Picture Past: February 9, 1968 – drunkenness on the rise
PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 February 2018
An increase in drunkenness and a hospital fish pool made headlines in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald 50 years ago. Here is the news from the February 9 edition in 1968.
• A rise in drunkenness in Weston was reported by concerned justices of the peace.
The Weston justices said 25 residents, and 24 non-residents, had been convicted of drunkenness in the town, including a 16-year-old.
This was an increase of 13 per cent compared to the previous year.
Seven men, compared to four the year before, were convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol.
• Weston St John’s raised £2,500 to pay for a club headquarters in Chaucer Road.
It was planning a big fundraising drive towards a £20,000 sports and recreation centre to serve people on the Bournville, Coronation and Oldmixon estates.
• The question of a fish pool in a Somerset hospital had arisen in a reader’s letter the previous week.
A Mercury reporter was invited to see the hospital, which turned out to be in Axbridge. The fish pool in the reception cost £10-15, not £250 as the reader had suggested.
It was also no longer being used as a fish pool, as it was discovered it was ‘inappropriate’ for fish. It was instead an ‘ornamental plant receptacle’.
• More accommodation was being provided in Weston for convalescent patients from hospital as Eastern House, in Landemann Circus, would provide beds for 68 people.
The house was built in 1880 and was a Red Cross hospital during World War Two.
It was, at one time, occupied by Lewisham School and later was a private girls’ school.
• Work on a £32,000 bridge over the River Axe in Bleadon was nearing completion.
It was expected to be open to traffic in up to six weeks.
• The Mercury’s history column described how it was once hoped the coming of the Victorian railway would lead to Highbridge having a future as a port town.
The paper said: “There were visions of a future of fabulous prosperity in which Highbridge would be the Birkenhead of the west and Burnham its New Brighton.”
It was thought coal and other materials would travel across the Channel from the port of Highbridge.
But people in Highbridge did not bet on the Severn Tunnel or the coming of the car, which put paid to hopes of a port.