Picture Past: August 23, 1968 – Playhouse theatre being rebuilt
PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 August 2018
Progress on the Playhouse theatre and an explosion at a bar made headlines in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald 50 years ago. Here is the news from August 1968.
• The walls of new the Playhouse theatre had gone up, four years after it was destroyed in a fire.
The auditorium had started to take shape, and about two-thirds of the exterior was complete.
It was expected the roof would be on by the beginning of October so the electrics could be installed without being hindered by bad weather.
• A siren which was used in Weston to call part-time firefighters to the station was likely to be abolished.
It would be replaced by bleepers, which could be kept in the firefighters’ pockets.
The issue had arisen as people were awoke by the siren at around 6.30am on Sunday morning.
Firefighters were called to the Princess Alexandra Hotel, in Meadow Street, where there had been an explosion under the bar.
The bar was wrecked in the blast, the windows were blown out and glasses and bottles of beers were smashed.
However, it was largely business as usual elsewhere in the hotel, as staff hastily cleared up the mess. The cause of the explosion was unknown.
MORE: Last week’s Picture Past.
• A defence unit was going to be formed in Congresbury to deal with any emergencies.
The unit was to be formed in response to a gas explosion in the village, in which a woman died.
It was thought the people in the unit could provide immediate aid when needed.
• The Christmas lights which had been a fixture in Weston High Street for a number of years were going to be discontinued indefinitely.
The High Street Traders Christmas Lighting Association had organised the illuminations since 1961 but rising costs meant the committee was going to disband. It was thought the situation would not be reviewed again until at least 1970.
• Rail fare increases would come into effect in September, it was announced by the British Railway Board.
The price of a second class ticket from Weston to Bristol would increase by a sixpence to six shillings.
The cost of a second class single ticket from Weston to London would rise from 37s 3d to 40s.
• People affected by Somerset’s devastating floods were asking for £600,000 in damages claims.
The claims showed how the Government’s financial offer of £175,000 would not go far enough to meet the need.