Picture Past: January 5, 1968 – Thief tries to hide jewellery by buying it near the golf course
PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 January 2018
Record-breaking Christmas trade, a public sector ‘financial crisis’ and the ‘appalling’ state of Weston Museum were all making headlines in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald edition of January 5, 1968.
• A long, drawn-out battle over the ‘over-commercialisation’ of Cheddar Gorge came to a head 50 years ago this week, when a land-owner won Government permission for new development.
Viscount Weymouth had been refused permission by Somerset County Council to extend the Caveman restaurant and build a new museum, but took his case to appeal.
And Government inspectors looked more sympathetically on his ambitions, despite arguments from locals who said the project would amount to over-commercialisation of ‘a landscape of great value’.
The inspectors ruled in Viscount Weymouth’s favour, saying his plans would result in buildings which were ‘more acceptable in this special environment’.
• A rates increase was on the cards, despite a number of projects around the district already having been scaled back to save cash.
Councillors were told all spending programmes should be deferred ‘except housing and schools’ because of what was described as ‘the current financial crisis’.
• Weston Museum was branded ‘tatty and dirty’ by members of a council committee discussing potential renovation plans for the Burlington Street building.
The group was told the ‘shabby’ building was ‘appalling, with paint peeling from stairs and walls’ as a result of not having been painted in some 15 years.
• Somerset County Council was urged to ‘invest in tourism’ in light of declining visitor numbers and income.
The authority was told it ‘should do everything to encourage more visitors, both from this country and abroad’.
• Boys playing on Weston beach dug up what they initially thought were tin cans found buried in sand near Birnbeck Pier.
“We decided they were bombs, and got on our bikes and went straight to the police station,” they said.
Bomb disposal teams from the Royal Navy agreed, and later excavated 40 more mortar bombs, which were detonated onsite.
• An unemployed man was jailed after carrying out a high-value jewellery raid.
The man stole items worth £3,495 from a Weston home, before hiding his loot by burying it near Weston Golf Course.