Picture Past: December 22, 1967 – gas explosion with tragic results
PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 December 2017
An explosion had tragic consequences 50 years ago, shocking villagers. Here is the news from the December 22, 1967, edition of the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald.
• An enquiry would be held into a gas explosion in Congresbury, which killed a mother of three.
Many people were evacuated from their homes because of the danger of further explosions.
• Restrictions on how drivers could use Weston’s central car park were being considered to encourage commuters to use a new car park in Locking Road.
Weston Borough Council had spent £40,000 building the car park on the former railway land, and there would be financial repercussions if it was not used.
Increasing car parking charges were also being considered, but nothing would be decided until April, after the town’s parking problems had been researched.
• Post increased by 10 per cent on the previous December. On December 18 and 19, 230,000 letters and cards were sent each day.
• There were ‘serious concerns’ over the number of part-time teachers in Weston’s schools.
The chairman of the Weston Divisional Executive for schools said: “We realise half a loaf is better than no bread at all.” But she said schoolchildren’s sense of security was being undermined as they did not have a consistent teacher.
• Licensed public houses could open for two hours on Christmas morning, and no drinking-up time was allowed.
• No-one was able to check Weston’s temperature on December 17 as the thermometers had been stolen.
Weston’s publicity officer, Edward Turner, said: “I suspect sabotage of the first degree.
“Now we shall never know if on that December day, we recorded the highest ever temperature for the month.”
• Apprentices at the 205th Craft Entry at Locking RAF Radio School were told by General Sir Ian Richens he would give short odds one of them would land on the moon in the future.
The first moon landing was not until 1969, though would not involve any Locking recruits.
• Letters were being removed from the names on the war memorial in Shipham.
• Weston Borough Council was criticised for not dealing with the snow quickly enough. One person said action was not taken until there had been 24 hours of snowfall.