Weston-super-Mare’s Picture Past: July 14, 1967 – sonic booms echo over town after Ministry of Technology experiments
PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 July 2017
Sonic booms shattered the peace over Weston-super-Mare 50 years ago, and the news was reported in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald. Here are some of the headlines from July 14, 1967.
Sonic booms thundered over Weston as a result of high-flying aircraft which could travel faster than the speed of sound.
The noises resulted in complaints, particularly from the town’s lifeboat crew who had rushed to the station thinking the sounds were warning maroons.
The bangs arose out of experiments conducted by the Ministry of Technology which was trying to gauge public reaction to the sound, ahead of the Concord airliner going into service. The aeroplane over Weston was the RAF Lightning.
◘ Burnham and Highbridge Town Band was worried it would no longer be able to perform in competitions unless it could raise £1,000 for new equipment.
The manufacturers of the high-pitch instruments the band used had stopped operating, and it was proving impossible to find a replacement.
◘ Farming equipment, including electric fences, gates, tarpaulins and batteries, were being stolen from farms all over North Somerset.
◘ A blood donor from Weston, Mr LT Bucknole, was the first person in Somerset to received a gold award for giving 50 pints of blood.
MORE: Picture Past from July 7, 1967.
◘ A footbridge linking Dolphin Square to the seafront was delayed until after the peak holiday season. This was due to waits for Government approval, and costing difficulties.
◘ The Conservative Party took two Weston Borough Council seats from independents after a by-election in Milton and Uphill. It meant the council was made up of 18 Conservatives, seven people from Labour, five from the Ratepayers Association and two independents.
◘ The Mercury’s Looking Back column, similar to Picture Past, reported how in 1942 the Duke of Kent had visited Weston following bomb damage. The visit had been kept a secret, but the news spread overnight and flags and bunting were hung out, many fluttering from the debris of former houses and businesses.
◘ And considerations over animal welfare clearly is not just a modern-day phenomenon as in 1867, a Mercury correspondent wrote how they were concerned about horses which were pulling trains from the junction into Weston. The writer said it was a ‘painful sight’ to see them operating with ‘great difficulty’ in the hot weather.