of the National Trust Committee, the Rural Development Commission, English Estates and the Cragside Appeal among those present. Chairman of English Estates, Sir Christopher Wates, said they were delighted to support it.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, March 13, 1964

Worried at Northumberland’s rising rates, Alnwick Rural Council, in conjunction with the Rural District Councils’ Association, is to send a strongly-worded protest to the county council asking for a brake to be put on future spending. This was decided at Monday night’s meeting after the council had agreed to levy a local rate of 23 3d in the £ – a rise of 4d on last year’s figure. With the cou nty rate up 1s to 8s 6d, this brings the total rate to 10 s 9d, a rise of 1s 4d. Speaking in the discussion which followed, Capt FNH Widdrington (Newton-on-the-Moor) warned that unless the county council curbed its ever-increasing expenditure, the rate would return to 20s in the £ within a few years. He added: “There are a lot of people living on fixed incomes who will be particularly hard-hit by this latest rates increase.”