Picture Past: December 22, 1967 – gas explosion with tragic results

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 December 2017

The scene in Congresbury, where a woman died after an explosion.

The scene in Congresbury, where a woman died after an explosion.

Archant

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.

A busy Baker Street.A busy Baker Street.

• 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.

The Blagdon Dickensian Carol Party at the New Inn, Blagdon.The Blagdon Dickensian Carol Party at the New Inn, Blagdon.

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.

Cllr ED Nicholls with handkerchief girls Nicola Rides and Anne Cruse, at a fair organised by the women's section of Weston Labour Party.Cllr ED Nicholls with handkerchief girls Nicola Rides and Anne Cruse, at a fair organised by the women's section of Weston Labour Party.

• 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.”

A Christmas advert.A Christmas advert.

• 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.

Twins David and Tony Webb (the Captain and the mate) with a nautical chorus in a scene from the Knightstone pantomime, Twins David and Tony Webb (the Captain and the mate) with a nautical chorus in a scene from the Knightstone pantomime, "Dick Whittington."

Anthony and Philip Blizzard (stallholders) with Sue Diamond and Julie Tinkling at the candle stall, at a Fayre organised by the women's section of Weston-super-Mare Labour Party.Anthony and Philip Blizzard (stallholders) with Sue Diamond and Julie Tinkling at the candle stall, at a Fayre organised by the women's section of Weston-super-Mare Labour Party.

There have been calls for a full inquiry into Sunday's tragic gas explosion at Congresbury which demolished the Central Stores in Station Road, killing Mrs. Georgette Esperance Wareing, wife of the propieter, and seriously injuring a man about to enter the shop.There have been calls for a full inquiry into Sunday's tragic gas explosion at Congresbury which demolished the Central Stores in Station Road, killing Mrs. Georgette Esperance Wareing, wife of the propieter, and seriously injuring a man about to enter the shop.

Father Christmas called at Rhodyate Service Station to distribute sweets, fruit, and balloons to the children and took a seat on this 1926 Dennis fire engine owned by Mr. G. Holder, of Congresbury.Father Christmas called at Rhodyate Service Station to distribute sweets, fruit, and balloons to the children and took a seat on this 1926 Dennis fire engine owned by Mr. G. Holder, of Congresbury.

Pupils of Christ Church School in their Nativity play.Pupils of Christ Church School in their Nativity play.

Front Page 22nd December 1967 Edition.Front Page 22nd December 1967 Edition.

Ads 22nd December 1967 Edition.Ads 22nd December 1967 Edition.

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