Picture Past: June 7, 1968 – Regent Street to become ‘tough’ area because of amusement arcades
PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 June 2018
The rise in amusement arcades in Weston-super-Mare would lead to more violence, it was said 50 years ago. Here is the news from the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald in its June 7 edition in 1968.
• Weston’s Regent Street was expected to become a ‘tough’ area because of the number of amusement arcades.
Weston Borough Council was discussing the issue as a planning application for the seventh arcade in a 50-yard stretch was put forward.
Councillor Prosser said the big spenders were swapping from gambling to the slot machine amusement arcades, and said it would become a ‘tough’ road.
He said: “It is the only street where I have seen a police baton charge and in past years there has been one stabbing and one shooting there.”
Councillors voted in favour of the application.
• A cable beacon which had been a familiar landmark in Weston Bay was blown up.
The 30ft steel beacon, which stood out about a mile away from the seafront, was once a navigational aid to cable-repair ships which needed to locate the transatlantic cable link.
The first cable was installed in 1885, with later ones added in 1901, 1910 and 1926. During World War Two, when secret Government messages went through the cables, the Commercial Cable Company’s office in Regent Street was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by troops. Access to Regent Street was barred expect to those with passes.
A cage on top of the beacon had been lost in storms, and the cable company, based in New York, chose to demolish it.
• Children wanting donkey rides were being charged a shilling rather than the ninepence set by the council in Burnham, it was alleged.
• Assurances were given by the South Western Gas Board it was taking positive actions to ensure there would be no repeat of gas leaks in Congresbury.
• The Bristol and West Building Society completed its new office building at the corner of Meadow Street and Alexandra Parade, now known as Big Lamp Corner.
A clock was incorporated in the facade, and the Mercury described it was an ‘imposing premises’. The semi-circular front was designed to fit with a new road layout.
• More than 185,000 people flocked to Weston during the Whitsun bank holiday weekend.
• The tipping of rubbish into rhynes in residential areas was causing concern to the West Mendip Drainage Board.