Picture Past: February 23, 1968 – Voluntary fire service forced to stop training
PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 February 2018
The winding down of a Weston-super-Mare fire service and a campaign to save a paddle steamer made headlines 50 years ago. Here is the news from the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald in February 1968.
• On the last day of March, Weston’s Auxiliary Fire Service would have to stop training following an order from the Government’s Home Office.
The winding down of the service was due to cuts in Government expenditure.
But the 17 members from Weston and nine from Banwell were determined to carry on if possible.
The Mercury said the Auxiliary service had a distinguished history in Weston, having started just before World War Two broke out. It accumulated a large membership and installed pumps around the town.
It meant the organisation was well-prepared for wartime, with many of its personnel becoming members of the national fire service.
• A campaign had started to save the Bristol Queen. It was the last paddle steamer to operate on the Bristol Channel, but the Bristol Cultural Committee said it did not have enough money to maintain it without outside help.
The boat had been withdrawn from service and it being turned into a maritime museum was being considered.
• Weston Borough Council was investigating its entertainment industry, as a number of its theatres had made a loss.
The Knightstone Theatre came in £3,400 below estimates and the Rozel was £1,000 down.
The council had backtracked on plans to change the Rozel to focus on mechanical entertainment to appeal to younger people.
• ‘Come to Burnham, the bingo town’ was suggested as a new tourism slogan.
The publicity officer for the town said: “Unfortunately it seems these days this is something everyone wants. People have gambling fever.”
• Worle had about a quarter of the number of parking spaces it required. Weston Borough Council was considering bidding for church land in an auction. It was estimated 86 spaces were needed for High Street.
• A new factory opened on the Oldmixon estate. It had been bought by the Isopad Ltd to make small electrical heaters.
• There were concerns Shipham would be used by lorries to carry stone for the M5.
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